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Brazilian Navy - Marinha do Brasil

The navy traces its heritage to Admiral Cochrane's mercenary fleet and to the tiny Portuguese ships and crews that protected the earliest coastal colonies from seaborne marauders. The navy is the most aristocratic and conservative of the services and draws a larger share of its officers from the upper middle class and upper class. Although it is involved in "brown-water" (riverine and coastal) operations, the navy's primary goal has been to become an effective "blue-water" navy, able to project power on the high seas. Given its "blue-water" bias, the navy is even less inclined to become involved in counterdrug operations than the army or air force.

The total naval strength of 64,700 in 1997 included Naval Aviation (Aviação Naval) with 1,300 members, the Marines (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais--CFN) with 14,600 members, and only 2,000 conscripts. Naval operations are directed from the Ministry of Navy in Brasília through the Navy General Staff (Estado-Maior da Armada--EMA), six naval districts (five oceanic and one riverine), and two naval commands--Brasília Naval Command (Comando Naval de Brasília--CNB) and Manaus Naval Command (Comando Naval de Manaus--CNM). The 1st Naval District is located at the country's main naval base in Rio de Janeiro; the 2d Naval District is in Salvador; the 3d, Natal; the 4th, Belém; and the 5th, Porto Alegre. The 6th Riverine District has its headquarters in Ladário, near Corumbá on the Rio Paraguai.

The navy's priority reequipment plans for the 1990s included the receipt of new Inhaúma-class corvettes, the construction of Tupi-class submarines, the refurbishing of the Niterói-class frigates, the acquisition of nine new Super Lynx and up to six former United States Navy Sikorsky SH-3G/H Sea King helicopters, the construction of the conventional SNAC-1 submarine prototype, and the development of nuclear-propulsion technology. In addition, the navy contracted in late 1994 to acquire four Type 22 British Royal Navy frigates and three River-class minesweepers for delivery in the 1995-97 period. Brazil has 7,491 km maritime border. Throughout this extension, there is the giganticMaritime Jurisdictional Area that is the sum of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with the Continental Platform. Together represent an area Brazilian economic 4,451,766 km2, which is more than half (52%) of the continental territory of 8,511,965 km2. This fabulous Area is known today as the BLUE AMAZON.

Discoveries of oil off Brazil's coast were cited as justifications for increasing Brazil's navy. While the oil finds will almost certainly increase Brazil's future prosperity, the US sought to turn the strategic dialogue in Brazil away from fantasies that another country -- potentially the United States -- would try to seize the oil fields to a productive discussion of energy security and the importance of maintaining freedom of the seas. The April 2008 announcement of the reactivation of the US Fourth Fleet caught Brazil by surprise and provoked much negative commentary. Even many Brazilians not prone to accept the wild-eyed theories of U.S. intentions to invade the Amazon suspected that the announcement, coming as it did on the heels of the announcement that Brazil had discovered more oil off the Brazilian coast, could not have been a coincidence. While Brazilian military leaders said they understand the reasons for the Fourth Fleet's standup, President Lula had stated again that it poses some threat to Brazil. Lula's statement was pure domestic politics, and his advisors assured the US that he understood the true nature and purpose of the Fourth Fleet. Nonetheless, the episode demonstrated and has heightened Brazilian sensitivities with regard to U.S. military actions in the region.

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. In terms of designing the relationship among the strategic tasks of “sea denial”, “sea control” and “power projection”, the Brazilian Navy will be ruled by an unequal and joint development. If the Navy accepted to provide the same weight to all three objectives, there would be a big risk of being mediocre in all of them. Although all of them deserve to be developed, this will happen in a certain order and sequence.

The priority is to ensure the means to deny the use of the sea to any concentration of enemy forces approaching Brazil from the sea. “Sea denial” is the one that organizes Brazil’s maritime defense strategy, before fulfilling any other strategic objectives. This priority has implications in the rearrangement of the naval forces. While ensuring its power to deny the enemy the use of the sea, Brazil needs to maintain its focused capacity of power projection and establish conditions to control – at the necessary degree for defense and within the limits of the international Law – the maritime areas and the interior waters of political-strategic, economic and military importance, and also their sea lanes of communication. Despite this consideration, “power projection” is hierarchically subordinate to “sea denial”.

The Navy would focus, without defining any hierarchy for the objectives, and according to the circumstances, on the following:

  • Proactive defense of the oil platforms;
  • Proactive defense of naval and port facilities, archipelagos and oceanic islands located within the Brazilian jurisdictional waters;
  • Promptness to respond to any threat against sea lanes of trade, by States, or by non-conventional or criminal forces;
  • Capacity to join international peacekeeping operations outside of the territory and the Brazilian jurisdictional waters, under the aegis of the United Nations or other multilateral organizations in the region;

The construction of means to control maritime areas will focus on the strategic areas of maritime access to Brazil. Two coastal areas will continue to deserve special attention from the perspective of the need to control the maritime access to Brazil: the strip that goes from Santos to Vitória, and the area around the mouth of the Amazon River.

The presence of the Navy in the river basins will be facilitated by the country’s dedication to the establishment of a multimodal transportation paradigm. This paradigm will include the construction of the Paraná-Tietê, Madeira, Tocantins- Araguaia and Tapajós-Teles Pires waterways. Whenever possible, the dams will be provided with locks in order to ensure free navigability along the waterways.

The organization of a naval force and maritime strategy underwater, surface and aerial components will allow the enhancement of the flexibility with which the main objective of the maritime security strategy is protected: dissuasion as a result of sea denial to the enemy approaching Brazil from the sea. In a broad spectrum of combat circumstances, moreover when the enemy force is much more powerful, the surface force will be designed and operated as a tactical or strategic reserve. Preferentially, and whenever the tactical situation allows, the surface force will be engaged in the conflict after the initial employment of the underwater force, which will operate in coordination with space vehicles (for monitoring purposes) and with aerial means (for focused fire purposes). This combat unfolding in successive stages under the responsibility of different contingents will allow, in a naval war setting, the speed up of the swift rotation between the concentration and deconcentration of forces and the enhancement of flexibility at the service of surprise.

The Navy is largely concentrated in the Naval Base of Rio de Janeiro. Under the new National Defense Strategy, "The Navy will start studies and will get ready to establish, at the relevant venue, as near as possible to the mouth of the Amazon River, a multiple-use naval base that is comparable, in terms of scope and density of its means, to the Naval Base of Rio de Janeiro."

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Page last modified: 15-09-2013 19:02:57 ZULU