U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), visited Brazil February 10-13, 2019, to discuss bilateral security cooperation with civil and military Brazilian leaders. The objective of his visit was to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation with Brazil to ensure regional peace and stability in the Western Hemisphere.
Bilateral cooperation between Brazil and the United States expanded in the last few years, particularly in military school, research, and development exchanges. Both countries also regularly conduct combined military exercises, information sharing, and commercial initiatives related to defense.
On February 11, in Brasília, Adm. Faller participated in meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense (MD, in Portuguese). At MD, the SOUTHCOM commander gave a speech on Brazil-U.S. Partnership and Military Leadership.
Adm. Faller presented SOUTHCOM’s lines of action for years to come and its progressing strategy to MD officers. He said he intends to share those with other partner nations for all to contribute. “We build our strategy together. I have 36 years of professional experience and I believe in team work,” he said.
Adm. Faller also participated in a bilateral meeting with Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) General Raul Botelho, chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff of the Armed Forces, to foster treaties between both countries. “We fully understand the best way to strengthen this relationship and make it more robust. It’s important that we work closer together,” said Adm. Faller.
The agenda in Brasília included meetings with commanders from the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) and FAB. The Marine Corps Group of Brasília welcomed Adm. Faller for his meeting with Admiral Ilques Barbosa Júnior, MB commander. During the meeting, MB officials presented their mission, operations in Brazil and abroad, and strategic projects, such as the Submarine Development Program.
At the Aeronautics Command’s headquarters, General Antônio Carlos Moretti Bermude, FAB commander, pointed out the partnership between the Brazilian and U.S. Air Forces, as well as the importance of strengthening the relationship. “It’s very important to be increasingly closer and to share experiences on topics that affect both countries, which are partners in various activities,” said Gen. Bermudez to FAB Press Agency.
For instance, an instructor from the U.S. Air Force teaches at the Brazilian Air Force Academy (AFA), while an AFA instructor lectures at the U.S. Air Force Academy. This sort of exchange also occurs among cadets.
The partner nations also conduct combined activities, such as UNITAS, a yearly naval exercise with the participation of various countries. Two FAB officers are set to go deploy to Afghanistan in 2019 to work along U.S. service members.
Aerospace Operations Command
The SOUTHCOM delegation visited the Aerospace Operations Command (COMAE, in Portuguese), the only joint operational command in Brazil. The unit’s mission is to plan, coordinate, execute, and control all of FAB’s aerospace operations.
FAB Lieutenant General Ricardo Cesar Mangrich, chairman of COMAE’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, highlighted to Diálogo the importance of sharing with Adm. Faller the surveillance tasks FAB carries out. “The visit represents an alignment of ideas between both countries and it shows that the United States perceive Brazil as a partner,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Mangrich emphasized the need to expand mutual defense cooperation between both countries. “We have efficient radar coverage of all the Brazilian territory. SOUTHCOM has radars that reach an extensive area on the continent, known for producing illegal drugs,” he said. “The ability to share and supplement the flow of information on illegal traffic is beneficial for both countries.”
Lt. Gen. Mangrich stressed the importance of executing a defense cooperation agreement to increase threat awareness beyond the border. “We are happy to have heard from Admiral [Faller] about SOUTHCOM’s efforts to enable the partnership,” he said.
The work of COMAE’s service members caught Adm. Faller’s attention, leading the commander to inquire about the operation. “COMAE masters the art of command and control and we have a well-equipped structure, which makes the force proud and impresses visitors,” Lt. Gen. Mangrich said.