Building upon the success of two previous joint exercises, Operations Yaguareté and Hermandad, service members from Argentina and Brazil are scheduled to engage in two more joint training operations in 2016, with the aim of strengthening the cooperative ties between the two Militaries.
“An international atmosphere requires militaries to increase their capabilities to join deployed forces and interact in a cooperative environment with other nations,” said Colonel Newton Cleo Bochi Luz, chief of the Operations Coordination Center for the Brazilian Southern Military Command (CMS), which is headquartered in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. “An important element of creating cooperation and regional stability is having forces that are familiar with each other.”
Col. Bochi Luz was one of the CMS coordinators for Operation Hermandad, which was conducted November 16th-20th by Brazilian Army (EB) in Santa Maria and Uruguaiana, sites near the border with Argentina. Hermandad primarily involved 15 officers from each force to coordinate planning and conduct a Command Post Exercise for a Combined General Command for a Large Combat Unit under an Army Division. In addition to its 15 officers, 30 Brazilian Sergeants also participated in the operation.
For the training, Argentina sent representatives from the “General Justo José de Urquiza” Second Armored Brigade, under the First Army Division located in Paraná, in the province of Entre Ríos. The Second Mechanized Cavalry Brigade (BdaCMec) in Uruguaiana, under the Third Army Division, participated on behalf of the EB. The operation was conducted in a simulated warfare environment at the Center for Applied Simulations at Command Posts (CAS-PC, for its Portuguese acronym) in Santa Maria, according to Major General Carlos Jorge Jorge da Costa , BdaCMec Commanding Officer.
Operation Yaguareté was held November 2nd-5th, and consisted of joint exercises in air transport operations in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires. Sixty Brazilian service members from the 12th Light Infantry Brigade, from Caçapava (São Paulo) participated along with Argentine Troops from the 601st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group, Third Army Division from Mar del Plata, province of Buenos Aires, according to the Brazilian Army Social Communications Center. Military officials from the two countries had agreed to the operation during a Bilateral Conference of the Argentine and Brazilian General Staffs.
Strengthening cooperative ties
Command officers from the two Armed Forces came up with the initial ideas for Hermandad in 2006, Maj. Gen. Jorge da Costa explained. The first iteration occurred in November 2014 in Paraná, Argentina. Armed Forces authorities intend on conducting this operation annually, with Military officials planning on holding the 2016 edition at the Entre Ríos unit, but the date has yet to be determined.
“The goal is to have firm ties uniting us, with cooperation and friendship between the two Armies, in addition to a mutual understanding of the procedures, methods and techniques each side employs,” Maj. Gen. Jorge da Costa stated. Argentine Brigadier General Gustavo Fernando Booth, commanding officer of the Second Armored Brigade, added, “Our goal is also to increase our professional and doctrinal knowledge to contribute to the interoperability between the two Armies.”
While the operation conducted training in Uruguaiana (November 16th-17th; 20th) and in Santa Maria (November 18th-19th), the closing ceremony was held on the countries’ border, where Military officers crossed the Uruguaiana-Paso de los Libres International Bridge over the Uruguay River. CAS-PC hosted the simulations, performed by Combater software, and verified the results.
During the operation, service members engaged in a number of exercises involving the gathering of intelligence, Troop mobilization, logistics, operational actions and civilian matters, according to Brig. Gen. Booth. “We simulated the actions of a Combined General Command for a Large Armored Unit undertaking a broad-spectrum defensive operation with planning from the statement of directives from the commanding officer (mission announcement) through final decision.
“The exercises establish common parameters to resolve possible future necessities to employ the two forces, primarily to protect civilians, for humanitarian aid, defense, and the protection of natural resources,” Brig. Gen. Booth added. “Hermandad was a success. Because each country has hosted one year, we are cementing our bases to be able to fulfill our objectives.”
Waging virtual battles
The Hermandad operation did not require Troops to conduct field exercises or use combat equipment. Instead, participating Soldiers waged virtual battle on computer screens at the CAS-PC in Santa Maria. The use of Combater software installed in its facilities allows for a more credible evaluation of the results of the maneuvers employed by the General Command, according to Maj. Gen. Da Costa.
“The group demonstrated initiative and flexibility in adapting to joint planning processes, leading to a harmonious work environment targeting correct solutions to the simulated Military problem,” he said. Prior to the operation, one Colonel from the EB and one from the Argentine Army visited the center for five days to test the software. The Combater software is considered a tool and not the final goal of the ongoing mission, according to the CAS-PC Coordination Office.
“In Hermandad, the two Armies executed a joint operation against a fictitious common enemy,” explained the CAS-PC Coordination Office, which has received delegations from Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, and Military Attachés from other countries. “There is an interest in seeing how we use this simulation tool, our plans, and the number of Troops we intend to train, in addition to technical and pedagogical details about how it works.”
“[The technologies that CAS-PC has at its disposal] allow for profound training and preparation of Troops at a lower cost that would be required for a training operation on the ground,” said Brig. Gen. Booth, adding that Argentina has a simulation center called Virtual Battle, at Campo de Maio in Buenos Aires. “The center can almost constantly provide training for troops all year long.”
The cooperative ties between the two Armed Forces is reflected in the growing number of joint exercises. In addition to the third iteration of Hermandad, the Guarani Exercise will be held in Argentina from October 10th-23rd. “Cooperation between our forces is becoming gradually and sustainably closer,” Brig. Gen. Booth said.
Guarani will involve Troops from the 1st Mechanized Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Army Division, from Santiago, Rio Grande do Sul, and Argentine service members from the 12th Mountain Brigade, located in Posadas, province of Misiones. Additionally, operation Saci-Duende will bring together Paratroopers from Brazil and Argentina with jumps in both countries in 2016.
“The high level of training provided by Hermandad makes it possible for the two Militaries to hold discussions, get to know each other, and work within the different cultures,” Col. Bochi Luz said.
The Training and Evaluation Center, which is in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, and included within CAS-PC, is a strategic place to expand the number of multinational joint exercises with nations in South America and outside the region, Col. Bochi Luz added. “It really is a laboratory for lessons learned. In this regard, a virtual simulation can be a powerful ally.”