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Interview with Brazilian Navy Rear Admiral Eduardo Augusto Wieland, UNIFIL-MTF Commander

The presence of the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s (UNIFIL) Maritime Task Force (MTF) represents the Brazilian military’s most important participation in a current peacekeeping mission.
Kaiser David Konrad / Diálogo | 10 October 2019

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Brazilian Navy Rear Admiral Eduardo Augusto Wieland is the commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s Maritime Task Force. (Photo: Brazilian Navy)

MB Rear Admiral Eduardo Augusto Wieland leads the naval component as UNIFIL-MTF commander.

Diálogo: What is MB’s current participation in UNIFIL-MTF?

Brazilian Navy Rear Admiral Eduardo Augusto Wieland, commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s Maritime Task Force: The Brazilian Navy contributes with the MTF Command and officers and noncommissioned officers of the General Staff , 21 in total, with a colonel in charge of the Maritime Sector, two officers in the Naval Operations Center, and the frigate União flagship with 200 service members, which has an AH-11A aircraft on board. The Navy’s participation is the result of the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council’s resolution 1701, which created a maritime force to stop the illegal entry of arms by sea into Lebanese territory, also supporting the Lebanese naval and security forces until they can execute tasks independently.

Diálogo: What is the area of operations, including tasks performed within the maritime areas of operation (AO), and its relevance in the operational context?

Rear Adm. Wieland: The Maritime AO is the frontal region of Lebanon that covers about 5,000 square nautical miles. It’s important because it’s the entry to Lebanese ports, which are the pillars of the local economy.

Diálogo: How has the participation in UNIFIL-MTF benefited MB?

Rear Adm. Wieland: We have directly benefited from the opportunity to train our force by promoting the role of service members in society and by meeting constitutional principles — defense of peace and peaceful solution of conflicts, for instance.

Diálogo: The Navy will soon initiate operations using the upgraded helicopter Wild Lynx in Lebanon. What benefits will the upgraded aircraft bring to operations conducted in this mission?

Rear Adm. Wieland: The new equipment installed in Wild Lynx will enable faster identification and classification of surface units, which will reduce the time spent clearing an area, considering the capabilities of the current aircraft employed so far.

Diálogo: How is the interoperability with foreign navies?

Rear Adm. Wieland: When a ship joins MTF, it must follow U.N. standards, regardless of origin, technological capacity, or the crew’s professional training. The mission is ostensive, and doesn’t require specific equipment. As such, interoperability is achieved by adopting common processes with a common language.

It can also be said that operating in a multinational environment where there is interoperability is very rewarding because, fundamentally, all navies are equal. We learn a lot from one another about our organizational cultures but, in essence, we are very similar.

Diálogo: What is the relevance of working in international peacebuilding?

Rear Adm. Wieland: The defense of peace, the peaceful solution of conflicts, and cooperation between people for the progress of humanity are constitutional principles established in Article 4 of our Magna Carta. However, beyond fulfilling our constitutional duties, it’s very gratifying to be collaborating and contributing, within our means, to building stability and peacekeeping in this sensitive region of the planet.

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