The United States supports Brazil as a global leader and seeks closer defense cooperation, said U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The benefits of a closer relationship became very apparent in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, when thousands of U.S. and Brazilian military personnel worked side by side to provide emergency relief to the Haitian people. It was the largest U.S.-Brazilian military operation since World War II.
Since that time, U.S.-Brazil military cooperation has continued to grow. The two militaries have expanded joint training and exercises, and the U.S. military has received more requests to participate in Brazilian-hosted military exercises and attend Brazilian military schools.
But there are many other ways the U.S. and Brazil can expand their defense partnership to advance peace and security in the 21st century. For example, as Defense Secretary Panetta said during his visit, “I would like to find a way for our defense institutions to improve cooperation on research through exchange programs between our scientific establishments and joint research projects.”
Along these lines, cybersecurity holds great promise for increased cooperation. Cyber incidents have the potential to cripple a nation, to take down its power grid, and to take down its government and financial systems. For that reason, Brazil and the U.S. need to leverage their technical expertise and exchange more information on cyber policies, on training, and on best practices.
As two economic powerhouses in the hemisphere, the U.S. and Brazil have built a strong trade relationship that includes extensive trade in the defense area. But there is room for expansion, particularly in the two-way flow of high-tech defense trade. Perhaps the most prominent example of the U.S. willingness to partner with Brazil on advanced defense technology is the strength of the U.S. government’s offer to provide the Super Hornet fighter aircraft to the Brazilian air force. The sort of advanced technology sharing in the U.S. bid is reserved for only the United States’ closest partners.
The United States and Brazil’s common interests and common values are so great, said Defense Secretary Panetta, “and the possibilities that come from our cooperation are so tangible that we must seize this opportunity to build a stronger defense relationship in the future.”