By Dialogo August 13, 2010 Leaders from the U.S. Southern Command and the Peruvian Joint Military Command joined their defense and security counterparts from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay as part of the 2d Annual South American Defense Chiefs (SOUTHDEC) Conference, held in Lima, Peru, on 3 and 4 August. The topic of this year’s conference, “Military support to humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” focused the regional cooperation forum on support for humanitarian-aid and disaster-relief missions, as well as serving as a basis for guiding discussions among the high-ranking military leaders who participated. Diálogo met with the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Colombian Armed Forces, Adm. David René Moreno Moreno, to talk about this and other issues. Diálogo: What is Colombia doing in terms of humanitarian aid in other countries? Adm. Moreno: The last specific humanitarian-aid mission that we did was to Haiti, as a consequence of the earthquake they suffered. The Colombian armed forces and the government in general made the decision very quickly. First we sent a field hospital, and between 25 and 30 members of a medical team, more or less, were sent, who provided a variety of medical care to people affected by the earthquake. They were in Haiti for almost two months, helping these people. Some very important coordination was done with the Southern Command so that this team of doctors could be specially assigned to work with these people, but besides this – these doctors, who were all members of the military – two logistical support ships were also sent, with approximately 850 tons of aid each. These ships were there for twenty days each and also provided support to our medical personnel who were on land; in the same way, however, an air bridge was set up starting on the same day the disaster occurred, so that the air force sent various of its cargo planes, C-130s and 727s among them, with many tons of aid for the Haitian people. Speaking generally, we maintained another source of support there that seems very important to me in that we sent the commander of the battalion we have for responding to natural disasters, who became the fundamental pillar for being able to direct the efforts of Colombian armed-forces personnel in that territory. Diálogo: Are there other prospects or possibilities that Colombia will provide this kind of humanitarian aid to other countries? Adm. Moreno: We’re oriented toward being able to provide help to countries that are in need of it at some point in time. To give an example, in the case of natural disasters, Colombia would be entirely ready and very happy to be able to collaborate with other countries, anywhere where it would be possible for us to be present to provide this assistance. Diálogo: What needs to happen for this to occur, Admiral? For example, Gen. Fraser said during his presentation at the conference that perhaps if there are more exercises along these lines among the countries of the region, this could be done more quickly, as happened with Argentina and Brazil helping Chile, no? Adm. Moreno: We’ve always done this and have authority from the government to do so, and the government is always ready to be able to provide this help. I give you the example of when, unfortunately, there were the earthquakes here in this beautiful country, in Peru. The President of the Republic himself, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the day after the disaster, came here to accompany the Peruvian authorities, and we also sent a large amount of aid. This included some field hospitals also, to provide support to the Peruvian authorities. The equipment came with some technicians who were responsible for the hospitals. So, just as we also provide aid to the Central American countries when there is an emergency, we’ll always be ready and prepared to be able to do this. Our policy is to support all friendly countries. At this meeting that has just ended today, the principal topic was oriented toward how we can contribute in an orderly, coordinated way, with good training, with good development of our capabilities, in support of countries that need help after having suffered a natural disaster. But what is most important in all this is how we can train and develop our capabilities before the emergency happens, so that when the emergency does occur, the personnel, the supplies, the equipment, and the aid that we can provide are ready. Diálogo: And if this happened in Colombia, the country would be open to receiving this aid from other countries? Adm. Moreno: I’m sure that if it were necessary, we would be entirely open to being able to receive this aid. We’ve had natural disasters that have been very damaging, if I can put it like that. To give you an example, the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in 1985, when, unfortunately, two towns suffered the impact of the whole avalanche that resulted. At the same time, we’ve also, unfortunately, had some earthquakes in the coffee-growing region that have done a very, very great deal of damage. We know that these natural disasters frequently happen due to both earthquakes and floods. We’ve succeeded in responding to them very well. We have some experience with which to be able to respond to them, and we hope that they never happen again, although nature is unpredictable. Diálogo: Colombia seems to be the country in the region that has worked with the United States most easily in an intelligence-exchange relationship. How did this come about? Adm. Moreno: I believe that what’s most important is that in all countries where we find ourselves dealing with transnational crimes or set ourselves to work together for the purpose of being able to unravel these crimes, there can’t exist borders that get in the way of pursuing an objective as large as the one we have, which is putting an end to these crimes. I give you an example that seems very important to me now in the early years of this century. This is the case, for example, of cyberwar. Cyberwar can be waged by any kind of criminal; from anywhere in the world, someone could at this moment be meddling in any country’s financial system, causing chaos, a catastrophe. So, those of us who suffer or could suffer from illegal activities of this kind have to join together and unite our efforts in order to be able to combat these shared threats. Throughout history, we’ve been joined to the United States by excellent ties of friendship, of cooperation, because we’ve always been seeking the same thing: strengthening a democracy, defending a democracy, and being able to pursue those individuals who commit crimes of this kind that can affect our countries.
