Exercise Viking is a training platform designed to prepare civilians, military, and police personnel for future deployments in United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping missions. As such, the Swedish Ministry of Defense, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, plan and conduct the exercise approximately every three years. Multidimensional, multifunctional, and multinational in nature, it is the largest exercise of its kind worldwide.
The objective of Viking 22 is to train and educate participants — civilians, military, and police personnel — to meet the challenges of responding to present and future multidimensional crises, as well as peacekeeping operations.
The concept for Exercise Viking was presented at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 50th Anniversary Conference in 1999 as a Swedish/U.S. initiative. As such, the exercise was developed and implemented within NATO’s “Spirit of Partnership for Peace” strategic initiative and was held in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2018, and March 28-April 7, 2022.
Importantly, Exercise Viking facilitates the building of a wider network among participants: This year, more than 60 countries and international organizations participated.
Exercise Viking 22 used the Northern Continent scenario, which provided versatility and greater realism to train for complex and current international interventions, including U.N. Multidimensional Peacekeeping Operations, European Union (EU) Political Security and Defense Missions, and NATO Crisis Response Operations.
Law and peacekeeping
The countries in the Northern Continent scenario were fictional and were configured to reflect states with multiple security challenges. Regional instability in the form of civil wars and humanitarian crises marked the scenario. Weak states were under pressure to maintain law and order and their respective territorial integrity in the face of internal disagreements and growing separatist movements.
The planned scenario sought to provide challenges and opportunities for the deployment of U.N., NATO, and EU operations and missions, as well as other regional and international governmental and nongovernmental actors. It also provided a complex and realistic environment for the deployment of combined operations and their logistical challenges.
The exercise specifically focused on the situation in two Northern Continent countries and was divided into two branches (both under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter):
– The Southland country situation was oriented toward the development of a Peace-enforcement type peacekeeping mission under NATO responsibility.
– The Midland country situation was designed to develop a U.N. Peacekeeping-type peace mission.
The U.N. Mission in Midland (UNMIM) simulated the deployment of a multidimensional U.N. peacekeeping mission. Its Military Component divided the area of operations into two sectors, each under the command of a Multinational Brigade. The Northern Sector was under the responsibility of Qatar and the Southern under the responsibility of Brazil. A general officer of the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) served as the Force Commander of the UNMIM Military Component.
UNMIM represented an excellent opportunity to promote greater integration between the civilian, military, and police components. This relationship is the focal point that characterizes the multidimensional concept of a peace mission.
Brazilian and Latin American participation
The Brazilian site was the Remote Point, which represented a Multinational Brigade, under the command of an EB general, responsible for the Southern Sector of UNMIM’s area of operations. Brazil took advantage of its successful experience in hosting a Remote Point — the only one outside the European axis — in the 2018 edition.
Sítio Brasil was under the Ministry of Defense, while its general directorate fell to the EB, through the Land Operations Command (COTER, in Portuguese), in the city of Brasilia. The Brazilian site used a total of 276 personnel. In addition to these personnel, FAB officers performed functions in the Combined Air Operations Center, the Joint Air Component, and the Viking 22 Evaluation Cell, established in Sweden.
Sítio Brasil was composed of military personnel from the Brazilian Navy, the Brazilian Army, and the Brazilian Air Force, military police officers from five Brazilian states, civilian representatives from the U.N. in Brazil, and from the Brazilian Research Network on Peace Operations (REBRAPAZ, in Portuguese), which brings together military and civilian higher education institutions. In addition, military personnel from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay also participated, representing the Latin American Association of Training Centers for Peacekeeping Missions (ALCOPAZ, in Spanish).
The presence of ALCOPAZ (an entity of which Brazil is also a signatory) representatives was of great importance for the exercise, since it represented an excellent opportunity to bring together Latin American countries involved in U.N. peacekeeping missions to Exercise Viking.
The themes addressed during the exercise were Cyber Defense, Gender Policy, Human Rights, Protection of Civilians, Refugee Procedures, Humanitarian Assistance, Coordination and Cooperation, Measures against the Action of Irregular Forces and Organized Crime, and Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict. These issues were addressed through simulated events and incidents, presented by the exercise management, which were passed on to members of the Multinational Brigade.
Observers and mentors from the exercise management evaluated and implemented the proposed solutions, according to the expected actions for each simulated incident. The activities made it possible for lessons to be learned and improve procedures for future exercises.