The Argentine Air Force is uniquely committed to plan and execute combined air operations to help mitigate the effects of natural disasters. With such statement, Argentine Air Force Lieutenant General Oscar Charadía, commander of Enlistment and Training, opened his presentation at the South American Air Chiefs Conference, held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, October 31st –November 3rd, 2017.
“Natural disasters have become a new threat to the region,” General Javier Ramírez Guillén, commander of the Peruvian Air Force (FAP, per its Spanish acronym), said during his presentation at the South American Air Chiefs Conference. “We must unite to be ready to face natural disasters effectively,” he added. The conference was held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Tucson, Arizona, October 31st –November 3rd, 2017, to analyze the role of regional air forces in response to natural disasters.
Defending the skies above Ecuador is not the Air Force’s only role. For Brigadier General Patricio Mora Escobar, commander of the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE, per its Spanish acronym), maintaining domain over the nation’s airspace and conducting air operations to defend national sovereignty are essential duties. Yet the Ecuadorian Air Force is also well known for the humanitarian aid and support it provides in natural disasters—such as the earthquake that struck April 16th, 2016.
Brigadier General Hugo Marenco, commander of Air Operations Command of the Uruguayan Air Force (FAU, per its Spanish acronym), has one specific mission: plan and conduct his institution’s air operations. In this task, Brig. Gen. Marenco seeks to establish his country’s air force as an international leader. The high degree of training and professionalism of his staff and the upgrade to modern and suitable technological equipment are some of his main challenges.
Peru’s participation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions is decades old—the nation is a founding member of the UN. In fact, in 1988, under the leadership of former UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, who was Peruvian, UN Peacekeeping Forces received the Nobel Peace Prize. Peru’s participation in UN missions goes back to 1958, when the nation sent troops to Lebanon. Since then, members of the Peruvian Army, Navy, and Air Force have participated in peacekeeping missions in countries like Israel, Namibia, Ivory Coast, Cyprus, and Haiti.
Diálogo spoke with Brazilian Navy Admiral Ademir Sobrinho about the main challenges he faces as chief of the Brazilian Armed Forces, such as cyberdefense, combating transregional crime, and other relevant issues.
Major General Jorge Orlando Céliz Kuong, commander of the Peruvian Army’s 5th Division, is perhaps the best person to discuss the support the Armed Forces provide to civilians impacted by drug trafficking and terrorism in Peru. The 5th Division is headquartered in Loreto, Peru’s largest region. The region encompasses nearly 3,600 square kilometers, close to 30 percent of the Peruvian territory, and shares nearly 3,600 kilometers of border with Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil, making it a strategic area appealing to drug traffickers. Maj. Gen. Céliz, a Peruvian Army intelligence officer, was also the commanding general of the Antiterrorism Brigade Great Combat Unit in the problematic Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM, per its Spanish acronym), where the remaining members of the Shining Path and their sympathizers remain. Diálogo spoke with Maj. Gen. Céliz during the Humanitarian Logistics Symposium held September 26th–28th, in Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, Brazil. The event was a lead-up to the AMAZONLOG military exercise to be held in November in Tabatinga, in the Amazon jungle of Brazil.
Managing security, defense, and policy matters in the Western Hemisphere is a key element of the U.S. relations with its regional partners. For retired U.S. Army Colonel Sergio de la Peña, a native of Mexico, the commitment is personal. In his role as the U.S. Department of Defense’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, he is responsible for security, defense, and policy issues in the region, and he oversees the funding of defense cooperation programs for U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), among other responsibilities.
The High Performance Athlete Program (PAAR, per its Portuguese acronym) of the Ministry of Defense of Brazil counts nearly 700 athletes from the Brazilian Navy, Army, and Air Force. In February 2017, the Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym) opened up new spots for athletes wishing to enter the program and join the Brazilian Armed Forces.
The South American Defense Conference 2017 (SOUTHDEC) was held from August 22th to 24th in Lima, Peru, where Diálogo spoke with Army General Juan José Saavedra Fernández, the chief of Uruguay’s Defense General Staff. Gen. Saavedra talked about women’s integration into the Uruguayan Armed Forces and the international recognition that Uruguay enjoys due to its historic contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
During the 2017 South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC), held in Lima, Peru, from August 22nd to 24th, several discussion panels were organized to address issues in a group format. For example, one panel focused on several countries' cyberdefense strategies. Colombia took part in it as a South American leader in this area. In order to examine cyberdefense and other topics involving the Colombian Military Forces, Diálogo spoke with Colombian Army General Juan Carlos Salazar Salazar, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Colombian Military Forces.
AMAZONLOG 2017 will be the first inter-agency humanitarian-logistics exercise to be held in South America. Scheduled from November 6th-13th, it will take place in the Amazon town of Tabatinga, state of Amazonas, along the three-country border of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. In addition to the participation of the three countries' armed forces and logistics support from the United States, the exercise will be conducted by the Brazilian Army's Logistics Command and will have observers from several partner nations.