Letter to the Supreme Commander



Society's involvement in the National Defense Policy is essential, which must establish guidelines for military reform

Mr. Commander, war tensions are worsening and the Brazilian State is unprepared to support its interests. The people are disunited and our strategic environment is disjointed. The ranks are weakened due to their obsolete structures, dependence on foreigners for weapons and equipment, and corporate involvement in political activities.

Meanwhile, the review of the guiding documents of the National Defense Policy was handed over to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, as if this task were not political.

Police investigations into the involvement of members of military corporations in illicit activities cannot obscure Defense problems, especially because the deviations in the military's role largely result from the prevalence of the castro in the definitions of this public policy.

The formulation of Brazil's Defense must be the responsibility of the political power, otherwise it could be reduced to the reflection of corporate interests that do not converge with those of society. It is up to the military to subordinate itself to the civilian represented by political power.

Allow us to suggest that National Defense guidelines observe the following priorities:

(i) The cohesion of society which, disunited, will not be able to defend itself. Reducing inequities is the foundation of social cohesion. This cohesion is based on the belief that politics resolves differences, not war.

(ii) The suppression of the concept of “internal enemy” in the doctrinal formulations of National Defense. In politics, there are adversaries, not enemies.

(iii) The search for the integration of the South American peoples, as required by our Constitution, with a view to forming a strategic protective barrier. Foreign policy must adapt to these objectives. The Charter determines that we must be peaceful as a priority. In these terms, the so-called “military power” must be operated as a secondary instrument.

(iv) The search for effective autonomy in the production of weapons, equipment and products essential to society. This search must aim at deterrence, never at provocative actions.

(v) The reform of the State's instruments of force so that the military turns exclusively against possible foreign aggressors. These instruments must articulate their perceptions of the world, their knowledge and technical capabilities.

(vi) The training of civilian personnel for the Ministry of Defense under the responsibility of civilian professionals, with members of the Armed Forces acting in a subordinate manner.

In view of a necessary military reform, we put forward the following propositions:

(a) Effective reduction in personnel expenses through the resizing of personnel and downsizing of the general officer staff in accordance with the guidelines of a new strategic policy; (b) Deactivation of military units with no relevance to National Defense, the most notorious examples of which are “War Shooting”.

(c) Robust expansion of investments in science, technology and innovation, mobilizing national capacity for this purpose, with emphasis on the scientific community and specialized industry; (d) Prioritization of autonomous naval air capacity over land capacity; (e) Removal of military corporations from tasks related to Public Security and reform or creation of specialized organizations in this field.

(f) Civil Defense Training so that military corporations can focus on their core mission; (g) Suppression of command positions capable of being held by chiefs of staff; (h) Training of joint staffs in order to benefit the interoperability of the Armed Forces.

Mr Commander, society's involvement in the National Defense Policy is essential, which must establish guidelines for military reform. We consider it essential to convene a National Defense Conference.

* Manuel Domingos Neto He is a retired UFC professor and former president of the Brazilian Association of Defense Studies (ABED). Author, among other books What to do with the military – Notes for a new National Defense (Reading Cabinet). [https://amzn.to/3URM7ai]

*Adriana Marques is a professor of the bachelor's degree in Defense and International Strategic Management at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

*Piero Leirner He is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at UFSCar.

*Suzeley Kalil Mathias is a professor of International Relations at the São Paulo State University (Unesp).

* Ana Penido is a postdoctoral researcher at the San Tiago Dantas Program (UNESP – Unicamp – PUC-SP).

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