Brazilian Army

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Brazilian Army
Exército Brasileiro
Coat of arms of the Brazilian Army.svg
The Brazilian Army's emblem
Founded1822;197 years ago (1822)
CountryFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Type Army
Role Land warfare
Size222,732 active (2018) [1]
1,980,000 reserve (2014) [2]
Part of Ministry of Defence
Command Headquarters Brasília, DF
Patron Duke of Caxias
Motto(s)Braço Forte, Mão Amiga
(English: "Strong arm, friendly hand!")
Colors Olive Green     
MarchCanção do Exército
(English: "Army Song") Loudspeaker.svg Play  
Mascot(s) Jaguar
AnniversariesAugust 25 (Soldier's Day)
April 19 (Brazilian Army Day)
Equipment469 main battle tanks, 1,850 armored vehicles, 2,140 artillery pieces, 288 Self-propelled artillery, 220 SAM systems, 38 River Boats, ~21,000 Support vehicles, 90 helicopters

U.N. missions

Commander-in-Chief Presidential Standard of Brazil.svg President Jair Bolsonaro
Commander General do Exercito.gif General Edson Leal Pujol
Flag Flag of the Brazilian Army.png
Coat of arms Coat of arms of the Brazilian Army.png

The Brazilian Army (Portuguese : Exército Brasileiro) is the land arm of the Brazilian Armed Forces. The Brazilian Army has fought in several international conflicts, mostly in South America during the 19th century. In the 20th century, it fought on the Allied side at World War I and World War II. [3] Aligned with the Western Bloc, during the time of military rule in Brazil from 1964 to 1985, it also had active participation in the Cold War, in Latin America and Southern Portuguese Africa, [4] [5] [6] as well as taking part in UN peacekeeping missions worldwide since the late 1950s. [7]

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Brazilian Armed Forces combined military forces of Brazil

The Brazilian Armed Forces is the unified military organization comprising the Brazilian Army, the Brazilian Navy and the Brazilian Air Force.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.


Domestically, besides having faced several rebellions throughout these two centuries, with support of local political and economic elites, it also ended the monarchy and imposed on the rest of society its political views and economic development projects during the periods that it ruled the country: 1889–94, 1930–50 (First Vargas period and Dutra years), and 1964–85. [8] [9]

Elite group or class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status

In political and sociological theory, the elite are a small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, political power, or skill in a society. Defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, the "elite" are "those people or organizations that are considered the best or most powerful compared to others of a similar type."

Economic development is the process by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. The term has been used frequently by economists, politicians, and others in the 20th and 21st centuries. The concept, however, has been in existence in the West for centuries. "Modernization, "westernization", and especially "industrialization" are other terms often used while discussing economic development. Economic development has a direct relationship with the environment and environmental issues. Economic development is very often confused with industrial development, even in some academic sources.

Vargas Era The period of the Vargas dictatorship in Brazil

The Vargas Era is the period in the history of Brazil between 1930 and 1945, when the country was under the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas.


Origins (16th To 18th Centuries)

Main Articles: 1st French-Portuguese colonial war, 2nd French-Portuguese colonial war, Sugar War, French raids (1710–11), Napoleonic Wars in South America and Possession Conflicts for Banda Oriental

Although the Brazilian Army was created during the process of the independence of Brazil from Portugal, in 1822, with the units of the Portuguese Army in Brazil that have remained loyal to Prince Dom Pedro, its origins can date back to Land Forces used by Portuguese in the colonial wars against French and Dutch, fought in 16th and 17th centuries. [10] [11]

Portuguese Army land forces of the Armed Forces of Portugal

The Portuguese Army is the land component of the Armed Forces of Portugal and is also its largest branch. It is charged with the defence of Portugal, in co-operation with other branches of the Armed Forces. It is one of the oldest armies in the world, with its origins going back to the 12th century.

Battle of Rio de Janeiro (1558)

The Battle of Rio de Janeiro was a battle in 1558 on the French town at Rio de Janeiro, called Henriville. The Portuguese, though in far smaller numbers, defeated the French and made them flee to the jungle. The French town was then burnt by Mem de Sá, the Portuguese governor.

First Battle of Guararapes

The First Battle of Guararapes was a battle in a conflict called the Pernambucana Insurrection, between Dutch and Portuguese forces in Pernambuco, in a dispute for the dominion of that part of the Portuguese colony of Brazil.

In the colonial period, King D. Manuel I ordered to organize military expeditions with the purpose of protecting the Portuguese dominions in America, then newly discovered. As colonization advanced in Pernambuco and São Vicente, the native military authorities and bases of the colony's defensive organization began to be built to meet the ambitions of the French, English, and Dutch.

Manuel I of Portugal Portuguese monarch

Manuel I, the Fortunate, King of Portugal, was the son of Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, by his wife, the Infanta Beatrice of Portugal. His name is associated with a period of Portuguese history distinguished by significant achievements both in political affairs and in the arts. In spite of Portugal’s small size and population in comparison to the great European land powers of France, Italy and even Spain, the classical Portuguese Armada was the largest in the world at the time. During Manuel's reign Portugal was able to acquire an overseas empire of vast proportions, the first in world history to reach global dimensions. The landmark symbol of the period was the Portuguese discovery of Brazil and South America in April 1500.

First major interventions were the expulsion of the French from Rio de Janeiro in the 16th century and the Maranhao in 1615. As internalization progressed through the broad territorial expansion movement in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Entrances and Flags forced the organization of the defense of the newly conquered territory.

The war against the Dutch, in the 17th century, for the first time mobilized large numbers in the country, and particularly began to have a sense of national defense, regardless of the influence of the crown. The first Battle of Guararapes (April 19, 1648) marks the beginning of the organization of the army as a genuinely Brazilian force formed by local whites, led by André Vidal de Negreiros, Indians, led by Felipe Camarão, and blacks / mulattos, led by Henrique Dias. This date is celebrated as the anniversary of the Brazilian Army. [12] [13]

At this time, following the model of organization of the Portuguese Army implemented following the Restoration of the Independence of Portugal in 1640, the ground forces in Brazil adopt the organization in three lines that will be maintained until the 19th century, which includes:

Throughout 18th century Brazil Colony had serious border problems mainly in the far south. At that time, there were frequent clashes between Luso-Brazilians and Hispano-Platinos, in addition, the land force faced the threat of rebellions of Indians and blacks. [14] [15]

19th Century

Main Articles: Imperial Brazilian Army, Brazilian Independence War, Confederation of the Equator, Cisplatine War, Ragamuffin War, Cabanagem Rebellion, Balaiada Revolt, Platine War, Uruguayan War, Paraguayan War, Naval Revolts, Federalist Rebellion and War of Canudos
Couple of Brazilian officers in Paraguay.jpg
Official of the Imperial Army in 1866.
Brazilian corporal of the 1st Fatherland Volunteer battalion.jpg
Brazilian soldier of the 1st Fatherland Volunteer Battalion.

During the Independence process, the Army was initially composed of Brazilians, Portuguese and foreign mercenaries. Trained in Guerrilla Warfare From then To current Day. Most of its commanders were mercenaries and Portuguese officers loyal to Dom Pedro. [16] Along 1822 and 1823, the Brazilian Army was able to defeat the Portuguese resistance, especially in the North of country and in Cisplatina, having also avoid a fragmentation of the then new Brazilian Empire after its independence war. [17]

After won the Independence War, the Army supported by the National Guard (a paramilitary militia created in 1831 by the big owners of slave and land, known as "Colonels"), destroyed any separatist tendencies of the early years, enforcing central authority of the empire, during the Regency period in the country, repressing across Brazil a host of popular movements for political autonomy or against slavery and the colonels' power. [18]

Brazilian Imperial Army in 1870. Joca Tavares Chico Diabo and others.jpg
Brazilian Imperial Army in 1870.

