Students from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense’s War College (ESG, in Portuguese) are set to take off for the United States. The trip, scheduled for September 15-22, 2018, will allow students of military studies to learn about important defense centers in Washington, D.C. The institution prepares leaders and consultants for political and strategic fields related to national defense.
The delegation comprises about 150 instructors and students from ESG’s main courses: the Advanced Policies and Strategy Studies Course (CAEPE, in Portuguese), taught at the Rio de Janeiro campus, and the Advanced Defense Studies Course (CAED, in Portuguese) from the campus in Brasília. The trainees, as students are known, are senior officers from the Brazilian Armed Forces and partner nations, as well as high-ranking members of auxiliary and civilian forces from government and nongovernment organizations.
The trip involves visits to the Inter-American Defense College (IADC), National Defense University (NDU), William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, Pentagon, and U.S. Southern Command in South Florida. The existing cooperation between ESG and similar U.S. institutions, such as IADC and NDU, prompted the trip. The activities will focus on the role of national power, particularly in the political and military fields.
According to Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) General Décio Luís Schons, commandant of the Brazilian War College, trips undertaken by the school enable strategic contact with national and international institutions and aim to expand the knowledge and training of human resources in the defense field. In June, the delegation visited units of the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese), the Brazilian Air Force, and EB to become familiar with strategic defense projects in southeastern Brazil.
For Gen. Schons, the trip will bring both institutional and academic benefits. “We will visit educational institutions that can contribute to updating ESG’s academic activities,” he said. “This is an opportunity to increase understanding of different agencies’ missions and gain useful knowledge that can be developed within the school, while strengthening bilateral and multilateral ties.”
The visits will bring support to students applying ESG’s strategic planning method in the analysis of global scenarios and other subjects taught during the courses. For MB Captain Gustavo Calero Garriga Pires, a CAEPE trainee, the trip to the United States will provide important knowledge for his career. "The knowledge acquired during these practical visits, combined with the array of information and data passed on to the trainees until now, will be very positive."
ESG has encouraged international cooperation throughout its 65 years of operation. The school takes part in the Ibero-American Defense College Association, which aims to promote permanent exchange of experiences and discussions on the studies of peace, defense, and security. The association also promotes closer ties among participating nations and develops a culture of security and defense in the Ibero-American community.
Four of the 90 CAEPE trainees are foreign officers from the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Pakistan. CAED has 65 trainees, all from Brazil.
U.S. Army Colonel Hector Ivan Martinez Piñeiro, a CAEPE trainee, spoke to Diálogo about the importance of the exchange for both countries. “Getting to know the future leaders of the Brazilian Military and government, plus the cadre of such respected institution will definitely allow our countries to work more harmoniously in an environment of mutual trust, camaraderie and respect,” he said.
For Col. Martinez, the course is a great opportunity to understand the socio-political complexities of the Brazilian government and Brazilian internal policies. “It has opened my eyes to a series of very interesting concepts and viewpoints from the best subject matter experts in the field of political science, sociology, law, and military doctrine,” Col. Martinez said. “I have also met a fantastic group of future military leaders and civilians positioned to make a difference for the betterment of Brazil.”
The experience, according to Capt. Calero, is invaluable, not only for the bonds formed with officials from partner nations but also the knowledge shared. “Spending time with representatives from partner nations has opened a range of possibilities, not just limited to replicating solutions, but also to searching for new paths that are appropriate for the country’s reality,” he said.
The academic trip will enable ESG’s delegation to experience first hand the U.S. government’s interagency approach for cooperation and problem resolution, Col. Martinez added. “They will be able to understand the strategic logic to some of our policies and actions. That can then give the future Brazilian leaders an idea of a way to do certain things,” he said. “Plus, Washington D.C. is a majestic city filled with culture and historic monuments.”
ESG also works with the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and carries out multilateral activities and forums. “These activities allow trainees to evaluate the actions of military diplomacy, and carry out a political and strategic analysis of international security and national defense,” Gen. Schons said. “There are also combined activities performed with other similar institutions, such as IADC and NDU.”
Tradition in forming leaders
According to ESG’s Public Affairs Office, more than 8,000 people—military officers, presidents, ministers, and other prominent figures—graduated from the school since its 1949 inception. In addition to the yearlong CAEPE and CAED, the school has 11 shorter defense courses, taught at both of campuses, from which more than 700 trainees graduate annually.
“ESG fulfills its role as a platform for debates, studies, and seminars, involving not only the permanent staff, but also government authorities and trainees, professionals with excellent resumes and experience that can add value to national defense studies,” Gen. Schons said. “The school contributes to the formation of leaders who will play an important role in defining the government’s measures and actions, especially of a military nature, for the defense of territory, sovereignty, and interests”
Captain Galero praised the multidisciplinary nature of the courses’ trainees. “We can create a network of contacts that will certainly be valuable in the future,” he said. “I hope to train to not only serve as a high-level consultant, but also to take on decision-making roles in the Brazilian Navy.”