On 3 March, Bolivian President Evo Morales threatened legal proceedings against those involved with drug trafficking, with no exceptions, after his former head of the fight against drugs was extradited to the United States following his arrest in Panama, allegedly trafficking cocaine. “Whoever gets mixed up with drug trafficking, whether civilian, military, police, member of the MAS (the ruling party), union leader, or a vice minister, minister, he has to be judged in the Bolivian courts,” Morales indicated at a public military event. Along the same lines, he revealed that thirty-eight active-duty police officers are in jail due to ties to drug shipments. “Up to now, we have thirty-eight police officers who were on active duty in jail for drug trafficking,” he said. After condemning the alleged involvement with drug trafficking by his former director of the fight against drugs from 2007 to 2009, Gen. René Sanabria, Morales said that “here (in his administration) nothing is forgiven.” Even if Sanabria, until now head of an Interior Ministry intelligence unit, was involved with drugs, “this doesn’t mean that the entire institution of the Bolivian police is implicated in drug trafficking, or the entire Bolivian state,” he noted. Sanabria entered a not-guilty plea in a Miami court on charges of trafficking 144 kilograms of drugs to the United States from a Chilean port. “My client was not arrested in possession of cocaine,” his lawyer, Angel Mercado, said in La Paz. “Not a single gram of drugs was found on him, neither in Panama nor in Bolivia,” he affirmed, speaking to reporters. Sanabria was detained in Panama the last week in February and subsequently extradited by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to the United States, where a judge in Miami had issued an international arrest warrant for the Bolivian police officer in December, without La Paz being informed. Right before his arrest, General Sanabria led an “intelligence and counterintelligence” unit in the fight against drug trafficking: the Intelligence and Information Generation Center (CIGEIN), dismantled following the police chief’s detention. Bolivia expelled the DEA in late 2008 for political reasons, and Morales reiterated on Thursday that the U.S. agency will not operate in the country again while he remains president. By Dialogo March 07, 2011
Ecuadorean military personnel have destroyed around 1,100 coca plants that were ready for harvest in a jungle region on the border with Colombia, Colonel Francisco Narváez, the commander of an Ecuadorean Army battalion, announced. According to the Andes news agency, the officer indicated that the plants were located in the region of San Lorenzo, a town in the province of Esmeraldas inhabited by the Awá indigenous community. In early December, uniformed personnel also destroyed around 2,400 coca plants discovered in the San Lorenzo area. According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), released on September 21, 2011, coca cultivation continues to be marginal in Ecuador, where 25 hectares were detected in 2010, compared to 61,200 and 57,000 in neighboring Peru and Colombia, respectively. “The incidence (of areas planted with coca) is at an incipient stage; there aren’t noteworthy tracts of land,” the UNODC representative for Ecuador and Peru, Flavio Mirella, said at the time, introducing the results of the monitoring conducted in 2010. Ecuador has traditionally been considered a transit country for drugs, although processing laboratories have been found in recent years, especially in the coastal regions. So far this year, the Andean country has seized at least 16.7 tons of drugs, chiefly cocaine, and has destroyed several laboratories for processing that narcotic, one of which had the capacity to produce two tons a month. By Dialogo December 20, 2011
Brazil, Colombia, and Peru will reinforce their commitment to protect their shared border against transnational illicit activities. In a trilateral meeting of the Armed Forces chiefs of staff that took place in Manaus on May 29, representatives from the three countries agreed to strengthen multilateral cooperation policies to fight crimes such as drug trafficking, illegal mining, and smuggling. “The keyword is cooperation,” said the event’s host, the head of the Joint General Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces (EMCFA), General José Carlos De Nardi. According to him, mutual support among nations is fundamental for South America to be able to find solutions to common threats, especially in the border area. “But we must not forget our main mission: defending the country and ensuring national sovereignty,” he cautioned. During the meeting at the headquarters of the Amazon Military Command, De Nardi and the heads of the Peruvian and Colombian delegations, Admiral José Cueto Aservi and General Leonardo Alfonso Barrero Gordillo, respectively, discussed proposals to increase protection of the triple border area, as well as measures that could promote cooperation in the fight against transnational crimes. When assessing the evolution of measures already adopted by the three countries, the EMCFA head maintained that strengthening their exchanges of intelligence should take place not only at the political level — among ministers of state or involving the Armed Forces leadership — but also on the “front line,” among the border units themselves. “The