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USAF, Brazilian air force leaders discuss on-going cooperation at bilateral talks

  • Published
  • By Capt. Justin Brockhoff
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Leaders from the Brazilian air force met with 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) officials to discuss efforts to further the strong partnership between the two nations' air forces during talks here, Sept. 18 - 20.

The talks provided a forum where officials discussed the results of combined U.S-Brazilian air force ventures in 2012 as well as planned cooperative exercises and combined training events looking forward into 2013 and 2014.

Among the cooperative efforts discussed for 2013 was Exercise Angel Thunder, an event that supports U.S. and Brazilian air force training objectives in the task of personnel recovery. More than 1,700 personnel are slated to participate in the exercise spread across training areas in California, Arizona and New Mexico to simulate the rescue and recovery of airmen following simulated aircraft crashes.

In addition to training events, other future plans between the U.S. and Brazilian air forces were discussed. One example of these initiatives is the Military Personnel Exchange Program, which calls for an exchange of several C-130 pilots and maintenance officers as well as Air Force Academy instructors. These types of efforts, along with several others discussed, are representative of the close bond between the U.S. and Brazilian militaries whose ties date back to World War II.

"Through events like these talks our air forces are able to share ideas and foster the partnerships that support regional security and cooperation," said Maj. Ben McKenzie, a Regional Affairs Strategist for 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH). "We were able to accomplish a lot of meaningful reviews and planning in a short time during the bi-lateral talks. Our partners from the Brazilian air force bring a broad regional perspective to the table that amplifies our knowledge and is key to multilateral cooperation."

12th Air Force is one of four numbered air forces that fall under the Air Force's Air Combat Command. While similar to other numbered air forces in many aspects, 12th Air Force is unique in that it also serves as the air component to U.S. Southern Command, a mission that earns the organization the formal title of Air Forces Southern.

In its role as Air Forces Southern or AFSOUTH, the organization provides command and control over U.S. Airmen and air assets operating throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

AFSOUTH's goal is to ensure security and enhance stability throughout the hemisphere by countering transnational organized crime, building partner nation capacity, and providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief when and where called on. Several nations, including Brazil, have liaison officers stationed year-round at AFSOUTH that serve as a link between the U.S. and partner nation air forces on a day-to-day basis to support these goals.

"It is a privilege to represent Brazil's air force here in Tucson and play a role in these talks," said Cel (Col.) Paulo Vasconcellos, the Brazilian air force liaison officer stationed with AFSOUTH at Davis-Monthan AFB. "The partnership between our two countries comes naturally because both Brazil and the U.S. have a vital interest in promoting democracy, good governance, and stability in the region. As a direct result of these talks, officials on both sides have laid the foundation for continued cooperation and success into the future."