Brazilian Army Major General Rodrigo Ferraz Silva is the commander of the 12th Light Infantry Brigade (Airborne), which is a strategic brigade under the Brazilian Army Readiness Forces. In the multinational exercise PANAMAX 2022, Maj. Gen. Ferraz serves as the commander of the Combined Force Land Component Command or CFLCC.
Diálogo: How does your real world experience contribute to your role in PANAMAX 2022?
Brazilian Army Major General Rodrigo Ferraz Silva: The brigade that I command in Brazil has expeditionary capability and combat readiness as its greatest characteristics. So, I follow a lesson plan that is different from the other brigades of the Brazilian Army and I also take part in other missions that are linked to the Land Operations Command and to the Second Army Division and the Southeast Military Command, which have an expeditionary vocation, which is the ability to send troops to other regions to solve problems of any kinds. And this is exactly what we need in the PANAMAX 2022 scenario.
Diálogo: In PANAMAX 2022, the opposing force is the Brigade of the Martyrs of Liberation (BML). In the case of a possible BML attack, would the CFLCC engage directly?
Maj. Gen. Ferraz: In the [third] phase that we are currently in, which is the so-called dominate phase, yes. The CFLCC’s main mission is really twofold. The first is to curb BML capabilities, and we are going to curb them through direct combat. The second is that we have to train the security forces of New Centralia [a fictitious country created for the exercise], so that they can increase their capabilities. And the end of this phase is precisely to counter the BML.
Diálogo: How important is it to have the support of the population in this situation?
Maj. Gen. Ferraz: It’s fundamental to have the support of the population. We can only do this kind of operation with legitimacy and with as little collateral damage as possible. For example, when we have a target that can be shot down with artillery fire, we have to analyze at that moment what the collateral effect of a shot in that situation is. Sometimes we manage to hit the target and destroy it, but sometimes the collateral damage is so great that it’s not worth it, because aside from eventual deaths, you lose the support of the population. Nowadays, we have to have the public opinion on our side, legitimacy on our side. Modern combat requires commanders to analyze very deeply and to use the necessary force to achieve their objective or the desired task or effect per the upper echelon, which in this case would be the BML.
Diálogo: What about interoperability in the exercise?
Maj. Gen. Ferraz: [It’s about] how much we can do, because all military planning has a matrix that is very similar in any country with an armed force. The planning method is very similar, independent of doctrine. What changes a lot are the capabilities. For example a country that has a type of capability that another country doesn’t have. So, it makes a difference. But the planning matrix, mission analysis, all the planning is very similar.
Diálogo: What is the main objective of exercise PANAMAX?
Maj. Gen. Ferraz: It’s to strengthen the bonds of camaraderie, fraternity, mutual support, to know who our partners are, the partner nations, to create bonds of trust with each other. This is very important and when we start working together on the same problem, which are threats to peace, security, democracy, we see that everyone is aiming for the same objective. So, at this moment, in the planning, where each nation brings its experience, this combination is what will enable us to strengthen the bond of friendship, fraternity, camaraderie, and loyalty.