The National Guard was a military force organized in Brazil in August 1831, during the regency period, and demobilized in September 1922. Its creation occurred by means of law of 18 of August 1831 that "Creates the National Guards and extinguishes the bodies of militias, city guards and ordinances. " According to the aforementioned law, in its article 1, "The National Guards are created to defend the Constitution, Liberty, Independence, and Integrity of the Empire, to maintain obedience and public tranquility, and to assist the Line Army in defense of borders and coasts ", based on art. 145 of the Constitution of 1824: "All Brazilians are obliged to take up arms to support the independence and integrity of the Empire, and defend it from its external or internal enemies." In September 1850, through Law No. 602, the National Guard was reorganized and retained its powers subordinated to the Minister of Justice and the provincial presidents. [19]

During the 1850s and early 1860s, the Army along with Navy, entered in action against Argentinian and Uruguayan forces, which opposed to Brazilian empire's interests. The Brazilian success with such "Gun Diplomacy", eventually lead to a shock of interests with another country with similar aspirations, the Paraguay in December, 1864.
On May 1, 1865, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina signed the Triple Alliance to defend themselves against aggression from Paraguay, which was ruled by the dictator Francisco López. López troops, after invading Brazilian territory through the state of Mato Grosso and the north of Argentina, were heading for the South of Brazil and North of Uruguay. Many slaves had been incorporated into the Brazilian forces to face the increasingly serious situation. As a result of their solid performance during the conflict, the Armed Forces developed a strong sense against slavery. After five years of a terrible warfare (the largest in South American history), the Alliance led by Brazil defeated Lopez. [20] [21]

During this war, one of the biggest in history and the largest one occurred in South America, the Brazilian Imperial Army mobilized 200,000 men for the war, divided into the following categories: 18,000 Army personnel who were in Uruguay in 1864; 2,047 in the province of Mato Grosso; 56,000 Fatherland Volunteers; 62,000 National Guardsmen; 11,900 ex-slaves; and an additional 22,000 National Guardsmen who remained in Brazil to defend their homeland. [22]

High command of the Brazilian Imperial Army in 1885. Count of Eu and Deodoro da Fonseca.jpg
High command of the Brazilian Imperial Army in 1885.

In November 1889, after a long attrition with the monarchical regime deepened by the abolition of slavery, the army led a coup d'état, that resulted in the end of the empire and the founding of a republic. The implementation of the 1st Brazilian military dictatorship (that ended only in 1894), was followed by a severe economic crisis that deepened into an institutional one with Congress and the navy, which degenerates into a restricted civil war at southern region. [23]

20th Century

Main Articles: Contestado War, Brazil in World War I, 1920s Lieutenants Revolts, Liberal Revolt of 1930, Constitutionalist Revolt, Brazil in World War II, Suez UN Peace Mission, Military Dictatorship (1964–85), Operation Powerpack and Araguaia guerrilla

Between 1893 and 1927, in the first Republican Period, the Army had to deal with various movements: some were derived from Navy and Army corps who were unsatisfied with the regime and clamoring for democratic changes, while others had popular origins without conventional political intentions guided by messianic leaders, like in Canudos and Contestado Wars. [24]

The Canudos War, which took place in the northeastern sertão and covered several cities and many sertanejos in Bahia led by Antônio Conselheiro, the Contestado War that developed by dispute of territories of currency of the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, led by Jose Maria

Coastal artillery officers in 1900, blue jackets and red trousers in the uniform of the Army of the Republic until 1912. Guarda Nacional-Santos-ca. 1900.jpeg
Coastal artillery officers in 1900, blue jackets and red trousers in the uniform of the Army of the Republic until 1912.

These revolts were serious threats to the stability of the new republican nascent regime and was related to the discontent of the population of the regions more distant of the sertão northeastern and regions of recent colonization like Paraná and West of Santa Catarina with the Republic, since this population was predominantly Catholic and did not accept a Republic that appeared totally dominated by Masonic ideals like the separation of Church of the State.

After years of fighting and many deaths both on the side of the federal government soldiers and the rebels, these movements were defeated and the Republic consolidated. [25]

Brazilian Army officers, World War I. Brazilian Soldiers First War.jpg
Brazilian Army officers, World War I.

During World War I the Brazilian government sent three small military groups to Europe soon after declaring war upon Central Powers in October 1917. The first two units were from the army; one consisted of medical staff and the other of a sergeants-officers group, and both were attached to the French Army in the Western Front in 1918. [26] [27]

From October 1930 to 1945 the army and elites linked to it, by the second time took the control over the country, having the landowner and opposition political leader, Getúlio Vargas, ahead of movement. In this period, the Army defeated the Constitutionalist Revolt in 1932 and two separate coup d'état attempts: by Communists in November 1935 and by Fascists in May 1938. The Army also helped to formalize the dictatorship in 1937. [28] [29] [30]

In August 1942, after German and Italian submarines sank Brazilian merchant ships, popular mobilization forced the Brazilian government to declare war on Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. In July 1944, after almost two years of public pressure and negotiations with US authorities, an expeditionary force was sent to join the Allied forces in the Italian campaign. The army's contribution was composed of a full Infantry Division (about 25,000 men, replacements included), commanded by Major-General (later Marshal) João Baptista Mascarenhas de Morais, which in Italy was attached to the US IV Corps at the US Fifth Army, into the 15th Allied Army Group. [31]

Badge of Brazilian Expeditionary Force in World War II. Distintivo da FEB.PNG
Badge of Brazilian Expeditionary Force in World War II.

With the defeat of right wing' totalitarian regimes in World War II, Vargas is removed by the head of the army, General Dutra, who in 1946 won the Election dispute against Air Marshall, Eduardo Gomes. After the Vargas suicide (who succeeded Dutra in 1950), due to an institutional crisis, army sectors led by Marshal Lott, ensured the inauguration of Juscelino Kubitschek's Term, elected in 1955. [32]

Soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy during World War II. Soldados da Forca Expedicionaria Brasileira na Italia durante a II Guerra Mundial.tif
Soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy during World War II.

With the resignation of Jânio Quadros, who succeeded Kubitschek, a new institutional crisis opens up, exacerbated by the Cold War context, and in late March-early April 1964, the Brazilian Army (then led by General Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco) seized power through its third coup d'état, inaugurating another dictatorial period, which lasted 21 years. [33]
This coup was the first of a series of coups d'état in South America that replaced democratically elected governments with military regimes. These dictatorships dominated South America until the 1980s. In this period the Brazilian Army employed harsh means to suppress militant dissident groups: changing the law, restricting political rights, after harassing and pursuing dissidents; and militarily, with support of police forces and militias, proceeding with methods of counter-guerrilla and counter-insurgency warfare to defeat the guerrilla movements that tried to combat the regime by force. The urban guerrillas were active in Brazil between 1968 and 1971 while in the rural areas the 2 main movements subdued by the Army were respectively, one in the region where are today the Caparaó National Park (1967) and the other one in the region of Araguaya River (1972–74). [34] [35]

Internationally, in 1965 the Brazilian Army joined forces with US Marines intervening in the Dominican Republic, in Operation Powerpack. During the 1970s strengthened interchange and cooperative ties with armies from other South American countries giving and receiving advisement about counter-guerrilla and counter-insurgency methods, as for example in the Operation Condor, a procedural coordination to find, capture and eliminate political dissidents in mainland. From Geisel period, the third Brazilian dictatorship sought greater independence in its foreign policy, leaving of automatically align with the US interests, especially in relation to sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East. [36] [37] [38] [39]

In the mid 1970s, despite the dissent annulled (by elimination, detention or exile), the leftist guerrillas defeated and the legal opposition tamed, repression was not reduced. This added to the vices and the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power, plus the effects of the then oil/energy crisis and the Latin American default, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, led to increasing social pressures for democracy, which slowly but steadily forced the army to return to its professional activities. [40] [41]

21st century

Haitian civilians receive assistance in a camp set up by the Brazilian Army in 2010 Haiti earthquake. Soldiers aid 2010 Haiti earthquake refugees.jpg
Haitian civilians receive assistance in a camp set up by the Brazilian Army in 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Main Articles: East Timor UN Peace Mission, UN Angola 3rd Verification Mission and UN Haiti Stabilization Mission
Paratroopers during patrols in action Rio de Janeiro Security Crisis. Exercito da apoio a ocupacao no Complexo do Alemao.jpg
Paratroopers during patrols in action Rio de Janeiro Security Crisis.

