Brazilian Armed Forces Train for Urban Environment Ops

Brazilian service members receive training for law enforcement missions that increase in frequency in the country.
Andréa Barretto/Diálogo | 25 May 2018

International Relations

Service members from the Southeast Military Command carry out maneuvers during the non-lethal technology and riot control exercise, held in 2017 at CIOpGLO. (Photo: Second Army Division, Brazilian Army)

According to the Brazilian Constitution, the mission of the Armed Forces is to ensure the country’s defense, guarantee constitutional powers, and enforce law and order. The guarantee of law and order (GLO) was among the topics addressed at a seminar organized by the fourth LAAD Security conference, an international public and corporate security trade fair held in São Paulo, April 10-12, 2018.

The Brazilian Army’s Training Center for Operations on Law and Order Assurance includes theoretical and practical training, carried out on the premises of the 28th Light Infantry Battalion. (Photo: Second Army Division, Brazilian Army)

Major Valter Silva Cruz, lead instructor of the Brazilian Army’s (EB, in Portuguese) Training Center for Operations on Law and Order Assurance (CIOpGLO, in Portuguese) was invited to speak on this subject. CIOpGLO is the only institution in the Brazilian Armed Forces specializing in the training of service members for missions “the country’s president only orders after exhausting all other public safety options,” Maj. Silva Cruz said. He noted two operations as examples: Operations Archangel (Arcanjo) and St. Francis (São Francisco), in which thousands of service members contributed to restoring peace in three large favelas of Rio de Janeiro, between 2010 and 2015.

The center, founded in 2005, has trained nearly 4,000 men and women of the Armed Forces. The institution, which has two training exercises and courses scheduled for 2018, must also fulfill one additional responsibility this year: certify all service members of the Eastern Military Command who will be sent to the state of Rio de Janeiro, as part of the federal intervention, ongoing since February.

Some 400 service members have already received training at CIOpGLO. “We prepared a specific training course for those service members, focused on what the intervention calls for,” Maj. Silva Cruz said. Training lasted three days, with morning and evening activities, including urban warfare, shooting, and confined space maneuvering courses—training in line with situations that can be encountered in low-income communities of Rio de Janeiro.

Expanding capacity

CIOpGLO is a subordinate school of the 28th Light Infantry Battalion, with headquarters in the city of Campinas, in São Paulo state. In its decade of operations, the center expanded its training capacity beyond GLO operations. As such, the institution is set to receive a new name: the Training Center for Military Operations in Urban Environments. According to Maj. Silva Cruz, urban environment activities comprise an array of operations that include GLO.

CIOpGLO trains all service members of the Eastern Military Command assigned to work in the federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Tânia Rêgo, Agência Brasil)

As a result, CIOpGLO also trains service members from all branches of the Armed Forces. In December 2017, a first urban combat defense training course, designed specifically for the Brazilian Navy and the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese), took place with the participation of EB service members.

The training provided an opportunity for Armed Forces’ representatives to work jointly, as they would during actual operations. It also allowed “service members to be trained to disseminate information within the Ministry of Defense [of Brazil] to standardize GLO missions,” said FAB Second Lieutenant François Paiva de Almeida, a student in the class.

Intense schedule

Each year, CIOpGLO offers two main training opportunities for officers and sergeants during the first and second semester. Both last five weeks. “The only difference is that the course for officers includes a module dedicated to planning,” Maj. Silva Cruz explained.

EB service members from across Brazil can qualify for the training. The center preselects about 40 people from the applicants the various area commands present. Before enrollment, applicants undergo physical and intellectual testing. Once they pass this stage, they begin the course. There are three weeks of classes and one week dedicated to outdoor operations for the practice of techniques, tactics, and procedures learned during the theoretical portion of the course. The training includes how to manage crises and resolve conflicts, self-defense, general knowledge about social communication, joint use of armed vehicles, and professional military ethics, with an emphasis on human rights.

“Urban environment operations tend to involve selective combat in the midst of the population, in which one has to avoid collateral damage as much as possible,” Maj. Silva Cruz said. The training includes practical shooting modules, including around 215 shots with a rifle and 205 shots with a pistol. Service members are also trained to deploy on the field, conducted in a 500-square-meter structure that simulates the environment of Brazilian cities. “Every course instructor has experience in actual GLO situations, such as in Haiti and the operation in the Maré Complex, in Rio de Janeiro,” Maj. Silva Cruz concluded.

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