Brazil-U.S. Interoperability Builds Trust

For the first time, Brazil and the United States met to promote interoperability between the two countries.
Geraldine Cook/Diálogo | 8 May 2018

International Relations

U.S. Southern Command led representatives of Brazil and the United States at the first Command and Control Interoperability Board in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo: Geraldine Cook, Diálogo)

The complexity of security threats demand deeper collaboration between partner nations in the Western Hemisphere. As security cooperation becomes increasingly important, Brazil and the United States integrate their capabilities into more secure structures to protect communication.

For the first time, Brazil and the United States held the Command and Control Interoperability Board (CCIB), in Salvador, Brazil, April 9–12, 2018. More than 40 members of Brazilian military and U.S. government representatives, led by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), met to discuss joint initiatives to validate command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, and operational requirements to meet cooperation goals and strategies.

“This forum is the first step in increasing interoperability between both countries. I’m sure we’ll continue to strengthen interoperability initiatives between our armed forces,” said Brazilian Army Major General Jayme Octávio de Alexandre Queiroz, deputy chief of Command and Control of the Armed Forces Joint Staff. “We have a long relationship with the United States, more so now as we participate in different activities, operations, and training events—the increase of technology and equipment makes it necessary to have this interoperability.”

CCIB is a bilateral, multi-agency, and multidisciplinary forum to address combined interoperability initiatives on a mutually agreeable basis. The Brazil-U.S. CCIB allows key military and civilian leaders of agencies including SOUTHCOM, the U.S. Command and Control Interoperability Program (C2IP), the Defense Information System Agency, and their Brazilian counterparts to talk about the implementation of critical information standards to support coalition interoperability, among other topics. The first CCIB in Brazil allows the nation to be part of 56 nations across the globe to participate in C2IP.

“This forum is setting the groundwork for our future relationship with the Brazilians as far as command, control, and interoperability,” said Michael Droz, deputy director of Operations at SOUTHCOM. “It’s very important, because we can learn how to communicate and collaborate with each other and be interoperable.”

The inaugural Brazil-U.S. CCIB strengthened relations between both nations’ militaries as well as allowed participants to discuss different ways to be interoperable to confront common challenges. “There are a lot of threats we are facing in this region. If we can communicate and be interoperable with our partners, we can be better prepared to fight those threats,” said Droz. “It doesn’t matter what the mission is—if it is a combat mission with NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], or humanitarian assistance disaster relief. If we can be interoperable—talk to each other, and share information on a real time basis—it makes the mission more successful.”

This idea is shared by the Brazilian military. “Interoperability helps counter security threats,” said Maj. Gen. Jayme. “In situations where the use of multinational forces is needed [to support] partner nations, interoperability is strictly necessary; without it, it’s impossible to conduct combined and joint operations.”

Participants at the first Brazil-U.S. Command and Control Interoperability Board highlighted the importance of undertaking combined initiatives. (Photo: Geraldine Cook, Diálogo)

New front of communications

“CCIB brings an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with the United States to build interoperability between our systems and cultures. People focus on the security between the two nations and their populations,” said Brazilian Air Force Colonel André Luís Maia Baruffaldi, Command and Control advisor at the Ministry of Defense. “The future is promising for interoperability as we look for ways to continue to improve our capabilities.”

“The purpose of the engagement was to discuss operational requirements for weapons platforms and data link systems in U.S and Brazil joint and combined operations,” said Marlon Atherton, C2IP and Cyber Operations Exercise Planner at SOUTHCOM. “CCIB gives us the ability to act together coherently, effectively, and efficiently to achieve tactical, operational, and strategic mission objectives.”

History

The U.S. and Brazilian governments signed a Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) in 2014 to promote their mutual security interests. CISMOA includes legal framework and mechanisms to promote interoperability among communications systems, commands, and tactical control of both nations’ armed forces.

The Brazil-U.S. CCIB became a reality after three years of bilateral conversations and joint efforts between the joint planning directorate of the Brazilian Armed Forces and SOUTHCOM. The first pre-CCIB was held in Brasilia, Brazil, in July 2017. SOUTHCOM will host the second CCIB in 2019.

“Interoperability with partner nations is very important for the Navy,” said Commander Felippe José Macieira Ramos, advisor of Command and Control at the Brazilian Navy. “CCIB allows us to better learn U.S. and NATO naval command and control systems, as well as to help find solutions for interoperability with partner nations.”

For Maj. Gen. Jayme, the future of U.S.-Brazil interoperability is encouraging. “This is our first step in [achieving] perfect integration between the armed forces of Brazil and the United States,” he concluded.

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