Since the late 1950s it has taken part in some United Nations peacekeeping missions as for example: in Suez 1956–67, East Timor 1999–2004, Angola 1995–1997 and Haiti since 2004, being the latest, the most recent outside intervention in that nation, as well as the longest length operation in the history of Brazilian military outside the country.

In the destructive earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010, eighteen Brazilian soldiers died. The Brazilian Army has now about 1.250 troops in Haiti and will send 900 more until March 2010, to help the reconstruction of that country.

The Brazilian Army is trying to renew its equipment and making a redistribution of its barracks in all the Brazilian Regions, prioritizing the Amazon. After the promulgation of Brazilian National Defense Strategy, in December 2008, the Brazilian Government appears to be interested in the Armed Forces modernization.

In 2010, during the Rio de Janeiro Security Crisis, the Brazilian Army sent 800 paratroopers to combat drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro. Following the invasion, approximately 2,000 Army soldiers were sent to occupy the Complexo do Alemão.

US Navy 100316-N-9116F-001 A Brazilian U.N. peacekeeper walks with Haitian children during a patrol in Cite Soleil.jpg
A Brazilian U.N. peacekeeper walks with Haitian children during a patrol in Cité Soleil.
Brazilian soldier in Port-au-Prince 2010-02-26.JPG
Brazilian Army peacekeeping soldier in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

In 2014, the 2,050 Army troops stormed into a Rio de Janeiro slum Maré complex with armoured personnel carriers and helicopters in a bid to improve security two months before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. [42] Due to the 2014 FIFA World Cup the Brazilian Army offers more than 50,000 men for security at the event, is the largest military manpower employed in the security of a FIFA World Cup. [43]

MONUSCO Force Commander, Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz during an observation mission on UN Intervention Brigade as FARDC conduct an attack on M23 rebel positions in Kanyaruchinya near Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo - July 15, 2013. Fighting between FARDC and M23 in Kanyaruchinya (9302192582).jpg
MONUSCO Force Commander, Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz during an observation mission on UN Intervention Brigade as FARDC conduct an attack on M23 rebel positions in Kanyaruchinya near Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo - July 15, 2013.

In February 2016, the Brazilian federal government has mobilized 60% of the Armed Forces, or about 220,000 soldiers (these more than 140,000 troops of the Brazilian Army), to go "house to house" in the battle against Zika virus outbreak. [44]

In July 2016, Brazilian Army provided more than 21,000 soldiers, 28 army helicopters and 70 armoured vehicles to ensure the security of the Rio de Janeiro city during 2016 Summer Olympics. Another 20,000 soldiers be on duty in the five cities that will co-host the Rio 2016 Olympic football tournament: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo. [45] 14,800 Army soldiers were also deployed in Rio de Janeiro during the games. [46]

In February 2017, during the Espírito Santo violence outbreak was once again used to contain problems of urban violence that occurred after a strike by the military police of that state. Employing an effective that reached the total of 3000 soldiers. [47]

The Brazilian Army is creating an Expeditionary Force (F EXPD) to provide permanent support for the country's participation in foreign missions. Armed Forces officials expect the F EXPD to respond rapidly, by itself or in cooperation with security forces from partner nations, to safeguard national interests and perform a wide spectrum of operations such as humanitarian actions and peacekeeping missions. It will comply with provisions of Chapter 1 of the White Paper on National Defense, which was published in 2012 and covers the functions and actions of the country's defense forces. With the goal of deploying the force by 2022. [48]

The Expeditionary Force (F EXPD) is initially expected to be made up of one Battalion, with 1,000 Soldiers, in its first year of operation in 2022. In the last phase, scheduled for 2030, it's expected to evolve into a brigade, with 3,000 troops that would add increased capacities, such as Infantry, fire support, and logistics. The F EXPD will also utilize armored vehicles to increase its operational capacity and performance possibilities. [49]

At the beginning of 2018 the Brazilian Army played a fundamental role during the Federal Intervention in the State of Rio de Janeiro, which faced a serious economic and security crisis. General Walter Souza Braga Neto, commander of the Eastern Military Command, which has its headquarters located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, took over the military and public security forces of the state in the name of the Army. He was one of those responsible for security at the 2016 Summer Olympics, based in the same city. The general assumed command of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State, the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State and the Military Firefighters Corps, as well as responding directly to the President of the Republic in his duty as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces by the Constitution. [50]

Timeline of notable battles

Colonial era:

The two Battles of Guararapes (1648-1649) are considered an important milestone as origin for a Brazilian Army. Meirelles-guararapes.jpg
The two Battles of Guararapes (1648–1649) are considered an important milestone as origin for a Brazilian Army.


Brazilian troops in during Siege of Paysandu, 1864. Brazilians during the siege of Paysandu.jpg
Brazilian troops in during Siege of Paysandu, 1864.
GuerradoParaguai1866 70 cearenses.jpg
The 26th Fatherland Volunteer Corps in anti-guerrilla operations in Paraguayan territory, 1866.
Brazilian army in Paraguay.jpg
Brazilian infantry moving on battlefield in Paraguay, 1869


Brazilian Army soldiers during the siege of Bage in Federalist war, 1893.
Brazilian Army battery during the Battle of Guanabara Bay, 1894.
40th infantry batallion canudos 1897.jpg
The 40th Infantry Battalion and the attrition warfare during the hard to campaign in Canudos, 1897.
Canudos 24o Batalhao de Infantaria.jpg
The 24th Infantry Battalion in the combat zone in Canudos, 1897.
Contestado tropa Exercito.jpg
Brazilian troops garrisoning locksmith during attack of Messianic rebels in Três Barras, Santa Catarina in Contestado War, 1915
Combate no Contestado.jpg
Brazilian Army soldiers at the front line in the Contestado War, 1914
Brazilian Expeditionary Force liberating the Italian city of Massarosa, end of September, 1944.
Soldati brasiliani a Montese.jpg
Brazilian soldiers in the difficult Battle of Montese, Italy, 1945.
General German Brazil.png
Generals Otto Fretter-Pico (Wehrmacht) and Mario Carloni (Italian Fascist Army) surrender to Brazilian troops during the Battle of Collecchio in April 1945.
Soldados da FEB no segundo asalto da batalha de Monte Castelo.jpg
Brazilian Army troops in Battle of Monte Castello, Italy, 1944-45.

Historical uniforms of the Brazilian Army

Notable figures



The Brazilian Army had a recorded personnel strength of 219,585 active personnel in 2014. [1] Another estimate by the IISS in 2014 put that figure at 190,000 active personnel, with 70,000 of those being conscripts. [2] In addition there were approximately 1,340,000 reserve personnel in 2014. [2] This figure was down from 1,800,000 reserve personnel in 2008. [51] In principle, the Brazilian Constitution designates the 400,000-strong Brazilian Military Police as a reserve force of the Army, although in practice they remain separate entities.

As of 2018 the size of the active component of the Brazilian Army was approximately 235,000 personnel in active service. [52]


Young men presenting to the Brazilian Army for recruitment, in 2014. Jovens se apresentam para a fase de selecao do Servico Militar (11967061054).jpg
Young men presenting to the Brazilian Army for recruitment, in 2014.

