The General Headquarters of the Brazilian Southern Military Command (CMS, in Portuguese) is located in the historic city center of Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. General Edson Leal Pujol, commander of the Military Area Command for the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), supervises all military actions conducted in the states of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina. His command is known as an elite conventional combat unit for having the largest number of armored, mechanized, artillery, and combat engineering assets in the Brazilian land force.
The Operations Coordination Center (CCOp, in Portuguese), which is directly connected with CMS (CCOp/CMS), was established on July 12, 2014. CCOp’s mission is to plan, direct, guide, coordinate and/or conduct basic and advanced training activities and military operations for the large commands and operational units within CMS’s scope. “This center is characterized by its great agility, flexibility, and readiness when orders and directives are issued for troop training and carrying out operations. We maintain a direct connection with the Land Forces Command, the Logistics Command, and the commands of the 3rd and 5th Army Divisions,” EB Major General Carlos José Penteado, head of CCOp/CMS, told Diálogo.
Brazil’s borders with Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay are widely used by organized crime and transnational criminal organizations as main entry points to bring weapons and drugs into Brazil. To fight criminal activities, interagency operations are carried out, where the armed forces work with government agencies on coordinated efforts to achieve objectives that serve the common good.
“CCOp supported various actions in the southern part of the country, one highlight being Operation Fortress [Operação Muralha, in Portuguese], a partnership between the armed forces, the intelligence services, the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Police, and military and civil police in the states,” Maj. Gen. Penteado said. “[This operation] was conducted on the tri-border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay to step up the fight against crimes such as smuggling and trafficking in drugs, arms, ammunition, and medicine.”
Another highly relevant action is Operation Amethyst (Operação Ametista, in Portuguese), conducted by the Controlled Substances Inspection Service, CMS operations troops, the Civil Police, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, and the National Department of Mineral Production. The operational objective is to monitor the use of controlled products in mining camps, which helps bolster actions taken in the fight against organized crime and illicit activities in the southern region.
CCOp also participates in planning border protection operations, coordinating offensive and defensive exercises and operations using armored and mechanized assets—providing fire support, mobility, counter-mobility, and communications—and making CMS’s logistics structure available. “All of this [is done] to achieve the highest level of performance from troops deployed into the field, providing them ongoing doctrinal refreshers alongside the general staffs of our Army divisions and brigades,” Maj. Gen. Penteado said.
Based on the Comprehensive Border Protection Plan, CCOp, in coordination with the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense, works with state and federal agencies to bolster prevention measures and control, monitor, and suppress cross-border crimes by conducting Operation Agate (Operação Ágata, in Portuguese) annually. And in the latest editions of Operation Agate, CMS used the assets of the Integrated Border Monitoring System (SISFRON, in Portuguese).
“This system is a set of technological resources for surveillance and monitoring, coupled with information technology, electronic warfare, and intelligence. Through the use of SISFRON, the 15th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, located in Curitiba, Paraná, increased operational capacity of its military units, expanding and intensifying control over the border zone in the south of the country,” Maj. Gen. Penteado said.
EB conducts various military exercises with partner nations. Within CMS’s scope, CCOp coordinates Operations Arandu and Guarani, conducted with the Argentine Army, and Operation Paraná, with the Paraguayan Army. The combined operations consolidate the level of integration among armed forces, expanding exchanges and strengthening military diplomacy among nations.
“Around the clock, Brazilian Southern Military Command Operations Coordination Center is ready to conduct military operations in the far south of Brazil. Whether for border protection, interagency coordination and cooperation, upholding the rule of law and public order, or combined operations with partner nations, these operations are always done in the spirit of accomplishing the mission and helping to guarantee our national sovereignty,” Maj. Gen. Penteado concluded.