battalion commanders need to communicate with one another,” he stated. For De Nardi, it is necessary to create mechanisms that can make it possible to replicate at other levels the rapprochement achieved by Brazil, Colombia, and Peru on the institutional level. The need to increase the exchange of information was also addressed by other delegations. Besides the exchange of intelligence data, Adm. Cueto Aservi proposed the implementation of joint training programs in areas such as military technological innovation, special operations (of the reconnaissance and night-combat types), and simulation systems. For his part, Gen. Barrero Gordillo, mentioned the importance of exchange for the maintenance and refurbishment of military equipment — such as the Brazilian Urutu and Cascavel vehicles, used in Colombia — in addition to the need to have mechanisms to enable the exchange of information “in real time.” When discussing some of the ideas presented, Gen. De Nardi issued a reminder that the treatment of border-security issues is not restricted to the actions of the Armed Forces, and that a wider approach to dealing with the problems at hand involves the participation of other institutional actors, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, in the case of Brazil. By Dialogo June 01, 2012
Drug seizures and arrests very comprehensive, I love it!!!! In June 2012, President Sebastian Pinera and Defense Minister Andres Allamand launched a 12-year national defense strategy known as ENSYD. The plan covers issues such as drug trafficking, arms smuggling, piracy, and threats from organized crime. The plan emphasizes the fact that drug trafficking is the primary activity of organized crime groups in Chile. The buying, selling, and transporting of cocaine represents a threat to Chile’s national security, according to the plan. By Dialogo November 21, 2013 Chilean National Police are seizing drugs and capturing suspects in all regions of the country, not just in the Northern Border area. For example, in mid-November 2013, PDI agents arrested 11 suspects and seized more than 200 kilos of marijuana and cocaine base in the Valparaíso and Coquimbo regions. A month earlier, in October, PDI agents broke up an alleged drug trafficking ring in San Bernardo, on the southern outskirts of Santiago. PDI agents seized more than six kilos of cocaine, coca base, and marijuana, and confiscated three firearms. The 2013 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ranked Chile as the 18th “most frequently mentioned country of provenance” for cases involving cocaine seizures. However, according to McDermott, this does not necessarily mean that Chile has the 18th highest level of cocaine being trafficked through the country. Since the report’s figures are dependent on cocaine seizures by authorities, it could mean that Chilean police are highly efficient and effective in seizing drugs that are being transported through the country, the security analyst said. In 2011, the Ministry of the Interior launched the Northern Border Plan, an initiative to improve security in the regions of Arica, Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antogagasta. The plan called for security forces to stop shipments of drugs, firearms, and other contraband by improving security along the border Chile shares with Bolivia and Peru. In April 2013, authorities extended the initiative into the Atacama region. The Carabiniers are a key part of the effort, along with the National Police force’s investigative unit, which is known as the PDI. The Ministry of the Interior is supervising the security effort. Authorities extended the Northern Border Plan in response to the fact that drug traffickers were extending their activities into regions south of Chile’s northern border. “Together with Carabiniers and the PDI we have decided to extend the Northern Border Plan to the Atacama region because we have seen that drug trafficking battlefield is shifting from the northern regions such as Antofagasta and Arica [and Iqique] to more southern territories,” said Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla. Effective police work While Chilean security forces must remain vigilant, the country overall enjoys a high level of safety, McDermott said. “One must not be alarmist,” McDermott said. “The level of crime in Chile is the lowest in Latin America. This really is a very stable and relatively safe society, certainly for the region.” Chilean security forces recently seized more than 100 kilos of coca base, bringing the total amount of drugs seized in the Latin American country to 15 tons between January and early November 2013. The 15 tons represents an 80 percent increase in drug seizures by the Chilean National Police, compared to the same time frame in 2012. On Nov. 8, the OS-7 anti-narcotics unit of the Chilean National Police, known as the Carabiniers, seized 115 kilos of coca base in Iqique, in the northern part of the country. The Carabiniers launched the investigation that led to the drug seizures in May. Anti-drug initiative Chile remains safe The increase in the amount of drugs seized by Chilean security forces in 2013 reflects increased activity by international drug traffickers, and the high level of professionalism of Chilean police, according to a security analyst. “It´s inevitable that Chile, just like any other country in Latin America, should suffer the