Panetta Calls for Closer Military Relations With Brazil
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2012 The relationship between the United States and Brazil is between two global powers, and American officials welcome the warming ties with the South American powerhouse, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during a speech to Brazil’s Superior War College in Rio de Janeiro today.
The speech comes a day after Panetta and Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim conducted the first U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation Dialogue meeting in Brasilia.
“We support Brazil as a global leader, and seek closer defense cooperation, because we believe that a stronger and more globally engaged Brazil will help enhance international security,” Panetta said in prepared remarks released by the Pentagon.
The United States and Brazil have cooperated in real-world operations and have expanded joint training and exercises. “The United States military has been receiving more requests to participate in Brazilian-hosted military exercises and attend Brazilian military schools,” the secretary said.
U.S. military personnel are again training at the Brazilian Army’s Instruction Center for Jungle Warfare. U.S. ships and personnel exercise and patrol together from the shores of Rio de Janeiro to the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Africa. Two years ago, the U.S. Air Force participated for the first time in the Brazilian Air Force’s CRUZEX multinational air exercise. The Brazilian Air Force will return the favor and participate in the American Red Flag exercise next year.
Brazilian and U.S. personnel worked together following the Haiti earthquake. The Brazilians have also participated in a number of United Nations missions around the world.
“Still, I think we can all agree that there is much more we can do together, and that it is in all of our interests to pursue a shared vision of deeper defense cooperation that advances peace and security in the 21st century,” Panetta said. The defense dialogue seeks to find ways to deepen and extend military cooperation between the two nations.
Panetta wants to expand sharing technology with the Brazilians. “I would like to find a way for our defense institutions to improve cooperation on research through exchange programs between our scientific establishments and joint research projects,” he said.
One area of immediate concern is in cybersecurity. Both the United States and Brazil face severe threats from cyber attacks. “I believe both of our nations must leverage our extensive technical expertise and exchange more information on cyber policies, training and best practices,” he said.
These exchanges could help Brazil as the country gears up for soccer’s World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, the secretary said.
Looking overseas, Panetta thinks the United States and Brazil can cooperate on other continents. “Both of our nations have historic connections to Africa and have a strategic interest in stability on the continent,” he said. “We should explore ways for our two militaries to work together to assist African militaries, such as by conducting combined exercises and other forms of training.”
The United States and Brazil have cooperated to help areas affected by natural disasters. Panetta called on the two militaries to work even more closely together.
Panetta also wants growth in trade in the defense arena. “The United States seeks to increase high-tech defense trade, flowing in both directions,” he said. “Perhaps the most prominent example of our willingness to partner with Brazil on advanced defense technology is the United States government’s offer to provide our Super Hornet fighter aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force.”
The offer has strong support in the U.S. Congress. “But this offer is about much more than providing Brazil with the best fighter available,” he said. “With the Super Hornet, Brazil’s defense and aviation industries would be able to transform their partnerships with U.S. companies, and they would have the best opportunity to plug into worldwide markets.”
Panetta said he believes that increased military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Brazil would benefit both nations.
“I do believe that our common interests are so great, and the possibilities that come from our cooperation are so tangible, that we must seize this opportunity to build a stronger defense partnership for the future,” he said.