The 2008 National Defence Strategy reinforced the importance of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO) to the Brazilian Armed Forces. In 2014, the Brazilian Armed Forces celebrated 10 years of participation and leadership in the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti – MINUSTAH.
The Brazilian contribution to this mission is considered paradigmatic in many aspects, both for the model of UN peacekeeping operations and for the Brazilian Armed Forces and diplomatic corps. Brazil has participated actively in UNPKO since 1947, either with troops, commanders, police personnel, or military observers.
Since the engagement in Haiti, however, the international and national repercussions of this particular example of Brazilian military leadership in a complex UN peacekeeping mission have been remarkable. Both in the public sphere and in academia this mission provoked many questions ranging from the changing global status of Brazil, including the role of this engagement for Brazilian foreign policy, to implications for internal security issues, Brazilian civil-military relations, South-South approaches to stabilisation, and more.
Brazil is also leading two other UN peacekeeping missions: the MONUSCO, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first PKO to apply the concept of an Intervention Brigade; and the Naval Force – also the first of its kind in a PKO context – UNIFIL, in Lebanon.
Finally, in October 2014, the General Secretary of the UN established a High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and invited the Brazilian Lieut. Gen. Floriano Peixoto Vieira Neto, former MINUSTAH commander, as a member of this panel, acknowledging the importance of Brazil in the global context of PKO.
Although the defence industry only represents a small part of total industrial employment, it has strong growth prospects due to several strategic projects which have been planned in order to meet the demands of the armed forces over the next twenty years.
These projects are brought together under the Defence Equipment and Articulation Plan (PAED), which emerged as a direct result of the NDS. With regards to restructuring the national defence industry, the NDS proposes that independent technological know-how be increased and then applied to the development of products to be used by the armed forces.
The intention is that Brazil’s own defence industry should meet a greater proportion of the armed forces’ needs, reducing dependence on external suppliers.