ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. –
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jim Aiken, hosted delegates from the Brazilian navy for the 27th annual Maritime Staff Talks (MST), at St. Francis Barracks, Florida National Guard Headquarters in St. Augustine, May 3-5, 2022.
MSTs with Brazil started in the early 2000s to synchronize the numerous engagements that both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps were conducting with their Brazilian counterparts, a robust schedule that has continued over the past 20 years.
Aiken led the U.S delegation and Rear Adm. Gustavo Calero Garriga, commander of the Maritime Operations and Protection of the Blue Amazon Command (COMPAAZ), led the Brazilian Delegation.
“Brazil and U.S. Navy have a very rich and strong history of collaboration and partnership,” said Garriga. “Maritime Staff Talks such as these will help strengthen our ties and I look forward to working together as one in the name of unity and friendship.”
Aiken noted that part of the special relationship 4th Fleet shares with Brazil stems back to the year 1943, when the original U.S. 4th Fleet was established in Recife, Brazil.
“This is a proud year for Brazil,” said Aiken. “You are celebrating the bicentennial of your military and also the bicentennial of your country. We are excited for the opportunity to be part of that celebration.”
The MST serves as a comprehensive engagement venue for all bilateral maritime security cooperation activities. Over the past year, U.S. and Brazilian engagements, such as key leader engagements and cultural exchanges continue to reflect the strong partnership.
Aiken expressed his excitement at being able to have the MST face-to-face for the first time since 2018, and stressed collaboration, working together, and building trust as key components of these talks.
“We share a common goal,” said Aiken. “To increase our collective abilities by working together to coordinate and synchronize our efforts in support of our mutual security goals. We get sharper and better when we bounce ideas and we understand each other more.”
Delegates discussed upcoming 2022 operations including UNITAS LXIII 2022, which will take place in Brazil.
“We continue to have a strong bond and successful working relationship with our Brazilian partners,” said Lowell ‘Mac’ McClintock, U.S. 4th Fleet Civilian Deputy IANTN Secretariat. “I am excited at the possibilities this MST will bring for us and our Brazilian counterparts as we continue to improve our interoperability.”
Other notable topics discussed included the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Initiative and the Enlisted Leadership Development (ELD) program.
WPS is a United Nations initiative that 4th Fleet adopted, highlighting the importance of women in today’s Navy and recognizing that women must be critical actors in all efforts to achieve sustainable international peace and security. WPS promotes a gendered perspective and women’s equal and meaningful participation in peace processes, peacebuilding and security.
4th Fleet’s Command Master Chief Robert Florentino spoke of the Enlisted Leader Development (ELD) Program designed to align goals in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility to U.S. Southern Command’s Enlisted Leader Professional Development (ELPD) program. ELD aims to help professionalize the noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps in partner nations by sharing experiences, best practices and lessons learned.
“The vision is the commitment to building and strengthening relationships at all levels,” said Florentino. “This is dependent on one thing and that is us working as a team of officers and enlisted to get the job done.”
The MST ended with Aiken and Garriga signing the minutes, signifying the end of a productive week of discussions, and a mutual agreement to continue to work together and build on the special relationship the two nations share in the future.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
Learn more about USNAVSO/4th Fleet at https://www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT and @NAVSOUS4THFLT.