effects of the international drug trade,” said Jeremy McDermott, director of InSight Crime, an independent research institution with headquarters in Medellin, Colombia. “This has made Chile an attractive trans-shipment point for cocaine.” But Chile is well-equipped to deal with an increase in drug trafficking, because it has strong security forces and an effective criminal justice system, McDermott said. “One of the advantages Chile has is strong institutions, an effective police force and low violence, which has been an ally against the penetration of international organized crime,” McDermott said. The strong police force and effective criminal justice system make it unlikely drug trafficking will increase in Chile, he said. “Chile remains unlikely to experience any serious growth in the influence of drug trafficking organizations, since it boasts some of the strongest political institutions in the region and lacks any notable domestic criminal structures,” McDermott explained. Broad new security plan
“After we’re done with them, they weigh about 5 tons, so we add on about 5,000 lbs. to the hulls, between kiln-dried plywood and fiberglass overlays, and 5,000 additional lbs. of state-of-the-art communications, propulsion, and navigation equipment, allowing each finished boat to reach speeds of about 35-48 knots at sea,” added Michell. In fact, in early July, both Nicaraguan and U.S. military partners were scheduled to take the three finished boats and others they use specifically for counter narcotics operations to sea, where they will participate in a two-day communications training to facilitate communications between land, sea, and air, and ultimately increase the rate of seizures. He told Diálogo that when the first delivered fast boat was put to the water to be tested, it came upon another such vessel that was transporting drugs, so it’s maiden voyage actually produced a gain for Nicaragua and for the regional fight against drug trafficking. The Nicaraguan Navy is very committed to this collaboration. “The Navy inspects the job we’re doing and has a say in the entire process,” explained Michell. Eduardoño is actually a Colombian shipyard that pioneered the construction of different models of sporty go-fasts in the region, designed for a variety of uses, including fishing, diving, pleasure, and patrols, but the general style of vessel has adopted this name, becoming a genericized trademark. Though there is a current focus on the Northern Triangle countries of Central America ̶ Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras ̶ because of the positive results of the cooperation between the Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies in reducing the violence stemming from drug trafficking and gang activity within their borders, their regional neighbors are also doing their part to keep this violence from seeping across their boundaries. “We are professionals,” added Capt. Fornos. “We don’t get into politics, and we have a very successful, positive professional relationship with the United States Military.” The job done on each, which may be 32, 38, or 45 feet long and 8 feet wide at their widest point, is an amazing transformation that begins with stripping the original boats down to the bare hull, and building customized modern naval marvels outfitted with tactical and operational capabilities to find and go after the best-hidden criminals at sea. By Dialogo July 14, 2015 Law for the complete seizure of physical assets and bank accounts for nurseries and rehabilitation centers as well as support for combat forces. The vessels being refurbished were seized by the Nicaraguan Navy during various counter drug operations at sea. So taking them from drug dealers, rebuilding and repowering them, and using them against the drug networks themselves is a success story in and of itself. To reinforce the commitment of cooperation between the United States and Nicaraguan militaries and further strengthen the relationship between the two, SOUTHCOM’s Command Sergeant Major William B. Zaiser not only visited the refurbishing facility, but also met with senior officials from the Nicaraguan Navy to discuss not only the projects that USSOUTHCOM supports, but also the value of a professional non-commissioned officer corps. He explained that depending on how many boats are refurbished, close to seven will be deployed in Pacific waters, while close to a dozen will be deployed in the Caribbean, where there is a higher traffic of drug boats transporting illegal merchandise from south to north. “Drug trafficking is a well-organized enterprise; it’s protected, so if we’re looking to be successful, we must be constant in our fight,” he emphasized. According to U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Roberto Colon Cruz, Navy Section Chief at the OSC-N, and responsible for the project’s oversight, “This will increase their operational capabilities, the lifespan of their boats, and their security.” “When [the operators] go out against drug trafficking they are hungry for a capture,” assured Capt. Fornos. “We go out on what we have available, we know the sea and the routes the narcos use. But communicating with the plane to guide us, to give us their position is a key part of it.” “Nicaraguan Navy operators out testing the boat were able to seize a criminal fast-boat and capture 76 kilos of cocaine aboard it,” added Capt. Fornos. “We’ve