International Security and Defense

Taking stock of Brazil's changes

A Special Issue of RBPI - Volume 60 - N. 2

In the last 30 years or so, after the end of military rule, Brazil has increasingly redefined both its internal arrangements and procedures and its own international standing and activities in many subjects and arenas related to traditional security-related issues. Brazil has become a full member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty — NPT, and has been very active there, like in the Review Conference of 2000, when the New Agenda Coalition submitted and approved the "13 Practical Steps on Nonproliferation and Disarmament"; Brazil also came to participate in the Nuclear Suppliers Group — NSG; but Brazil strongly resists to sign an agreement based on the Model Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency — IAEA, and is also skeptical of the “State-Level Approach”.

Brazil has also raised its profile on Peace Operations, particularly with its role in the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti — MINUSTAH; but Brazil has also expressed its concerns about them, and proposed its own vision of “Responsibility While Protecting”. While aspiring to a permanent seat at the United Nation’s Security Council, Brazil argues for making it more representative. Brazilian security-related activity has also increased regionally, most noticeably its consistent commitment to UNASUR and related initiatives.

Domestically, Brazil has thoroughly reorganized its intelligence-related activities, by establishing the Brazilian Intelligence Agency — ABIN, to such extent that its staff and personnel are recruited by regular, open selection procedures. At Congress, the Intelligence Activity Control Committee — CCAI, composed of both senators and representatives, is in charge of overseeing and supervising ABIN’s activities. Finally, in 2016, the National Intelligence Policy was published — sixteen years after the law mandating it was enacted. Brazil has created its Ministry of Defense, headed by civilian Ministers, and has since been redefining the relationships among the Armed Services; between them and the whole government; and between them and civil society at large. Particularly, during this period, Brazil has been regularly stating its National Defense Policies and, more recently, its National Defense Strategies, with participants from outside the Ministry of Defense and from outside the Government, and including scholars and journalists. Lately, ambitious programs for equipment acquisition and/or development have been created or given renewed momentum, some of them with potentially significant international implications, like the push for a Nuclear Submarine — the first ever to be deployed by a NPT party that is not a Nuclear Weapon State, which creates new challenges for safeguards, monitoring and verification-related activities. But there another major endeavors, such as the Aerospatial Program, that have also been subject to the ebbs and flows of economic booms and crises, and at least until recently had regained some momentum, and it’s about time for a more consistent thorough appreciation.

Of course, there are other relevant activities outside of government agencies. Recently, Embraer developed its transport aircraft, for many a significant achievement in the area. As the uranium-enrichment plant at Resende enters goes into full operation, Brazil qualifies will qualify as a major an important player in the international nuclear-energy markets. The Multipurpose Nuclear Reactor, to be developed jointly by Brazil and Argentina, is another significant development in the nuclear field. The defense industry has also seen some sort of revival, and also shipyard activity seems to have awakened from a long rest — in both cases, at least for a while. Finally, even the scientific community, which for so long has been rather skeptical of anything “defense” or “security”, has now come to address those issues, and this is now a blossoming, vigorous area of research.

These are only some examples of what has been happening in this area. Still, many challenges persist.

Oversight of other some intelligence organizations — particularly those of Federal and states’ police organizations and those of the Armed Services — is not as extensive, and recruitment not so transparent. CCAI’s activity varies significantly according to actual membership, and sometimes it can become more reactive than proactive. Some pieces of legislation have become quite controversial, such as that on Terrorism. Advances on gender, race and inequality issues in security-related agencies would benefit from more systematic assessment of their extent, significance and insufficiencies. The absence of a civilian bureaucracy for the Ministry of Defense makes it necessary that the Armed Services make their own personnel available to it, which is detrimental to the Services, sometimes to those officers’ careers, and their inputs to the Ministry’s activities are necessarily filtered by each Service’s perspectives — due to long socialization within them, in contrast to their comparatively short terms at the Ministry. The Resende plant has already been subject of some spat between Brazil and IAEA, and it’s not impossible that issues might arise again. Brazil’s resistance to the Additional Protocol is starting to cause some discomfort in some countries and arenas. Recent developments throughout the world have been challenging UNSC’s effectiveness, and even Peace Operations are under closer scrutiny. And, finally, some issues about the past are still cause of controversy, as the controversies about the Truth Committees and the Amnesty Act bear witness. And also this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional – RBPI will publish from July 2017 a special issue to be edited by Eugenio Diniz (Professor of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil). This special issue aims at contributing to a more thorough and systematic assessment of Brazil’s domestic and international changes in matters related to defense and traditional-security issues since redemocratization. Therefore, we welcome submissions focused on issues like: defense and intelligence organizations, procedures and relations to other government agencies and society at large; the international reactions to and impact of Brazilian activities, governmental or not, in defense and security-related matters, including in the nuclear field; Brazil’s relations, behavior and initiatives in international institutions dedicated to defense and security, and other forms of international governance of related matters; the roles and relations between governmental defense, security and intelligence organizations and Brazilian Congress and society; the regional dimensions of Brazilian defense and security initiatives and arrangements; gender, ethnicity and inequality issues within defense, foreign and intelligence establishments; and other issues related to those.

RBPI is published exclusively on line at Scielo (, following the continuous publication model. This model gives faster publication for authors and also faster access for readers, because the articles are published on line at the very moment their editorial production is finished.

All submissions should be original and unpublished, must be written in English, including an abstract of 70-80 words (and three keywords in English), and follow the Chicago System. They must be in the range of 8.000 words. The deadline for submissions is May 30th 2017. Submissions must be done at (On Line Submissions).