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Air Forces Southern renews bilateral training plan with Brazil

Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander (left), 
and Gen. Juniti Saito, Brazilian Air Force Chief of Staff, both sign a 
bilateral training agreement May 11, agreeing to participation in exercises 
and events over the next year between both nation's Air Forces. (U.S. Air 
Force photo by Maj. Cynthia Mesenbrink)

Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander (left), and Gen. Juniti Saito, Brazilian Air Force Chief of Staff, both sign a bilateral training agreement May 11, agreeing to participation in exercises and events over the next year between both nation's Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Cynthia Mesenbrink)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- In an effort to expand cooperation between the two country's Air Forces, the United States and Brazil renewed a bilateral training plan in Brasilia, May 11. 

Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, and Gen. Juniti Saito, Brazilian Air Force Chief of Staff, both signed the training document, agreeing to participation in exercises and events over the next year. 

"It was an historic day in the ongoing friendship shared between Brazil and the United States," General Seip said. "As the AFSOUTH commander, I am committed to furthering the cooperative training opportunities with our Brazilian Air Force leadership and their Airmen. This agreement is a roadmap to achieving that goal, and both countries will benefit immensely from a collaborative theater security effort." 

The current training agreement is part of a two-year agreement, which is reviewed and updated annually according to the needs of each country, said Col. James Russell, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) director of plans and operations. The agreement resulted from repeated Airman-to-Airman talks with the Brazilian Air Force. Both countries submitted topics of discussion, and slowly built a mutual understanding of each country's interests. 

"We based the Airman-to-Airman talks around the Air Staff model because of the size and scope of opportunities available," Colonel Russell said. "AFSOUTH conducts joint training with almost every country in our AOF, depending on size and capability. This agreement is just a little more formal. It lays out a course of training events over the next two years. There is so much to gain from these exchanges." 

Specifically, training will revolve around firefighting from a C-130 platform, procedures and policies for conducting non-combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flights, radar deployment, and mid-air refueling. Brazilian and U.S. Air Forces will participate in exercises like Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Angel Thunder, a combat search and rescue event here; and Cruzex in Brazil. Additionally, mutual Air Force cadet exchanges will take place to give future leaders an insight into the other country's officer program and operations tempo. 

The next Airman-to-Airman talks will occur in November. General officers from each country will again identify their training needs, and establish topics of interest for inclusion in next year's bilateral training agreement review. 

Eventually, Colonel Russell said he would like to see Brazil added as one of 11 nations currently engaged in training agreements with the Air Staff. Currently, AFSOUTH has formal training agreements with Brazil and Chile.

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