According to Article 143 of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution, military service is mandatory for men, but conscientious objection is allowed. Women and clergymen are exempt from compulsory military service. At the year that they complete age eighteen, men are required to register for the draft and are expected to serve when they reach age nineteen. About 95 percent of those registering receive deferments. A growing number of recruits are volunteers, accounting for about two-thirds of the total. Those who serve generally spend one year of regular enlistment at an army garrison near their home. Some are allowed nine-month service terms but are expected to complete high school at the same time. These are called "Tiros de Guerra" or "shooting schools", which are for high school boys in medium-sized interior towns, run by army senior NCO, first sergeants or sublieutenants, and rarely a second lieutenant. In Brazilian Armed Forces, first sergeants may be promoted to the officers rank, as second lieutenant, first lieutenant and captain, becoming part of the Auxiliary Officers Corps. The army is the only service with a large number of conscripts; the navy and air force have very few.

The conscript system is primarily a means of providing basic military training to a sizable group of young men who then return to civilian life and are retained on the reserve rolls until age forty-five. The army recognizes that it provides a public service by teaching large numbers of conscripts basic skills that can be valuable to the overall economy when the young men return to civilian life.

Officer Recruitment

Field basic period of training sergeants. Campo periodo basico.jpg
Field basic period of training sergeants.

Because the only entry into the regular officer corps is the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras – Military Academy of the Black Needles (AMAN), its records provide an accurate picture of the officer corps. In the decades following World War II, cadets from middle-class families increased, while those from upper-class and unskilled lower-class families declined. The total number of applicants also declined as a result of economic development diversification, which gave high school graduates more attractive options than entering the military. Increasingly, AMAN cadets came from among the graduates of the army-supported Military Schools, which sons of military personnel attended tuition free. Many of these students were sons of NCOs whose own origins were not middle class, so a form of intra-institutional, upward mobility existed.

The trend in the 1960s to recruit from civilian sources has abated. The mental, health, and physical aptitude tests excluded large numbers of civilian school graduates: in 1977 of 1,145 civilians attempting the tests, only thirty-four, or 3 percent, were admitted. In 1985 only 174, or 11 percent, of the AMAN's 1,555 cadets were graduates of civilian schools; the rest were from the army's Military School system, the Cadet Preparatory School (Escola Preparatória de Cadetes—EPC), or air force or navy secondary schools. In the early 1990s, AMAN cadets were drawn exclusively from those who had completed the EPC. By the mid-1990s, the AMAN's cadet population was about 3,000.

In the twentieth century, the officer corps has been composed predominantly of men from the Southeast and South of Brazil, where military units and greater educational opportunities have been concentrated. In 1901–02 the Northeast contributed 38 percent of students at the army's preparatory school in Realengo, whereas in 1982 it provided only 13 percent to the preparatory school in Campinas. In the same years, the Southeast supplied 40.4 percent and 77 percent, while the South gave 8.6 percent and 6.3 percent. Although São Paulo, according to Alfred Stepan and other observers, has not been noted for sending its young men into the officer corps, its contribution increased from 4.3 percent of students in 1901–02 to 33.5 percent in 1982. Regional origins of cadets at the AMAN were fairly consistent in the 1964–85 period. By far the largest contingent came from the state and city of Rio de Janeiro.

Although social theorists might be pleased with indications that the army is serving as a vehicle for social mobility, army leaders are concerned. Officers have remarked on the trend toward lower-class recruitment in the Training Center for Reserve Officers (Centro de Preparação de Oficiais da Reserva—CPOR) and the problems associated with such officers. In a 1986 interview, the former minister of army, General Leônidas Pires Gonçalves, observed that he did not want officers who would give only five or ten years to the army; he wanted individuals with a military vocation, who would stay for a full thirty-plus-year career. Many officers have expressed concern that those seeking to use the army to improve their status are not sufficiently dedicated to the institution. Indeed, some officers seek the earliest possible retirement in order to get a second job (second salary) to make ends meet.

Indigenous people in the Army

Guereiro de Selva (26673373446).jpg
Guereiro de Selva (26673363756).jpg
Indigenous soldiers of a Special Border Platoon.

The genesis of the current Army in the fight against the foreign invader, in the 17th century, counted on the decisive participation of Felipe Camarão, named by the Portuguese court as Captain-Mor among the native indigenous peoples of Brazil. Along with Francisco Barreto de Meneses, André Vidal de Negreiros, Henrique Dias and João Fernandes Vieira, he was one of the patriarchs of the Brazilian Army.

In that sense, in the early 20th century, Marshal Cândido Mariano Rondon, a descendant of the Bororó, Terena and Guará ethnic groups, served in the Army. A pioneer of the Brazilian West and Amazonian frontiers, Rondon was noted for his respect for the indigenous peoples found in his exploratory missions. He is the Patron of the Signals Corps. Today's Army counts a number of ethnic community personnel among its ranks, especially in the western borders and the tough jungles of the Amazon.

Women in the Army

Female soldier of the Brazilian Army in the 72nd Motorized Infantry Battalion. Combatente da Caatinga (26634111151).jpg
Female soldier of the Brazilian Army in the 72nd Motorized Infantry Battalion.

Women's participation in the Army is not without precedent. In 1823, Maria Quitéria de Jesus fought alongside other soldiers for Brazilian independence; during World War II (1939-1945), 73 Brazilian nurses served in various U.S. Army hospitals; and in 1992, the Brazilian Army Leadership Academy enrolled its first class of 49 women, admitting them into that institution's Auxiliary Officer Corps. Female service members were limited to support duties such as administration, health care, and teaching. The innovation is women's entry into combat career paths.

To begin a career with the army as officers, women must have completed a bachelor's degree in areas such as law, computer science, economics, or accounting. The competition is national in scope, and no applicant may be more than thirty-six years of age. Those accepted into the program study at the Army's School of Complementary Formation (former Army's School of Administration) in Salvador, beginning as first lieutenants (reserve). The School of Complementary Formation is also open to men. At the end of the one-year course, the graduate is promoted to first lieutenant in the permanent ranks. If starting a career in the enlisted ranks, any woman enlistee would be required to at least be a secondary school graduate.

Organization, formations and structure

Brazilian Army - CoOpTer 12,5.png
Structure of the Brazilian Army

High Command

Brazilian Army headquarters in Brasilia. QG-EB.jpg
Brazilian Army headquarters in Brasília.

Military Commands

The Army is structured into eight military commands. Each of the eight military commands is responsible for one or more military regions.

Military Regions

The Brazilian territory is further divided into twelve military regions. Each military region provides logistical support to operational units within its area of responsibility. Therefore, Military Regions are usually composed of units responsible for providing administration, logistics, transport, health and education. Military Regions are Division-sized units, commanded by Lieutenant Generals (Generais de Divisão). The current military regions are:

1st Army Division in Rio de Janeiro, 1943. Bandeira Nacional2 da FEB Cia C 1 DE.png
1st Army Division in Rio de Janeiro, 1943.
Troops of the 2nd Army Division in Sao Paulo state, 2016. Solenidade de passagem de cargo dos Comandantes da 2a Regiao Militar e da 2a Divisao de Exercito no QG do Comando Militar do Sudeste (CMSE) (24544135452).jpg
Troops of the 2nd Army Division in São Paulo state, 2016.
3rd Army Division soldiers in combat training in southern Brazil. Tropas em Rosario do Sul - RS (9919146984).jpg
3rd Army Division soldiers in combat training in southern Brazil.

Main units


The Brazilian Army currently has four army divisions:

  • 1st Army Division based in Rio de Janeiro and subordinated to the Eastern Military Command,
  • 2nd Army Division, based in São Paulo and subordinated to the Military Command of the Southeast,
  • 3rd Army Division, based in Santa Maria - RS and
  • 5th Army Division based in Curitiba - PR, the latter two being linked to the Southern Military Command.

The other military forces of the Brazilian Army are subordinated directly to the area military commands, not having a commanding division. In this case, the employment of these troops is coordinated by the operations coordinating center of the area military commands.


