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The White Paper on National Defence, the National Policy of Defense and the National Defense Strategy [Poltica Nacional de Defesa, Livro Branco de Defesa Nacional e Estratgia Nacional de Defesa] are issued every four years. According to 1, 2 and 3 of art. 9 of Complementary Law No. 97 of June 9, 1999, the Executive Branch will send to the national Congress in the first half of the regular legislative session, four (4) in four (4) years from the year 2012. The legal records folder undergo updates and, after approval of the Presidency, come to Congress for consideration. The area of ??interest of Brazil stretches from the Caribbean to Antarctica in addition to the East African coast.

The National Defense Policy, mainly to external threats, is the conditioning document of the highest level of defense planning and aims to set objectives and guidelines for the preparation and use of national capacity, with the involvement of military and civil sectors in all spheres of national power. The Ministry of Defence coordinates the actions necessary for national defense. This publication consists of a political party, which includes the concepts, international and national environments and defense objectives. Another part of strategy, includes the orientations and guidelines.

Article 142 of the 1988 federal constitution states that "The armed forces, which consist of the navy, the army, and the air force, are permanent and normal national institutions organized on the basis of hierarchy and discipline under the supreme authority of the president of the republic." It adds that "Their purpose is to defend the fatherland, guarantee the constitutionally established powers and, on the initiative of any of said powers, law and order." Significantly, the 1988 constitution fails to include the clause that the military only be obedient to the executive "within the limits of the law." Thus, the armed forces have been placed more firmly under presidential control. According to Complementary Law No. 69 of July 23, 1991, the army's mission is also to cooperate in the national development and in civil defense.

According to Article 84 of the 1988 constitution, the president has the exclusive authority to appoint and dismiss the ministers of state, decree a state of emergency or state of siege, serve as supreme commander of the armed forces, promote their general officers, and appoint them to posts. The president may also declare war "in the event of foreign aggression and when authorized by the National Congress." He also presides over the National Defense Council.

There has been little debate in Brazil's civil society regarding the role of the armed forces. Jos Murilo de Carvalho, a political scientist, has called for such a debate, arguing that it is necessary to define the tasks of the armed forces before addressing issues of defense expenditures. Civilians, however, have not taken the initiative in defining those tasks.

The military has been seeking a new role, primarily to justify even its meager budget. The armed forces have seemed increasingly irrelevant, given the lack of an external threat (Brazil is involved in a common market, joint ventures, and nuclear cooperation with Argentina, its former rival); the lack of an internal threat (no political group in Brazil is calling for the use of violence to overthrow the government); and the demise of communism. In addition to a peacekeeping role, some of the potential new roles for the military include broader participation in the Amazon, involvement in the counter-drug war, and civic action. In late 1994 and 1995, the armed forces were involved intermittently in providing public security in Rio de Janeiro. On May 18, 1995, Governor Marcello Alencar appointed hard-line retired General Nilton Cerqueira, who was elected federal deputy in 1994, as state secretary of public security; General Cerqueira was well known as commander of the Rio de Janeiro DOI-CODI in the 1970s.

On 18 December 2008, President Lula signed the National Defense Strategy, concluding a fifteen month drafting exercise. The document was principally drafted by Minister for Strategic Planning Roberto Mangabeira Unger, and it provides a security policy framework that places defense in the context of the government's broader goal of national development. Brazil had never conducted a wide discussion about its own defense affairs throughout its history. Periodically, governments used to authorize the acquisition or production of new defense products, and introduced specific reforms in the Armed Forces. However, a national strategy of defense had never been proposed to systematically guide the reorganization and reorientation of the Armed Forces; the organization of the defense industry in order to ensure the operational autonomy of the three service branches: the Navy, the Army and the Air Force; and the policies for the composition of their troops, moreover reconsidering the Mandatory Military Service.

