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Knowing Your Partner: The Evolution of Brazilian Special Operations Forces

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Retired Brazilian Army Major General Alvaro de Souza Pinheiro, in his monograph highlights the importance of knowing our partners. The United States and Brazil have shared an interesting history as allies in World War II and at times economic and geopolitical competitors, and will continue to partner in the future. He begins by presenting a Brazilian point of view of the post-911 world, of irregular warfare, asymmetric warfare recognized by Brazil as 4th Generation Warfare, and the importance of Special Operations Forces SOF as a tool of national power to address the challenges the world faces today. He also provides the reader an overview of Brazils geography, the rich tapestry of its people, its economy, its government, and Brazilian policy toward the United States. General Pinheiro then presents a history and overview of Brazilian SOF units from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Brazilian Army SOF tradition dates back to the 17th century during the colonial period where European powers competed for dominance in the New World. In Brazil, Native and Portuguese Brazilians teamed to wage war against the Dutch utilizing unconventional tactics carried out by small independent teams. National heroes of independence from the mid and late 1600s, Francisco Padilha and Antonio Dias Cardoso, are considered the inspiration for Brazilian Commandos and Special Forces. Modern day Brazilian Army SOF pioneers attended U.S. Army schools and founded Brazils Special Operations Course in 1958, which later expanded to include Commando Actions, Special Forces, and Jungle Operations qualifications courses. In 2002 the Brazilian Special Operations Brigade Brigada de Opera es Especiais was created by presidential decree. The Brazilian Navy Combat Divers Group was founded at the end of World War II with the assistance of the U.S. Navy. Brazilian Underwater Demolition Team members were also among the first graduates of U.S. Navy SEAL training in 1964.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

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