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News | Dec. 9, 2020

U.S. Navy, Marine Corps Officers Embark on Brazilian Ship

By Maj. Thomas Perna

Planners from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/4th Fleet) and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH) participated in a Brazilian Navy maritime engagement aboard the Brazilian Naval frigate Uniâo (F 45) off the northeast coast of Brazil, Oct. 27 to Nov. 5.

The two U.S. officers are subject matter experts in amphibious operations, speak Portuguese and have significant experience in the region (as foreign area officers for Latin America). They embarked and integrated with the Brazilian Navy and Marine Corps for ten days at sea in order to observe their planning process, exchange best practices and increase interoperability between the two nations. This event marks the first time U.S. military personnel have served as subject matter experts aboard the Brazilian frigate Uniâo and highlights increased opportunities for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps integration into both planning and execution of future events with the Brazilian Navy.

“This is a significant occasion for our militaries and shows how strong our partnership is,” said Lt. Cmdr. Windsor Frinell, theater security cooperation officer with USNAVSO/4th Fleet. “Not only are we friends and neighbors, we are a team who is more resilient and capable of confronting shared challenges and threats together.”

Throughout the planning exercise, the U.S. officers worked alongside their Brazilian counterparts to develop interoperability and understand similarities and differences between the U.S and Brazilian Navy, naval infantries, and ships. The two countries exchanged several informational and operational briefs on topics relevant to their missions, design and future goals. Some of these topics included: ship capabilities and limitations, maritime security, patrol and air operations, organization and training programs, cyber defense, and regional concerns.

“The Brazilian Navy is an extremely capable force and strategic ally in the [U.S. Southern Command] area of responsibility,” said Lt. Col. Michael Aubry, theater security cooperation branch head with MARFORSOUTH. “Our ability to work together and learn from each other is critical to the security and stability of the region.”

Brazil has more than 90 naval vessels and participates in exercises and missions across the globe. As a regional leader in Maritime Domain Awareness, they participate in several naval exercises such as UNITAS, the longest-running, multi-national maritime exercise in the world. Brazil is also a globally integrated force and has participated in, and led, several operations outside of the region. Since 2012, Brazil has led the Maritime Task Force for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and also led the military component of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti from 2004 to 2017. Due to its size, strong economy, established defense industry, global projection of military forces, and large population, Brazil maintains its position as a regional leader.

In 2019, the U.S. designated Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally, and this status provides foreign partners with the designation of certain benefits in the areas of defense, trade and security cooperation. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Major Non-NATO Ally designation is a powerful symbol of the close relationship the United States shares with those countries and demonstrates our deep respect for the friendship with the countries to which it is extended.

This planning engagement on the Brazilian ship emphasizes the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ pursuit of increased naval integration. On Nov. 4, the commanders of USNAVSO/4th Fleet and MARFORSOUTH signed an integrated Maritime Campaign Support Plan that brings the two U.S. units together for closer coordination in future operations and activities that will maximize the collective strengths with partner nations and reinforce the United States’ reputation as a highly trusted and impactful partner.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South is the U. S. Marine Corps service component command for U. S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). COMMARFORSOUTH commands all Marine forces assigned to Commander, USSOUTHCOM; advises the Commander, USSOUTHCOM on the proper employment and support of Marine forces; conducts deployment and redeployment planning and execution of assigned, attached Marine forces; and accomplishes other operational missions as assigned.