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Western Hemisphere armies gather in Brazil for Commanders Conference

Armies Commanders

By Sgt. 1st Class Alan Brutus, U.S. Army

November 08. 2023

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Senior army leaders from 21 Western Hemisphere nations gathered in the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 2023 Conference of American Armies Commanders Conference beginning on Nov. 6, 2023. Brazil served as the host of this year’s conference as they concluded their role as the permanent executive secretariat of the 35th cycle.

Each CAA cycle lasts two years and rotates on a voluntary basis between the 23 member armies. The theme of the 35th cycle is, “The CAA’s contribution in the process of transformation and preparation of the ‘Army of the Future’ for the expansion of cooperation and integration on confronting the challenges and threats that may affect the security and stability of the American Continent.”

“Just the fact that you are all here means you are committed to strengthening these relationships,” said Brazilian Army Commander, Gen. Miguel Mine Ribeiro Paiva Tomas, during the opening ceremony. “The CAA reinforces the military diplomacy and is a forum where we can have conversations on topics of similar interest. The CAA is indispensable to the politics of the region.”

As a founding member, the U.S. Army stands alongside the partners in an effort to achieve each cycle’s goals. The U.S. Army also recognizes the significance that international organizations such as the CAA play in stabilizing various regions of the world.

“The CAA is an opportunity for us to foster relationships and provides a platform to increase the stability and security across the Americas,” explained Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, U.S. Army Forces Command commanding general and senior U.S. Army representative at the CAA. “I am honored to have taken part in this event.”

Throughout each year, the U.S. Army participates in several training exercises to further the CAA objectives of strengthening integration and cooperation among the American Armies, protect against threats to peace in the region, and advance democracy and freedom.

U.S. Army South, commanded by Maj. Gen. William L. Thigpen, serves as the primary representative for U.S. Army activities throughout the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

“Throughout the year, we conduct a large number of events demonstrating our commitment to the CAA objectives, including training exercises, subject matter expert exchanges, and senior leader dialogue,” said Thigpen. “In the past week, Soldiers arrived in Brazil to take part in Exercise Southern Vanguard 24 and we hosted the Chilean Army commander in chief at our headquarters to discuss future combined training opportunities.”

This year’s commanders conference started with an opening ceremony followed by a plenary session, during which the Brazilian Army provided an overview of the 35th cycle’s activities. Participants also reviewed the results of the electronic vote that took place earlier this year which made changes to CAA bylaws, included Portugal as a special observer to the CAA, and identified Paraguay as the host army for the 37th cycle of the CAA.

At the conclusion of the plenary session, attending armies conducted bilateral meetings to discuss shared challenges and security cooperation opportunities.

“This conference was a great experience,” remarked Poppas. “I enjoyed being able to sit down and discuss training opportunities and develop a better understanding of the unique challenges throughout the region.”

This year’s conference concluded with the official handover ceremony marking the end of the Brazilian Army’s role as the permanent executive secretariat as they passed the responsibility over to the Mexican Army, who will fill the position for the two-year duration of the 36th Cycle.

Source: U.S. Army South

Brazilian Army Headquarters