Brazilian Army Prepares for AMAZONLOG 2017

The logistics event, never before seen in Latin America, will bring together 1,500 people to promote humanitarian operations in the Amazon region.
Taciana Moury/Diálogo | 23 October 2017

An aerial view of the location that will welcome the Integrated Multinational Logistics Base. (Photo: AMAZONLOG 2017)

The Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym) already began preparations for the AMAZONLOG 2017 Multinational Interagency Logistics Exercise in the city of Tabatinga, located in the Amazon region near the Tri-border area between Brazil, Colombia and Peru. The event to take place November 6th –13th, will combine the armed forces of 16 nations.Logistics operations required for the viability of the exercise have been ongoing since July.

The Tabletop Exercise served as preparation for AMAZONLOG, bringing together service members from the armed forces of five partner nations. (Photo: AMAZONLOG 2017)

The main reason for the advance preparation relies on the difficulty to access Tabatinga. The city is located about 1,000 kilometers from Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas. According to the Brazilian Army public affairs office, the Social Communication Center of the Army (CCOMSEX, per its Portuguese acronym), preparation for the event required advance planning and the involvement of various EB military units to allocate, prepare and transport equipment.

The coordination falls under the Army Logistics Support Base. “Currently, preparation of the terrain is being finalized so that adjustments can be made for the rains in the region. Teams from the 6th Construction Engineering Battalion and the Transport Headquarters are already in Tabatinga working on infrastructure preparation,” CCOMSEX reported in a press release.

General Theophilo Gaspar de Oliveira, commander of the Brazilian Army Logistic Command, told Diálogo that logistics planning is essential for holding an event of AMAZONLOG's stature. “It’s a remote region with few services and very little infrastructure, which faces weather and geographic adversities. Developing solutions and rapid responses to aid the populations impacted by any kind of accident is a huge challenge.”

Twenty eight vehicles loaded with 25 containers full of equipment to set up the exercise are already on their way to the site. The trip across land stretched from Rio de Janeiro to Porto Velho, the capital of Rondônia, in the northern region of Brazil. From that point, the River Transport Center of the Amazon Military Command (CMA, per its Portuguese acronym) moved the equipment to Tabatinga.

Concerted efforts to prepare the terrain and the urban areas involved ensued, according to information from CCOMSEX. “Our special border force has received special attention from EB, paving roads, repairing the sewage system, port infrastructure, establishing better communication networks, and renovating the local power grid to bring it into compliance, as well as repairing structures linked to support health services for the local population,” EB explained.

Lead-up events

In addition to sending in equipment for the setup, EB held strategic coordination meetings for the exercise, and trained service members on effectively completing the missions of AMAZONLOG 2017 and some of the events leading up to it. Among those was the Tabletop Exercise held at the CMA in Manaus, August 28th –September 1st. Service members from the armed forces of five partner nations and representatives from various government agencies participated in that exercise.

Vehicles and equipment needed to set up the logistics exercise are already on their way to Tabatinga. (Photo: AMAZONLOG 2017)

The activity that included troops and resources simulated military crisis and operations modeled after the events to take place in the upcoming exercise. Participants also took the opportunity to get a head start on coordinating efforts for the AMAZONLOG exercise. During the simulation, a master conceptualization of the logistics exercise was presented at the strategic, political, tactical, and operational levels.

Another activity was the Humanitarian Logistics Symposium held at the same time as the Military Materiel Exhibition, September 26th–28th, in the capital of the state of Amazonas. “Issues of a humanitarian nature were discussed, such as providing aid to displaced civilians, assisting civilians affected by drug trafficking and terrorism, ancillary operations in support of the civilian population, and the role of law enforcement officers in remote regions prone to transnational crime and recurring natural disasters such as droughts and floods,” explained CCOMSEX. According to EB, the Military Materiel Exhibition also opened up spaces for companies in the defense sector to demonstrate their products. Companies working on clean energy production, which can be a double benefit for Amazonian communities, were of special interest.

U.S. Army Major Cornelius D. Wilbert, a military science advisor with the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, praised these events for their quality and noted how important AMAZONLOG is in tightening relations between the United States and Brazil. “The expo and symposium were impressive events, and allowed great collaboration between military and industry partners. We are excited to demonstrate our technologies and enable long lasting partnerships that will benefit both our nations,” he said.

Multinational Interagency Logistics Exercise

The exercise itself is due to gather nearly 1,500 people—officials and military officers from Brazil and foreign nations—through the installation of an Integrated Multinational Logistics Base in Tabatinga, November 6th¬–13th. EB alone has 1,000 service members participating. Sailors and airmen from the Brazilian Navy and Air Force will also take part in the combined exercise.

Military observers from 16 nations—among them representatives from Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom—have already confirmed their attendance. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru will participate with troops and logistical units, and the United States with observers and logistical units. The United States will send a C-130 transport plane, a mobile kitchen, a water purification station, and a medical team.

In a press conference held in Manaus, General Racine Lima of the Brazilian Army, and in charge of coordinating AMAZONLOG 2017, explained that the operation, in addition to promoting shared experiences and the development of knowledge, skills, and mutual trust, will establish a center for multinational logistics coordination in the Americas. “Through the center, it will be possible to gather data and information needed for the rapid mobilization of military forces to assist populations during emergencies,” he noted.

Training service members and civilians on the use of the logistics system to assist populations, as happens in peacekeeping and humanitarian aid missions, will be a priority during AMAZONLOG. “It’s an opportunity to increase the interoperability of the armed forces and agencies of border nations in the region with those of the other participating nations, building a multinational capacity for response in the fields of humanitarian operations and logistics,” Gen. Theophilo said, adding that the exercise will help provide better assistance to the border communities involved.

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