  • 1x Parachute Infantry Brigade, with:
    • 3x Parachute Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Parachute Cavalry Squadron.
  • 1x Special Operations Brigade, with:
  • 1x Light Infantry (Air Assault) (Airmobile) Brigade, with:
    • 3x Light Infantry Airborne Battalions
    • 1x Light Cavalry Airborne Regiment (Battalion sized).
  • 1x Light Infantry Brigade, with:
    • 3x Light Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Mechanized Cavalry (Wheeled) Regiment (Battalion size).
  • 1x Frontier Infantry (Wetlands Infantry) Brigade, with:
    • 3x Frontier Infantry Battalions.
  • 1x Armoured Cavalry Brigade, with:
    • 2x Tank Regiments (Battalions size)
    • 2x Armoured Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Mechanized Cavalry (Wheeled) Squadron.
  • 1x Armoured Infantry Brigade, with:
    • 2x Armoured Infantry Battalions
    • 2x Tank Regiments (Battalions size)
    • 1x Mechanized Cavalry (Wheeled) Squadron.
  • 4x Mechanized Cavalry (Wheeled) Brigades, each with:
    • 3x Mechanized Cavalry Regiments (Battalions size)
    • 1x Armoured Cavalry Regiment (Battalion size).
  • 6x Jungle Infantry Brigades, each with:
    • 3 – 4 Jungle Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Mechanized or Jungle Cavalry Squadron.
  • 5x Light Infantry (Motorized) Brigades, each with:
    • 3x Motorized Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Mechanized Cavalry Squadron.
  • 4x Mechanized Infantry (Wheeled) Brigades, each with:
    • 3x Mechanised Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Mechanized Cavalry Squadron.
  • 1x Mountain Infantry Light (Motorized) Brigades, each with:
    • 3x Mountain Infantry Battalions
    • 1x Mechanized Cavalry Squadron.
  • 4x Divisional Artillery Brigades, each with:
    • 3 – 5 Field or Rocket Artillery Battalions (Agrupements, in Brazilian Army).
  • 4x Construction Engineer Regiments, each one with:
    • 3x to 5x Construction Engineer Battalions
  • 1x Air Defence Artillery Brigade, with:
    • 5x Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion
  • 1x Army Aviation Command(Brigade), with:
    • 4x Army Aviation Battalions (Anti-tank, reconnaissance, multi-purpose, transport, utility).

Strategic Mobile Action Forces

12bdalv.png Airmobile Infantry Brigade

Airmobile infantry training.
Troops aeromobiles.

The 12th Aeromobile Brigade is a major elite unit of the Brazilian Army. Headquartered in Caçapava in São Paulo. Its operation area covers the whole country. It is under the 2nd Army Division / Southeastern Military Command, based in São Paulo.

It is organized, equipped and trained for rapid-response missions at any point of the country. They can move by air using business jets and civilian aircraft, but their primary means of transportation are the Brazilian Air Force's rotorcraft, from the Command Army Aviation, usually based near their barracks. By performing their main function, the airborne assault, the Airmobile Brigade constitutes an effective, permanently available instrument of strategic reach, being an integral unit of the Strategic Task Force (Força de Ação Rápida Estratégica) of the Brazilian Army. [53]

Bol avex.png Army Aviation Brigade

Apronto Operacional (14381158471).jpg
Panther armed assault helicopter in Brazilian Army.
Brazilian military helicopter underway, 2012.jpg
Brazilian army aviation Black Hawk in Amazon region.

The Army Aviation Command, also known as Ricardo Kirk Brigade, is a brigade of the Brazilian Army, located in Taubaté and linked to the Land Operations Command and the Southeastern Military Command. Its historical name is a reference to Captain Ricardo Kirk, pioneer of military aviation in Brazil, killed in battle in the Contestado War.

The task of the Brazilian Army Aviation Command is to provide organic airmobility and support the ground forces by providing tactical air support, close air support and reconnaissance. [53]

Brasao 11a Brigada de Infantaria Leve.jpg Law and Order Operations Brigade

Law and order troops. Chefe do EMCFA General Jose Carlos De Nardi visita a Forca de Pacificacao do Complexo da Mare (16660223918).jpg
Law and order troops.

The 11th Infantry Brigade is one of the brigades operating in the Brazilian Army. Its headquarters is located in Campinas, São Paulo.

This infantry brigade is specialized in operations in urban terrain, being able to act in cases of severe instability or danger to public order. The brigade is used in Brazil often in actions against organized crime and drug trafficking, especially in large urban centers.

It also has a Law Enforcement Operations Instruction Center and the Order is a School Subunit. Peculiar Employment Unit of the Brazilian Army in Law Enforcement and Order Operations and Military Operations in Urban Environments.

It is trained to operate both in case of riots and in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, when the local law enforcement agencies are unable to do so by themselves. Recently it has operated alongside other elite Army forces in the pacification of communities that were previously under control of drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. [53]

BRASAO DO CIGS.png Jungle Warfare Brigades

Selva (26723380872).jpg
Brazilian Army Soldier, jungle warfare.
Operacao Amazonia 2014 (14963681594).jpg
Jungle infantry in defensive formation.

The Jungle Warfare Training Centre – Centro de Instrução de Guerra na Selva (CIGS), also known as the Colonel Jorge Teixeira Centre, is a military organisation based in Manaus, intended to qualify military leaders of small groups, as wilderness warriors, fighters able to accomplish military nature missions in the most inhospitable areas of the Brazilian rainforest.

Courses are taught in jungle operations scenery in different categories – Senior Officers, Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Medical and Health Care Personnel, and small courses for the military, police forces and civilians. Its symbol is the jaguar.

Facial camouflage jungle warrior. Guereiro de Selva (26673369176).jpg
Facial camouflage jungle warrior.

The Jungle Warfare Training Center (CIGS) is structured as Department of Education, a Department of Doctrine and Research, a Student Division, a Department of Veterinary Medicine, a Department of Administration and a Support Company. [54]

Although officers and NCOs from all over Brazil can apply to take courses at CIGS, most of the troopers that support training are locals, natives from the area are that are mainly privates and corporals. Because they are adapted to the conditions of the life inside the forest, they are more capable of performing a vast array of activities, such as hunting, hiding and moving through the forest with ease. Many foreigners and Brazilian military personnel that underwent training at CIGS have described the impressive abilities shown by these soldiers during operations. Their experience and skills in jungle survival certainly help shaping the Brazilian Jungle Warfare Brigades into deadliest units of its kind in the world.

The Brigades also have experience in combat. Engaged in protecting the Northern borders of Brazil, the troops are constantly exposed to attacks from border countries guerrillas, drug dealers and criminals of all kinds. The Brazilian Army commonly acts along with other law enforcement organisations in order to fight not only the drugs trafficking, but also animals, weapons, people and several other illegal deeds.

Bdainfpqdt.gif Paratroopers Brigade

Brazilian paratroopers on exercise.
Tropas vigiam Alegrete - RS (9919275913).jpg
Brazilian Paratroopers soldiers.

The Paratroopers Brigade is a major elite unit of the Brazilian Army. Its headquarters is located in Vila Militar, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Subordinate to the Eastern Military Command, based in Rio de Janeiro, in conjunction with the Land Operations Command, based in Brasilia.

The brigade is one of the elite forces of the Brazilian Army prepared to act on within 48 hours anywhere in the country, is in the jungle, savanna, marsh and mountain, and remain without logistical support for up to 72 hours, being able to parachute jump quickly to the frontlines or behind enemy lines. After completion of the mission, handing territory to another conventional unit to maintain the position gained, according to the doctrine of the Brazilian Army training, usually a unit or a brigade of armoured Infantry will be responsible for replacing the Paratrooper Brigade field after the transfer of the territory to another unit of the Ground Force, the Paratrooper Brigade is then thrown back behind enemy lines once more to make way for the Allied troops.

The Brigade is a fundamental part of the Strategic Task Force (Força de Ação Rápida Estratégica), by being able to quickly operate in any part of the national territory in case of war or invasion.