already seen results with one of the fast-boats,” said Nicaraguan Navy Captain Jeraldo Fornos, commander of the Naval Base in Corinto, located about 155 kilometers northwest of Managua, on the Pacific coast. The collaborative endeavor doesn’t only involve the refurbished boats, however. It is a complete package that also includes operational, logistical, maintenance, and communications training. “It’s a message to the ‘narcos’ themselves: This is your boat, and now we are using it to combat you,” said Alberto Michell, founder and principal designer at Naviego Marine, the Nicaraguan shipyard responsible for the refurbishment project. As he showed the Sergeant Major one of the finished refurbished boats, docked in the base’s pier, Capt. Fornos highlighted the importance of this effort. “The important element in this fight is the ‘containment wall’ we’re building to keep drug trafficking from entering our territory. The three [refurbished] boats have given us positive results so far.” Such is the case of Nicaragua, which has taken a strong stand against drug trafficking in the form of a presidential policy calling for a “containment wall” against this threat, not by building a wall per se, but rather by building their naval capabilities to withstand the threat and capture it at sea so it does not permeate on land. To support the Nicaraguan Navy’s efforts in building such an embankment, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), through the Office of Security Cooperation in Managua (OSC-N) has agreed to work jointly with them to refurbish close to 20 Eduardoño-type fast-boats over the next three years. “Our engagements in the region are very important,” said the Sergeant Major. “The Nicaraguan Navy goes out as far as they can to pursue drug boats and execute counter narcotics operations, showing great conviction. We know they’re committed to the fight,” he commented. So far, three boats have been refurbished, and they’re currently undergoing testing on Nicaragua’s waters. “We’ve customized them according to the needs of the end user – the Nicaraguan Navy. This direct involvement changes the dynamics,” he added, as he showed Diálogo what goes into refurbishing each boat or panga, as they are known locally in Nicaragua. “This is the least we can do for our people. It [drug trafficking] is a disease that we have to fight jointly,” concluded Capt. Fornos.
“This is a social health movement that promotes healthy lifestyles,” said Ana Treasure, a representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is a proponent of Honduras Actívate. “We hope other nations follow this pioneer approach that Honduras has taken. We would like a Guatemala Actívate, a Costa Rica Actívate, a Panamá Actívate. We want all Central America active.” Besides the government’s support, business sponsors donate t-shirts, beverages and some of the awards for the winners, who receive medals but also mountain bikes, sports equipment, free hotel stays and gym memberships. Honduras Actívate, a new program spearheaded by the country’s government and Armed Forces to improve the civilian population’s health, “began as a small initiative to promote tourism and healthy entertainment opportunities to the residents of focused areas,” according to Artillery Colonel Jorge Fuentes, the effort’s National Coordinator. The program’s success has led Military officials to evaluate its scope and frequency. Col. Fuentes is considering launching a Honduras Actívate Extreme event in the northern Department of Atlántida, after the rainy season, when the Cangrejal River is optimal for rafting. Latin music with upbeat rhythms grows louder as thousands of adults, teenagers and children wearing brightly colored t-shirts and caps fill Honduras’ streets during the early hours. In addition to bringing business to host cities, the initiative has also helped Military and law enforcement authorities improve public safety in local neighborhoods where criminals had been operating. “Through this program we have recovered spaces, some of which had been damaged by drug traffickers and other delinquents,” Col. Fuentes said. Still, promoting fitness and tourism are its primary aims. “The goals of Honduras Actívate are geared towards the prevention of nontransmissible diseases, like hypertension and obesity, which lead to other illnesses; but we also want to stimulate tourism and we want to create the conditions that result in economic growth for the communities where the events take place. If people have a positive experience, they will return on their own.” Col. Fuentes and his team, which is supported by members from each branch of the Armed Forces, are responsible for scouting areas where exercise programs are held. Military officials register participants, provide security the day of the event and even run, walk or bicycle with some of the participants to build enthusiasm. The Armed Forces officials also transport some participants to events and administer emergency medical care, if needed. “We want 20 points activated to begin with, but we hope to have these mini exercise sessions in all the 298 municipalities of Honduras eventually,” Col. Fuentes said. “We are establishing new platforms because we want this to be a system, rather than a sporadic occurrence.” By Dialogo July 20, 2015 I would like to find the link about the boat that sunk with the oxen in ParÃ¡. “We want everyone to