U.S. Army South Present in Brazil

U.S. Army Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn, commander of U.S. Army South, visited Brazil to attend meetings with Brazilian Army officials and with members of the Conference of American Armies.
Andréa Barretto/Diálogo | 31 May 2017

International Relations

Services members from 14 CEA member nations met from April 10th to 13th in Salvador, Brazil. Left to right: Lieutenant General Walter Souza Braga Netto, Lieutenant General William Georges Felippe Abrahão, Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn. (Photo: Staff Sergeant Summer Woode, Joint Base San Antonio)

In the space of one month, Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn, commander of U.S. Army South, visited Brazil twice. Most recently, he attended the Specialized Conference on Interagency Operations from April 10th to 13th in Salvador, the capital of Bahia state.

As secretary general of the CEA, Maj. Gen. Chinn took part in discussions on interagency operations carried out by EB. (Photo: Staff Sergeant Summer Woode, Joint Base San Antonio)

That event was part of a series of 2017 activities held by the Conference of American Armies (CEA, per its Portuguese acronym), of which Maj. Gen. Chinn is the secretary general. This organization brings together 20 allied armies and promotes meetings and exercises every two years for the purpose of analyzing, discussing, and facilitating an exchange of ideas on defense issues, with an eye toward increasing collaboration and integration among member countries.

Under the theme of “Interagency Operations and Border Monitoring Systems,” the meeting in Salvador was led by the Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym), and attended by representatives from 14 nations. Brazilian service members discussed the experience of the Brazilian Armed Forces working in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations during big events such as the 2016 Olympic Games. They also discussed EB’s efforts on border protection.

“There is no situation that an army force can resolve by itself. We need to work with civilians and other agencies to solve the problem. This is the great lesson from our experience in Brazil,” said Lieutenant General William Georges Felippe Abrahão, EB’s 5th deputy Chief of Staff who presided over the Specialized Conference on Interagency Operations.

At the event delegates also had the opportunity to meet in working groups to share knowledge on operational level planning, and on training and environmental issues. A range of other activities are on CEA’s calendar for 2017.

Medal and meetings

In March, Maj. Gen. Chinn had already spent a few days in Brazil when he was awarded the Order of Military Merit medal. This honor, established in 1934, is bestowed on Brazilians and foreigners who have provided relevant services to EB, or to Brazil in general, or even if they have played a significant role in the development of relations between EB and an army of another nation.

The medal was awarded to the U.S. officer at Fort Caxias, EB’s headquarters in Brasília. “It was an absolute honor and one of those memories I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. The significance of this award wasn’t lost on me as I realize the list of U.S. recipients is short and includes notable figures such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the 38th chief of staff of the Army,” Maj. Gen. Chinn commented.

“This is the Brazilian Army’s highest medal and to receive it on behalf of the U.S. Army is representative of the strength of our relationship. It symbolizes the hardworking, dedicated individuals within our respective armies who have worked tirelessly to fortify our army-to-army bonds for the betterment of the hemisphere,” he highlighted.

Maj. Gen. Chinn met the CMA and spoke with General Geraldo Antônio Miotto, commander of that unit, about the possibility of an exchange with their training schools in the jungle. (Photo: Brazilian Army)

As he passed through the Brazilian capital, Maj. Gen. Chinn had the opportunity to speak with General Eduardo Dias da Costa Villas Bôas, commander of EB, and with other officials such as General Paulo Humberto Cesar de Oliveira, commander of Land Operations, and General Guilherme Cals Theophilo Gaspar de Oliveira, commander of the Logistics Command (COLOG, per its Portuguese acronym).

The agenda for these talks included issues such as the end of the mission in Haiti and Brazil’s role in PANAMAX 2017, a multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command. With participation by representatives from the three military service branches of dozens of countries from across the Americas, this year’s activity will have Brazil in command of the combined joint land forces component.

The multinational exercise AmazonLog was also the focus of attention. Created by EB, it will be held for the first time in November. This initiative seeks to bring the militaries of more than 10 nations, including the United States, to Brazil’s Tri-Border with Colombia and Peru. “The U.S. will participate with four observer officers,” Gen. Theophilo stated.

“Meetings with the commanders of other allied militaries are part of the procedural protocols among nations,” Gen. Theophilo explained. “The meeting with Maj. Gen. Chinn fell within that event schedule when knowledge exchanges take place and matters of strategic interest to both nations are discussed.”

According to Gen. Theophilo, one of the strategic matters discussed with Maj. Gen. Chinn was the possible procurement of fixed-wing aircraft by EB. Since 2016, COLOG has been considering the idea of purchasing a pilot batch of four C-23B Sherpa planes, available for sale by the United States.

Learning in the jungle

During Maj. Gen. Chinn’s visit to Brazil in March, he also got to see the Amazon Military Command (CMA, per its Portuguese acronym), headquartered in Manaus. Accompanied by General Geraldo Antônio Miotto, commander of that unit, Maj. Gen. Chinn and his delegation attended a presentation on the work EB is doing in the Amazon region, and on the Integrated Border Monitoring System.

They also paid a visit to the Center for Jungle Warfare Instruction (CIGS, per its Portuguese acronym). “With CIGS, there is a great potential for exchanges with the U.S. Army,” said Gen. Miotto. He attended the meeting on Maj. Gen. Chinn’s behalf and said that he hopes to deepen the exchange between the Brazilian training center and the U.S. Army’s jungle operations training school, based in Hawaii.

“The Brazilian and U.S. armies hope to further the relationship between the U.S. Army’s jungle school, and the Amazon Military Command’s Center for Jungle Warfare Instruction through increased U.S. students attending Brazilian courses and a possible exchange in 2018 which would see a company from our jungle school visiting the Brazilian school,” Maj. Gen. Chinn pointed out.

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