Due to the deadly and dangerous nature of this brigades' missions, the Brazilian paratroopers have a unique ethos. For instance, while regular infantry troops use black boots and green berets, the paratroopers use brown boots and red berets. They consider themselves superior to the "Pé pretos" (black foots), which are the regular infantrymen. The Brazilian Army's motto, "Brasil acima de tudo!" (Brazil, above everything else) was originally the paratroopers warcry before it was popularized (nowadays it's a common greeting between the military to say this motto). The paratroopers are very proud of themselves, and they are always stand out when they are among other troops. [55]

Dist-Bda-Op-Esp.png Special Forces Brigade

Forcas especiais, Comandos (26108554503).jpg
The soldiers of psychological operations.
Militares desfilam na cerimonia de posse do general Vilela no Comando de Operacoes Terrestres (Coter). (7945391348).jpg
Parade of Special Forces Command in Brasilia.

The Special Operations Brigade is Brazil's special operations force. Although administratively assigned to the Plateau Military Command, the brigade's operations are under the direct control of the Land Operations Command. [56] The Special Forces were initially formed in 1957 as a parachute trained rescue unit, which specialized in conducting deep jungle rescues along the Amazon basin. After conducting its initial selection, a US Army Special Forces Mobile Training Team (MTT) conducted the unit's first training course. [57]

Nowadays, it is specialized in non conventional warfare, performing psychological operations and harassing bigger enemy units, such as Brigades and Divisions. Acting in smalls cells and detachments (usually no more than 20 men), the Special Forces act deep behind enemy lines, and are capable of fighting in extremely unfavorable situations.

Brazilian Special Force counter-terrorism unit Forcas especiais, Comandos (26712378835).jpg
Brazilian Special Force counter-terrorism unit

For its creation, the Army Command issued decrees organizing the core of the Brigade (Nu Bda Op Esp), reporting initially to the Brigade Parachute Infantry. Most of its subordinate organizations were stationed in the area of Camboatá (West Zone of Rio de Janeiro), where he was the 1st BFEsp, whose commander served, cumulatively, in the initial phase, the command of Nu Bda Op Esp and management of project deployment.

Its motto "any mission, in any place, at any time, by every way" tells all. Related Commandos troops, a battalion size of Special Operations Brigade has an anlogous motto, that is "The maximum confusion, death and destruction in the deep rear of the enemy".

Special command unit, elite troops to operate behind enemy lines. Forcas especiais, Comandos (26646206631).jpg
Special command unit, elite troops to operate behind enemy lines.

It is also capable of performing other types of missions, such as counter-terrorism, strategic scouting, finding and attacking high-value targets and stealing, extracting and evading. Due to the extremely high level of danger of those missions, this unit is composed of only a few members, who must have completed the Comandos and Paraquedista (Commandos and Paratroopers). They are highly specialized and ready to operate anywhere in the world in less than 45 hours. Because of this, they are recognized as one of the most prestigious units in the Brazilian Army.

The unit's baptism of fire took place in the 1970s during operations against the force of the Araguaia Guerrilla, when the hitherto Detachment Special Forces, with their effective command and special forces, was the only unit that fought almost uninterruptedly throughout the campaign, whether in combat actions, or espionage, without the engagement of the controls and special forces of the army, the defeat of the guerrillas would have been more difficult, since such military are experts in counter-guerrilla of the Brazilian Army.

In 1991, guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, entered the Brazilian territory and attacked a small Brazilian Army border contingent, the response was immediate, and the then Special Forces Battalion held in conjunction with other units, retaliation operation, Operation Traira, and the result was 12 dead guerrillas, captured numerous, most of the weapons and equipment recovered.

Recently under the aegis of the United Nations, the Special Operations Brigade played a decisive role in combating the paramilitary groups that plagued the Haitian territory and caused great political instability in the country, and the 1st Special Forces Battalion, 1st Command Action Battalion and the 1st Psychological operations Battalion the only army units that send military in all contingent to MINUSTAH since the beginning of the mission, and special operations performed by these units were fundamental to the pacification of Port-au-Prince. [58] [ better source needed ]

4bdaimz.png Mountain Operations Brigade

Mountain light infantry Montanha (6124948247).jpg
Mountain light infantry
Mountain soldiers. EB (14981932930).jpg
Mountain soldiers.

It's a specialized infantry brigade of the Brazilian Army. Its headquarters is located in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais. Its catchment area covers the state of Minas Gerais and Petropolis. It is administered by the 1st Army Division / Eastern Military Command, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro.

4th Mountain Infantry Brigade is a unit of the Brazilian Army, specializing in mountain combat operation, improving and developing special techniques of mountain operations and using equipment and weapons specific to this theater of operations, has established itself over the years as an elite troop, and even multiplying their special techniques to other Brazilian military units, which will attend their courses and internships, assists the training of the units members of the Strategic Task Force (Força de Ação Rápida Estratégica)of the Brazilian Army.

During World War II the Brazilian infantry had major highlight in the conquest of the town of Montese situated in mountainous terrain and heavily defended by the Germans as the last bastion stop the advancing allied troops toward the Po Valley. On April 14, 1945, the massive Montese became the scene of the most arduous and bloody battle of Brazilian arms in Italy, in the words of their own Commander Brazilian Expeditionary Force Marechal Mascarenhas de Morais. Having eleven main effort of the attack as fighting in dense minefields and under heavy fire from German machine guns, they were finally able to conquer Montese.

3bdaimz.png Fast Motorized Operations Brigade

Apronto Operacional (14197893898).jpg
Apronto Operacional (14383520374).jpg
Large infantry Brazilian Army 3rd Brigade in Brasilia, 2014.

The 3rd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, also known as the Viscount of Porto Seguro's Own Brigade, is one of the Brigades of the Brazilian Army. Its headquarters is located in Crystal, in Goiás State. It is subject to the Planalto Military Command, with headquarters in Brasilia. Its subordinate military organizations are located in the Federal District and the states of Goiás, Tocantins and Minas Gerais region known as Triangulo Mineiro. Its historic name is a tribute to the Viscount of Porto Seguro, Francisco Adolfo Varnhagem.

The 3rd Brigade is part of the strategic reserve of the Brazilian Army, but should be able to be employed at any time and in any part of Brazil. Being a mechanized formation, it can be deployed fast enough anywhere nationwide either for conventional operations or to reinforce the military police in keeping public order, and can still perform promptly any motorized, airmobile or airborne action.

Specialized Battalions and Regiments

1st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Battalion

Eixo de defesa quimica, biologica, radiologico e nuclear (14464764461).jpg
Exercicio Integrado de respostas em desastres naturais e antropogenicos (23386340612).jpg
Troops of the Brazilian Army prepared for biological warfare.

The 1st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defesne Battalion, raised in 2012 by the redesignation of the Army CBRN Defense Company, is the only one of its kind in the Brazilian Army, and its members are trained for combat in chemical, biological and nuclear warfare (as the name suggests), mainly in control and decontamination of weapons, local and military equipment.

The battalion's origin dates back to 1953, when the Chemical Warfare Company, originally subject to the Reverse Split Units-School (RSUS) was set up on the premises of the Special Education School (SES)

On December 31, 1987, the Chemical Warfare School was extinguished and, in its place, the CBRN Company was created, based in the city of Rio de Janeiro and subordinated to the Board of Specialization and Extension.

17bfron.jpg 17th Border Battalion (Swamp Operations )

Brazilian soldiers, 2012.jpg
Guereiro de Selva (26673372626).jpg
Infantry border Pantanal.

The 17th BB is an elite unit of the Brazilian Army, specializing in swamp operations that is located in the city of Corumbá, state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Its main missions, ensuring the western border of Brazil, the development and improvement of technical and operational doctrines and special combat specific swampy environment (present in many places in the world) and also multiply its technical operations in wetland units members Strategic Task Force (Força de Ação Rápida Estratégica)of the Brazilian Army, but specifically, offering a course of Wetland Operations (Operações no Pantanal) to the Special Operations Brigade, Parachute Infantry Brigade and the 12th Light Infantry Brigade (airborne), units within the Strategic Task Force, and also military from other regions, particularly the Western Military Command, which is responsible for the protection of the western border of the Brazilian territory. Besides that, there are also exchanges of techniques and experiences with the Brazilian Marines, which also apply to the Wetland Operations course and are remarkably skilled in amphibious operations.