find an activity that suits them,” Col. Fuentes said. “We have high-intensity options for professional athletes, but we want to encourage everyone to engage someway, whether it’s 18 kilometers on a bike, a 30-minute walk or something lighter.” The next event, in May, was a success, with about 3,500 people showing up to Gracias, Lempira to trek through its cloud-forest mountains and for the bike and distance-running competitions. Armed Forces officials held it at Celaque National Park, a main source of water for the western part of the country and home to its highest peak, Las Minas – 2,870 meters above sea level. They chose the area, known for its colonial architecture and history, because Honduras Actívate “wanted to highlight the zone as a premium destination for ecological and adventure tourism as well.” Some families and groups of friends made it a weekend affair, filling the town’s hotels and restaurants, providing a significant boost to local businesses. In July, Armed Forces officials are planning to host at least an hour of Zumba on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at different points in the nation’s two largest cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. A wide array of activities “I like the initiative. I like that it’s a family environment. I am happy sports are promoted because a person with these habits is healthier and keeps stress at bay.” The program is also expanding into the workplace, where government employees will use part of their day to exercise, developing routines that address occupational health problems. The program has expanded to include other sports, with community members leading activities like Zumba, karate and boxing lessons; organizers are also offering table tennis and chess to those seeking less strenuous activities, while young children play in inflated bounce houses at Honduras Actívate events. But since then, the initiative has grown, hosting an event every two weeks, including activities in Lake Yojoa, in La Tigra (close to Tegucigalpa); in Tela; in San Pedro Sula; and most recently, in July in La Ceiba in the Honduran Caribbean. It’s also gaining popularity, as the number of attendees rose from 7,000 for the fourth event to a record 20,000 for the sixth event, in San Pedro Sula. Its first event occurred in April, when the Navy organized a series of athletic competitions, such as bike races and distance running, on the island of Amapala in the Pacific Ocean. Attendance was modest, but Military officials saw the program’s potential. Sabrina Estrada, a two-time participant of the intermediate cycling competition, told Honduras National Television she is very pleased with the program. Plans to expand the program Because the program focuses on improving the civil population’s health, it’s popular with various government agencies and private businesses. “Different sectors have seen the value of what is being done and have decided to partner,” Col. Fuentes explained.
By Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo February 05, 2018 Two KC-390 prototypes went through various stages of testing, bringing together up to 150 members of the Brazilian Armed Forces.
By Marcos Ommati/Diálogo May 16, 2019 The Joint Combined Exchange Training, or JCET, consists of exercises designed to provide training opportunities to special operators from the United States and partner nations. JCETs are always held in countries with which the U.S. Special Forces may have to operate, and expand the range of training of the host nations’ armed forces. Each JCET program typically includes 10 to 40 members of the U.S. Special Forces. The number may eventually go up to 100. From April 16 to May 16, the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) hosted the JCET in their Rio de Janeiro facilities, which presented an unusual characteristic for this exercise: It gathered members of the Brazilian Navy Combat Divers’ Group (GRUMEC, in Portuguese), the Brazilian Marine Corps Special Operations Battalion (Tonelero Battalion), and the United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs. The Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) also participated in the exercise. SWCC operates and maintains a small vessel inventory used in special operations missions, especially those of the Navy SEALs. “This may be the first time this training combines the personnel from these four special units. In previous editions of this exchange, the SEAL teams conducted isolated trainings with GRUMEC and the Tonelero Battalion,” Brazilian Marine Corps First Lieutenant Armindo Melo Peixoto, a member of the Tonelero Battalion, who attended this year’s JCET, told Diálogo. Opportunity to interact and learn “These trainings are an excellent opportunity for our navies to strengthen their long-lasting ties of friendship and cooperation. The interaction, knowledge and experience exchanges allow for improvement of our operators’ capabilities. We expand interoperability and increase the chances of success in future operations and exercises in which Brazil and the U.S. come to join forces in pursuit of common goals,” said Brazilian Marine Corps Colonel Stewart da Paixão Gomes, commander of the Tonelero Battalion, where a large part of the 2019 JCET was completed. Specialized training The training allows participating units to improve their skills in areas such as short and medium range rifle shooting, and