In Ecuador, the Armed Forces Joint Command’s director of operations, or G3, is responsible for advising and taking part in the planning, preparation, and execution of military operations at the strategic level as a member of the Operational Joint Staff. Their role is to assist in decision-making, command and control, and to issue orders at the operational level. Ecuadorean Army Brigadier General Fabián Fuel Revelo, director of operations of the Armed Forces Joint Command, spoke with Diálogo at the 2019 South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC) held in August in the city of Natal, Brazil.
Diálogo: The main topic at SOUTHDEC 2019 is Regional Cooperation in Response to Hemispheric Challenges. What are these challenges, and what is your country’s main contribution to counter them?
Ecuadorean Army Brigadier General Fabián Fuel Revelo, director of operations of the Armed Forces Joint Command: Current scenarios represent a great challenge for countries in the hemisphere, since their complexity requires regional cooperation to create strategic alert capabilities that would enable initiatives to achieve shared security, identifying common threats and, based on these, evaluating our strengths to allow us to take advantage of opportunities to confront them.
In this sense, Ecuador promotes information exchange at the bilateral and multilateral levels at the higher command level. This stems from the experience acquired in natural disaster prevention and risk management, border protection operations, operations to control illegal mining, and others to support State and interagency institutions.
It’s important to acknowledge that the South American Defense Conference is a forum that helps strengthen steps for mutual trust between countries of the region, and it also represents a relevant opportunity to discuss and create common proposals for security and defense in the multilateral cooperation domain.
Diálogo: Ecuador is part of the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific, and is prone to natural events such as earthquakes and volcanoes. What does the country have to share with others in the region in terms of humanitarian assistance, especially in the area of information operations?
Brig. Gen. Fuel: Ecuador is highly exposed to natural events, which means that we have to seek prevention methods to reduce vulnerability and, in turn, the likelihood that disasters or catastrophes will happen.
The earthquake that shook the northern coast of the country on April 16, 2016, prompted the Ecuadorean Armed Forces to support the Risk Management System in security aspects, in support of the National Police and humanitarian logistics efforts, for which a structure based on military logistics organization was established that included production, storage, and distribution centers all over the country.
Moreover, information operations in risk management are conducted through the Armed Forces Social Communication System. This system includes each force’s Social Communication guidelines, as well as those of the Ministry of Defense, which all contribute with their human and material resources, along with their liaisons, reach, and procedures to manage the information generated in the affected area in a synchronized way.
Through their psychological operations capacity, information operations in risk management carry out psychological actions (civil actions, development support, etc.) to strengthen the resilience of the affected population, to motivate reconstruction, to generate acceptance for the Armed Forces’ presence and support, and to strengthen the morale and conviction of the forces themselves to fulfill their duties in the affected area.
Diálogo: What are the benefits of working with other nations, such as the United States, in information operations?
Brig. Gen. Fuel: The main capabilities of information operations are things like psychological operations, cyberdefense, electronic warfare, and deception and security in operations; all these have a great technological demand. It is therefore necessary to have ongoing training and instruction, in keeping with the advances and innovations that the U.S. military might provide to us.
In the same way, the experience of partner nations’ armies in the sphere of information operations would help improve our planning and execution processes to support military operations.
Diálogo: What collaboration programs do the Ecuadorean Armed Forces have with other armed forces of the region?
Brig. Gen. Fuel: Some of the most relevant are:
– Binational programs with Peru and Colombia,
– High commands conferences with Peru, Brazil, and Chile,
– Educational exchanges at the levels of instruction, development, and specialization with Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States.
Diálogo: What is your immediate goal as your country’s G3 director?
Brig. Gen. Fuel: Planning and advising on the strategic management of operations executed by the Armed Forces, as part of completing assigned missions based on principles of efficiency and efficacy, and always with unconditional respect for human rights and the applicable legal framework. In addition, updating military strategic planning to employ and develop the force to allow the Ecuadorean Armed Forces to project toward the future as an institution that protects the rights, liberties, and guarantees of Ecuadorean citizens.