Simbolo Caatinga.jpg 72nd Motorized Infantry Battalion (Caatinga/Savanna Operations)

Caatinga-15 (29657384735).jpg
Combatente da Caatinga (26094366194).jpg
Fighters of Caatinga.

The 72nd MIB is an elite unit of the Brazilian Army based in Petrolina, being the only unit of the Brazilian Army to train the warfighter to the operating environment of Caatinga and Savanna.

Has a Caatinga Operations Instructions Center, covering an area of approximately 28,000 km².

The facilities of the Caatinga Operations Instructions Center are comprised in an area which belongs to the Ministry of Defence, named the Field Instruction Iron Tank Farm, responsible for the formation of the Caatinga battle combatant in this environment. The vegetation is aggressive and thorny, the sun is very harsh for most of the daytime and water is sparse. The conditions of this area are very difficult to withstand and soldiers who finish this course are acknowledged as Caatinga Warriors of the Brazilian Army, as described by the Brazilian Army in its website(in Portuguese). [59]

Bgp - 2.png Presidential Guard

Presidential Guard Battalion during a flag ceremony at the Plaza of the Three Powers Troca da bandeira na Praca dos Tres Poderes, 5 de agosto de 2007.jpg
Presidential Guard Battalion during a flag ceremony at the Plaza of the Three Powers

The Presidential Guard Battalion is a unit of the Brazilian Army and honor guard to the President of Brazil. Two other units, the 1st Guards Cavalry Regiment and the Cayenne Battery, are also part of the presidential honor guard unit, and they all report to Army HQ.

The PGB had its origins in the Emperor's Battalion, organized in 1823 during the peace campaigns that followed the Declaration of Independence as the guards unit for the Imperial Family of Brazil, and as such wears its 19th-century uniforms. Disbanded in 1827, it was reformed in 1933.

1st Guards Cavalry Regiment. Cavalaria (28698695514).jpg
1st Guards Cavalry Regiment.

The 1st Guards Cavalry Regiment also known as the "Dragões da Independência" (Independence Dragoons), is the squadron-sized horse guards regiment of the Army. The name was given in 1927 and refers to the fact that a detachment of dragoons escorted the Prince Royal of Portugal, Pedro VI, at the time when he declared Brazilian independence from Portugal, on September 7, 1822. The Independence Dragoons wear 19th century uniforms similar to those of the earlier Imperial Honor Guard, which are used as the regimental full dress uniform since 1927. The uniform was designed by Debret, in white and red, with plumed bronze helmets. The colors and pattern were influenced by the Austrian dragoons of the period, as the Brazilian Empress Consort was also an Austrian Archduchess. The color of the plumes varies according to rank. The Independence Dragoons are armed with lances and sabres, the latter only for the officers and the colour guard.

Presidential Guard Battalion anti-riot suit. Cerimonia de comemoracao dos 71 anos da Tomada de Monte Castelo (25087385016).jpg
Presidential Guard Battalion anti-riot suit.

The regiment was established in 1808 by the Prince Regent and future king of Portugal, John VI, with the duty of protecting the Portuguese royal family, which had sought refuge in Brazil during the Napoleonic wars. However dragoons had existed in Portugal since at least the early 18th century and, in 1719, units of this type of cavalry were sent to Brazil, initially to escort shipments of gold and diamonds and to guard the Viceroy who resided in Rio de Janeiro (1st Cavalry Regiment – Vice-Roy's Horse Guard Squadron). Later, they were also sent to the south to serve against the Spanish during frontier clashes. After the proclamation of Brazilian independence, the title of the regiment was changed to that of the Imperial Honor Guard, with the role of protecting the Imperial Family. The guard was later disbanded by Emperor Pedro II and would be recreated only later in the republican era, this time as the horse guards unit mandated to defend and protect the President of Brazil and his First Family, the Vice President of Brazil and all offices of the national government. At the time of the Republic proclamation in 1889, horse #6 of the Imperial Honor Guard was ridden by the officer making the declaration, Second Lieutenant Eduardo José Barbosa, with the permission of Field Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca. This is commemorated by the custom under which the horse having this number is used only by the commander of the modern regiment, usually a superior officer with the rank of a lieutenant colonel.

The regiment maintains its own band, which also serves as the official presidential band.

14ciape.png Army Police Battalions and Platoons

Chefe do EMCFA General Jose Carlos De Nardi visita a Forca de Pacificacao do Complexo da Mare (16227847773).jpg
Army Police soldiers at the Complexo da Maré pacification.
Comando Militar do Nordeste (CMNE) sob nova direcao (14167662998).jpg
Army Police riot control platoon.

See article: Army Police (Brazil)

The Army Police Branch is composed of specialized units of the Brazilian Army Infantry, who develop and perform the mission of military police along the headquarters of major commands and major units of Land Force garrisons.

As operating units of the Army Police, there are several battalions, companies and platoons, like riot control, K-9, motorcyclists and regular troops. Military Police of the Brazilian Army are identified by the use of black armband with the letters "PE" in white (or white armband with red letters).

Commonly, the term "Military Police" is used to refer to the State Military Police Forces.

Current Equipment

In addition the Brazilian Army Aviation Command operates 90 helicopters.

Current Equipment of the Brazilian Army

Ranks, uniforms, and insignia

The senior-most commissioned rank in the Brazilian Army is the "General de Exército" (English: Army General ), a "four-star" general. In times of war, or in exceptional circumstances, a fifth star may be worn by the highest-ranking officer in the army, who is then promoted to "Marechal", (English: Marshal of the Army ). Brazilian Army officers wear rank insignia on shoulder boards and the army has ten officer ranks, also known as "grades", excluding that of an officer candidate.

Brasil (7952311794).jpg
Camouflage uniform standard Brazilian army.
Camo EB.jpg
Current camouflage pattern.

Brazilian Army officer ranks from second lieutenant to colonel equate directly with counterparts in the United States Army, but thereafter the systems diverge. A Brazilian "General de Brigada" (English: brigade general ) wears two stars, with duties equivalent to a U.S. Army major general, the next higher rank, "General de Divisão" (English: divisional general ), equivalent to an American lieutenant general, wears three; their United States counterparts have only two and three stars, respectively. The next higher rank, designated by four stars, is "General de Exército" (English: Army General). The Marshal wears five stars, but that rank is rarely attained on active duty. This rank is corresponds to an American general of the army. The last Marshal of Brazilian Army was Waldemar Levy Cardoso, that died in 2009, with 108 years old.

Brazil's army has strict up-or-out retirement rules, which were developed in the mid-1960s by President Castelo Branco. The internal command structure determines all promotions through the rank of colonel. The president is involved in the promotions to general and chooses one candidate from a list of three names presented to him by the High Command. Once passed over at the Presidential Promotion Board, the non-promotable colonel must retire. All colonels must retire at age fifty-nine and all four-star generals must retire at age sixty-six, or after twelve years as general.

Army sergeant cap. Quepe do 5A1 de Sargento do Exercito Brasileiro.png
Army sergeant cap.

Despite the up-or-out system, under President José Sarney the army became top-heavy as generals began to occupy many positions that previously had been reserved for colonels. In 1991 there were fifteen four-stars, forty three-stars, and 110 two-stars generals. The figure for four-stars generals did not include four who were Ministers in the Superior Military Court (Superior Tribunal Militar—STM). Thus, in the mid-1990s the army sought to reduce the number of active-duty generals. In 2014, there are fifteen four-stars, forty five three-stars, and eighty nine two-stars generals in active service.

