Brazilian Rear Admiral Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho is a man used to commanding vessels during simulated war exercises. During April 2012, onboard the flagship of Operation ADEREX-I, in the maritime area between Rio de Janeiro and Santos, he was responsible for coordinated antisubmarine actions and the transfer of oil at sea. Now, he is in charge of the naval component of PANAMAX 2012, a military exercise focused on protecting and guaranteeing the safe passage of commercial traffic through the Panama Canal, maintaining its neutrality and respecting Panama’s sovereignty.
Despite having a very tight agenda during this temporary assignment (PANAMAX ends on August 17), Rear Adm. Lima Filho took some time from his busy schedule to talk to Diálogo.
DIÁLOGO: What is your role during Panamax 2012?
Rear Admiral Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho: On the PANAMAX 2012 Operation, Brazil is the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC), coordinating the actions of the 17 participating nations in order to assure the free navigation on the Panama Canal.
DIÁLOGO: How will this mission be achieved on the Brazilian side?
Rear Adm. Lima Filho: To accomplish this mission, as CFMCC, we will execute Maritime Security Operations, Maritime Interdiction Operations, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, with intense interaction to the others components – Land, Air and Special Operations.
DIÁLOGO: What does it mean for you and Brazil to head this part of the exercise for the first time?
Rear Adm. Lima Filho: It was with enormous satisfaction that the Commander of the Brazilian Navy, Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto, accepted this invitation.
For me as Brazilian Admiral, it is a great honor to participate in an operation with the magnitude of the CFMCC, as the second largest delegation after the U.S., with the participation of so many partner nations.
DIÁLOGO: How will Brazil benefit from the exercise and from leading the maritime portion of it?
Rear Adm. Lima Filho: Brazil will benefit by exchanging experiences and sharing information among the participants, thus enhancing the friendship between our nations and our navies.
DIÁLOGO: Is there a joint effort with Colombia, as it leads the Combined Force Land Component?
Rear Adm. Lima Filho: Colombia is an important Brazilian partner, just like all participating nations in this exercise, so in their role of Combined Force Land Component Commander, it shares with us a huge joint effort in search of greater interaction.
DIÁLOGO: What will Brazil bring to the exercise as a whole and to the U.S. in particular?
Rear Adm. Lima Filho: Brazil comes to this exercise with enthusiasm and professionalism, with a Joint Staff composed of 25 Officers from different sectors of the Navy, distributed among various areas of specialty, in order to share lessons learned, such as its responsibility as Commander of the United Nations Maritime Task Force in Lebanon, which the Brazilian Navy is currently in charge of.
In my view, PANAMAX offers an opportunity to learn from each other in an environment of high-level training.
To finalize this interview, I wanted to take the opportunity to express our gratitude (of all CFMCC members) to the Commander of the U.S. Fourth Fleet, for the invaluable support provided to us throughout the exercise. UNITED BY THE SEA!