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Government sanctions the Law of New Defense

Government sanctions the Law of New Defense

Last Wednesday, August 25, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sanctioned the Law that structures the New Defense, with the strengthening of the Ministry of Defense (MD), created in 1999.
According to the MD, the Law, result of the bill 10/2010, is the principal act resultant of the National Strategy of Defense, of December of 2008, and it opens space for the restructuring of the Defense and the execution of new tasks and obligations, specially in the coordination of the Armed Forces and in the integration of the area of defense with the project of national development.
For Lula, the restructuring of the Defense is a message to the world: “We are showing that we want to be a more serious country, that we want to be a country with more self-esteem, a country with more self-respect and a country that has in its Armed Forces the guarantee of this sustainability and confidence that we need in our international relations and in the relations between states”.
The Minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, emphasized that the New Defense contemplates what the president said while approving the National Strategy of Defense: “Brazil will be able of saying “yes” when it must to say “yes”, when it wants to say “yes”, and when it needs to say “yes”. But Brazil also will be able of saying “no” when it needs to say “no”, to anyone and to any State, in the affirmation of the Brazilian interests and in the interests of its sovereignty”.
He acknowledged the effort of the Commanders of the Navy, Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto; of the Army, General Enzo Martins Peri; and of the Air Force, Brigadier Juniti Saito, for the support in the definition of the new structure.
The alteration of the Complementary Law 97, according to Jobim, inserts the Ministry of Defense in the chain of command of the Forces. “Before, the Minister was minor, as administrative chief”, he explained.
One of the most immediate changes will be the creation of the Joint General-Staff of the Armed Forces (EMCFA), being occupied by a general officer of the highest rank (four-star) of the active service or of the reserve service.
If he is of the active service, he will automatically switch to the reserve after the nomination, as it already occurs with the Force commanders. For the job, it was nominated the Army General José Carlo De Nardi, who was Military Commander of the South region, up to that time.
The Chief of the EMCFA is indicated by the Minister of Defense and nominated by the President of the Republic, the same way it happens with the Commanders. He will have the same hierarchical level of the commanders of the Forces and supremacy over all other soldiers of any Force, except over the Forces’ commanders.
In the evaluation of the Minister of Defense, the creation of the Joint General-Staff of the Armed Forces alters the doctrine of combined actions that is in force.
“It is very clear that the employment will be responsibility of the Chief of the Joint General-Staff of the Armed Forces. And the preparation will be responsibility of the commanders of the Forces. That’s why the Chief of the General-Staff of the Armed Forces has the same hierarchy and the same line of priority of the commanders of Forces”, he affirmed.
The Minister of Defense, besides being responsible for indicating the Commanders of Force for the decision of the President, also will choose freely his secretaries, including the military ones. Up to that time, the Forces themselves indicated the soldiers who should occupy military secretariats in the Defense.
For the ministry of Defense, the alteration of the doctrine and the creation of the Joint General-Staff will allow an integrated acting of the Armed Forces.
Today, in joint military services, they act under a “combined command” and, with the creation of the EMCFA, they will start to act under a “joint command”, which can be of another Force.
The Bill also brings to the ministry of Defense the formulation of the budgetary proposal of the Armed Forces, and the definition of policies and directives of products of defense, including equipments, ammunitions and uniform.
The purchases will keep being made by the Armed Forces.
The budgetary proposal of the Forces will be prepared together with the Ministry of Defense, which will consolidate it, obeying the priorities established in the National Strategy of Defense, explained in the Law of Budgetary Directives.
Up to that time, the budgets were done separately by the Forces and the Ministry of Defense merely compatibilized and sent them to the Ministry of Planning.
The new Law also makes easy the patrol of frontiers, while extending to the Navy and to the Air Force the same power that the Army already had: of doing patrol, searches and prison in the act, among others.
This power had been granted to the Army in 2004, when there was a first change in the Complementary Law 97.
Another alteration done in the same year gave to the Air Force power of patrol in the entire Brazilian air space. But in ground, in the sea and in the inner waters, the Navy and the FAB were still prevented from patrolling border crimes.
The Armed Forces will only act in a complementary way or articulated with the police offices, without substituting them in the frontiers. The inquiry will remain responsability of the police.
According to the new Law, the acts practiced by soldiers in the missions’ fulfillment in subsidiary operations will be judged by the Military Justice.
This change gives legal security to the subsidiary operations and to the soldiers who act in them.
The previous law gave rise to interpretations that were different from the ones of the judges.

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