The highest Brazilian Army enlisted rank is "Sub Tenente", which is the equivalent of an American command sergeant major and sergeant major ranks. The other NCOs are Primeiro Sargento equivalent of an American first sergeant or master sergeant, "Segundo Sargento" (English: second sergeant) equivalent to a sergeant first class and staff sergeant, Terceiro Sargento equivalent to sergeant. Then there is the Cabo corporal with the same duties as a sergeant in a regular Army Infantry Platoon, acting as the Squad Leader. The Brazilian Army has no corresponding equivalent to the U.S. Army's specialist rank. The "Soldado" is equivalent to a private first class or to a private depending on the length of service time.

Historical Equipment


Armoured vehicle


Historical Vehicles

See also


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Below is an estimated list of the major units deployed within the Multi-National Force - Iraq and other United States military units that were operating in Iraq under the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) in 2009, during the Iraq War.

Military history of Brazil

The military history of Brazil comprises centuries of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Brazil, and the role of the Brazilian Armed Forces in conflicts and peacekeeping worldwide. For several hundreds of years, the area was the site of intertribal wars of indigenous peoples. Beginning in the 16th century, the arrival of Portuguese explorers led to conflicts with the aboriginal peoples; a notable example being the revolt of the Tamoio Confederation. Sporadic revolts of African slaves also marked the colonial period, with a notable rebellion led by Zumbi dos Palmares. Conflicts were encountered with other European nations as well – two notable examples being the France Antarctique affair, and a conflict with the Netherlands in the early 17th century over control of much of the Northeast. Although Portugal retained its possessions during conflicts with other nations, it lost control of the colony after the Brazilian war of Independence, which led to the establishment of the Empire of Brazil.

The Regimento de Paraquedistas, based in Tancos, Portugal, is a unit of the Portuguese Army and serves as the instruction center for recruitment and training of the Portuguese paratroopers. This unit includes an entire battalion, acting as support and reserve for Airborne units which contains for example, military war dogs and Airborne Pathfinders and an instruction battalion responsible for the forming of new paratroopers.

This is the order of battle for the Battle of Timor (1942–43) which occurred on the island of Timor, in the Pacific theatre of World War II. It involved forces from the Empire of Japan—which invaded on February 20, 1942—on one side and Allied personnel, predominantly from Australia and the Netherlands, on the other. Many Timorese civilians and some Portuguese colonists fought with the Allies as criados (guerrillas), or provided food, shelter and other assistance.

The Eastern Military Command is one of eight Military Commands of the Brazilian Army. The Eastern Military Command is responsible for the defence of the states Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. A Parachutist Brigade and two Infantry Brigades are assigned to the 1st Army Division, which is the CMLs manoeuvre unit. Two Military Regional Commands are subordinated to the CML for administrative purposes.

José Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque Brazilian military

José Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque was a military officer, who became a Marshal in the Brazilian Army. Son of Cândido Albuquerque and Maria Albuquerque, he was the nephew of Epitácio Pessoa, and brother of João Pessoa, the Governor of Northern State of Paraiba. He was one of the officers sent on a preparatory mission to Europe by the Brazilian Army during the World War I against the Central Powers. In his subsequent career he had a strong influence on the reform and update of some Brazilian Army branches and institutions. To honor him, the 12th Cavalry Regiment of the Brazilian Army adopted his name.

Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State police in Brazil

The Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State (PMERJ) like other military polices in Brazil is a reserve and ancillary force of the Brazilian Army, and part of the System of Public Security and Brazilian Social Protection. Its members are called "State Military" person.

Carlos Frederico Lecor, Viscount of Laguna Brazilian noble and Portuguese military commander

Carlos Frederico Lecor was a Portuguese general and politician. He was the first Baron of Laguna, in Portugal, and later ascended to Viscount of Laguna, in Brazil.

José Luís Mena Barreto (1817–79) Brazilian military leader

José Luís Mena Barreto was an army officer, politician and monarchist of the Empire of Brazil. He came from a wealthy family with a tradition of military service. José Luís entered the army in 1836, during the Ragamuffin War, a secessionist rebellion. The conflict lasted for almost ten years, and he fought in several military engagements at that time.

Portuguese Paratroopers

The Portuguese Paratroopers are an elite infantry assault force, representing the bulk of the airborne forces of Portugal. They were created in 1956 as part of the Portuguese Air Force, being transferred to the Portuguese Army in 1993. Presently, most of the Paratroopers are part of the Portuguese Rapid Reaction Brigade which comprises all 3 special forces troops.

The Regimento de Paraquedistas, based in Tancos, Portugal, is a unit of the Portuguese Army and serves as the instruction center for recruitment and training of the Portuguese paratroopers. This unit includes an entire battalion, acting as support and reserve for Airborne units which contains for example, military war dogs and Airborne Pathfinders and an instruction battalion responsible for the forming of new paratroopers.


  1. 1 2 Decree 9.249, December 26 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 International Institute for Strategic Studies (3 Feb 2014). The Military Balance 2014. London: Routledge. pp. 371–375. ISBN   9781857437225.
  3. Donato, 1996. Sumário (Summary sections)
  4. Teixeira, 2013. Pages 83 to 110, Section "Brazil's 'Regional Imperialism' in the Cold War"
  5. Dávila, 2010. Chapters 5, 7 & 8.
  6. Guerra, 2012. VI, seções "A Operação Condor no Brasil" e "A explosão da Rádio Nacional de Angola" (VI, sections "Operation Condor in Brazil" and "The explosion of the Angola's National Radio")
  7. Kenkel, 2013. Page 76
  8. Smallman, 2002. Introduction.
  9. Skidmore, 1967. P.3 "The revolutions of the elite".
  10. Castro, 2002. Pages 71 to 76.
  11. Christiane Mello, 2009.
  12. Castro, 2002. Pages 71 to 76.
  13. Christiane Mello, 2009.
  14. Castro, 2002. Pages 71 to 76.
  15. Christiane Mello, 2009.
  16. Hendrik, 2001. Introduction & Chapter 5.
  17. Donato, 1996. Pages 105–106.
  18. Faoro, 1957. Chapters VIII & IX
  19. Lei nº 602, de 19/09/1850 - Dá nova organisação á Guarda Nacional do Imperio. [...] Art. 6º A Guarda Nacional será subordinada ao Ministro da Justiça, e aos Presidentes de Provincia.
  20. Kraay, 2004. Intro
  21. Donato, 1996. Pages 129–132.
  22. Salles (2003), p.38
  23. Smallman, 2002. Chapter 1 "Officers versus Politicians, 1889–1930".
  24. Ibidem, Smallman 2002.
  25. Ibidem, Smallman 2002.
  26. Donato, 1996. P.153
  27. McCann, 2004. P.181, 2nd §.
  28. Smallman, 2002. Chapters 2 & 3.
  29. McCann, 2004. Chapters 7 to 11.
  30. Skidmore, 1967. Chapters I & II.
  31. Lochery, 2014. Parts 3 to 5.
  32. Skidmore, 1967. Chapters II to V.
  33. Skidmore, 1967. Chapters VI to VIII.
  34. Skidmore, 1988. Chapters II to V.
  35. Gaspari, 2002. "The Armed Illusions" Vol. II.
  36. Ibidem Teixeira, 2013.
  37. Ibidem Guerra, 2012.
  38. Ibidem Dávila, 2010.
  39. Skidmore, 1988. Chapter VI.
  40. Skidmore, 1988. Chapter VII.
  41. Gaspari, 2016. Chapter I
  44. "Brasil destina 60% das suas Forças Armadas na luta contra um mosquito". El País. 2016-02-13.
  45. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2016-07-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  51. Os pés de barro de um gigante Archived 2010-08-25 at the Wayback Machine Revista Época. Retrieved on 2009-02-01. (in Portuguese)
  53. 1 2 3
  54. Jungle Warfare Training Center Archived 2007-06-04 at the Wayback Machine Brazilian Army, accessed on May 8, 2008. (in Portuguese)
  56. Land Operations Command Brazilian Army, accessed on May 8, 2008. (in Portuguese)
  57. Special Operations Brigade Archived September 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Brazilian Army, accessed on May 8, 2008. (in Portuguese)
  58. Brazilian Special Operations Command
  59. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-09-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)