includes instruction and training on medium and long-distance sniper techniques, to guarantee maximum security and minimum risk. The JCET also includes training on static and dynamic short-distance shooting techniques with pistol and rifle, combat boat operations techniques (Hurricane model), Over the Beach (OTB) capabilities, Close Quarter Combat (CQC) techniques, Immediate Action Directive (IAD), aerial platform shooting, and freefall jumping operations. Special operators conduct target shooting training during the day and at night, with nearly zero visibility, in complex simulations of potential real-life operations, to increase decision-making, and strengthen the service members’ confidence when facing highly stressful situations. “The training includes integrating best practices and training, and advising on tactical and operational level planning, exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures to include lessons learned,” said a Navy SEALs special operator sergeant who participated in the Brazil JCET, and chose to remain anonymous, for safety reasons. Strengthening existing relationships “Exchanges such as this JCET are always very well received by the Brazilian Navy. From the first contacts established between SOCSOUTH representatives, ourselves [Tonelero Battalion], and GRUMEC, the Naval Operations Command used resources from the Navy and Fleet Marine Squad to support the training. The plan consisted of five weeks of uninterrupted and intense work — days, nights, weekends, and holidays. All parties were completely committed and all training goals were met,” Col. Stewart said. This training is part of a series of engagements scheduled in 2018, creating opportunities for elite units of the U.S. and Brazil to work together, to learn from one another, and to strengthen existing relationships. “The JCET demonstrates the strong partnership between the U.S. and Brazil based on mutual respect and shared interests in the region. The training exchange carried out by U.S. and Brazilian units gives participants an opportunity to build strong and enduring partnerships,” said U.S. Army Major Cesar Santiago, who traveled to Brazil representing Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) as head of Public Affairs. The Brazilian Marine Corps maintains an intense exchange program with the U.S. Marine Corps, conducting periodic bilateral meetings to align objectives and to plan programs to achieve common goals. “In the future, I hope that Brazilian Navy Special Operations have more interaction with the United States Special Operations Command units to establish mid and long-term projects to promote the mutual improvement of our personnel. I believe this will expand integration of our Armed Forces and increase response capability against regional threats, guaranteeing the security of our nations,” Col Stewart said.
November 15, 2000 Regular News Bar, JQC issues don’t burden the courtNeither Florida Bar nor Judicial Qualifications Commission cases take up an inordinate amount of Supreme Court time, and justices consider it important to continue handling those cases.That was a message justices, as well as representatives from the Bar and JQC, brought to the legislature’s Supreme Court Workload Study Commission last month.The commission is charged with recommending ways for the court to handle its growing caseload. Discussion at the October 24 meeting included having Supreme Court panels, instead of the full court, handle all but disbarment and suspension Bar grievances.Tony Boggs, director of the Bar’s Legal Division, said although there are more than 400 disciplinary orders annually from the 9,000-plus complaints filed with the Bar, most are not contested when they reach the court. He noted the cases have already gone through a local committee for probable cause and have been heard by a referee before going to the court. He said only two to three dozen cases annually are contested and require an opinion.JQC Executive Director Brooke Kennerly said the JQC only sends a handful of cases annually to the court, and there has been a trend where the judge and the JQC have agreed on the facts and recommended penalty. She noted that each case, though, involves an opinion.Supreme Court justices, who attended the meeting, agreed. Commission member and Third District Court of Appeal Judge Robert Shevin asked the court about using panels instead of the full court for less serious JQC and Bar discipline cases.Chief Justice Charles Wells said the court has little trouble handling the cases, including Bar grievances. “I think that we might very well get into more problems trying to dissect our responsibility with the Bar than we would solve,” he said.As for having panels, Wells said the whole court might be forced to hear a case anyway if a question arose about guilt, or if two different panels disagreed on a similar issue.Justice Harry Lee Anstead added that having the court directly involved in those cases underscored how important the justices see those issues. “It does not consume an inordinate amount of our time,” he said. “We feel it is very important to send a strong message to the legal community, ‘This is how seriously we take misconduct.’”The commission did ask for statistics for the last 10 years on the number of uncontested orders versus the number of opinions the court has written. Bar, JQC issues don’t burden the court