The strategy is built on the presumption that it is in Brazil's interest to be "independent," that is able to project its military power as it wishes, able to produce its own military hardware and able to control strategic economic sectors, including space, cybernetics and nuclear power. Much of the document focuses on the future roles and structures for Brazil's armed forces -- including updating equipment, promoting deployability and enhancing peacekeeping capabilities. It also devotes considerable space to issues such as nuclear energy, reducing imports and national civilian service that are only indirectly related to how Brazil's armed forces will defend the country, but are crucial when defense is viewed in the context of a vision of a broader strategy for Brazil's development into a world power. By linking reform of the security sector with the government's broader development vision, the strategy places the military, for the first time since the end of military rule in 1985, into a prominent place on the national agenda and strengthens its case for increased resources.

The Defense Strategy as approved by the government and signed by the President reflects the government's overall priority: Brazil's "development" into a modern world power and sets conditions for the Defense sector's role in this development. In creating this strategy for the defense sector to contribute to development, Unger goes beyond a normal plan for restructuring the security sector to meet anticipated challenges and cites two other "axes" for work: strengthening defense industry and maintaining required military service in the context of a national service obligation. In the three main areas of the strategy (military reform, defense industry and national service), the document underlines the importance of acquiring control of the latest technology and of enhancing the role of the central government.

The strategy for defense and development is built around the concept of "independence." In the government's vision, Brazil should be able to control its own security and not have to go outside its own borders in order to equip its security forces. The strategy allows for "strategic partners," but these are seen as countries willing to transfer to Brazil technologies that will make Brazil more independent, not as collaborators in security operations. Similarly, where Brazil currently does not have the capability to produce defense equipment, it should, according the document, seek to purchase the appropriate articles from foreign suppliers, but with the aim of allowing for domestic production. This point is clearly illustrated by the prescriptive language on acquisition of modern fighter aircraft which rejects the "extreme solution" of simply buying foreign-made planes and called for the Air Force to either 1) purchase aircraft of which Brazil can then produce its own upgraded variant, or 2) purchase a minimal number of foreign planes which then can be augmented by domestic production of the same model. Given the relatively small number of aircraft to be ultimately acquired by the Air Force, neither option makes economic sense, but Unger places a greater importance on "independence" than military capability or efficient use of resources.

The strategy also repeatedly cites three sectors as being of critical importance for the independent development of the Brazilian state: space, cybernetics and nuclear, calling for Brazil to "control" these technologies. The strategy calls for enhanced Brazilian space launch capacity, satellite monitoring and surveillance and for Brazil to deploy its own GPS-type system. Cybernetics is listed as important for communications and information processing. Although, the strategy document acknowledges that as a member of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), Brazil will not have nuclear weapons, it then states that for this reason, Brazil must therefore pursue nuclear power development as an element of security that is important for Brazil's development. This stated connection to defense of the country serves as justification for inclusion of nuclear power as a strategic industry, albeit one whose importance is more relevant to development than security. Nuclear energy is, in fact, one of the strategic industries enumerated in GOB's latest Industrial Policy, published in May - see ref c. The other Industrial Policy strategic sectors are defense industry, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and healthcare industry.

The heart of the defense strategy is its plan for the restructuring of the Brazilian military. Specific comments on plans for each service and the Ministry of Defense (MOD) will be reported septel. Much of the restructuring strategy was contributed by the services and provides practical answers to key strategic questions about how Brazil will see to its own security over the next generation. Among the conclusions are that Brazil must focus on the three key areas of monitoring/controlling large areas, strategic mobility and military presence to provide security. These areas contribute to the services, requirements for airlift, better communications, satellite reconnaissance and maritime domain awareness. The strategy notes the necessity of developing better joint service cooperation and the capabilities to conduct joint operations and the need for a professional civil service component in the Defense Ministry. There is also a clear understanding that a country with pretensions to world power status will be asked to make greater contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Brazil ranked just below Uruguay in regional UNPKO participation. The strategy therefore recognized that as Brazilian capabilities increase, so should peacekeeping deployments.

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