Brazilian Forces Seek Increased Defense Budget
2013-11-11 The Brazilian Armed Forces have requested an increase in the 2014 budget.
The leadership of the Brazilian forces are concerned that priority programs are at risk unless the budget is enhanced.
Commanders of the Air Force, the Army and the Navy asked on Thursday (7) the members of the Committees on External Relations and National Defense at the Senate and at the Chamber of Deputies to support amendments that would allow the continuity of their strategic programs. They want to include in the 2014 Union Budget the resources considered necessary to the development of their main projects.
In his presentation to deputies and senators, the secretary-general of the Ministry of Defense, Ari Matos Cardoso, said that the forecast for the total amount of the 2014 budget for the ministry is of R$ 72.8 billion, what represents 4.2% of the total budget. Defense is in the fourth position in the list of allocation of resources, after Social Security, Health and Education. Once the expenses with the staff are excluded, however, the capital grant goes down to R$ 19.6 billion, that is 1.8% of the budget. And, from the total amount destined to Defense, only 11.6% goes to new investments.
The representatives of each force highlighted the difference between their needs and the values reckoned in the budget. On a technical note sent to the Committee on External Relations and National Defense at the Senate, they informed that more than R$ 13.6 billion are missing in the budgetary proposal in order to assure the three forces of “the minimum necessary” in 2014.
Considering the initial goals of the military commands, the need of resources is even greater. The Navy might count next year on R$ 5.5 billion, according to the budgetary bill. It requested, however, R$ 12 billion. The Army asked for R$ 21.1 billion for 2014, but it might only get R$ 5.8 billion, according to the bill. The Air Force has asked R$ 8.8 billion and will get R$ 4.8 billion, according to the budgetary bill.
“Lack of priority”
The financial difficulties of the three Forces made the chairman of the Committee on External Relations at the Senate, senator Ricardo Ferraço (PMDB-ES), state that the resources forecast in the budgetary bill are “below the basic needs” of the military. He advocated the increase of expenses with Defense in 0.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) along the next 10 years, going up from 1.5% to 2% of the GDP.
“Projects of great importance to the future of the country are at risk of not going forward due to the chronic postponing of resources that seems to characterize lack of priority. The military budgets are the first to be cut and projects that took years and decades of planning lack investments,” said Ferraço, who co-chaired the meeting together with deputy Nelson Pellegrino (PT-BA), chairman of the Committee on External Relations at the Chamber of Deputies.
The commander of the Navy, Julio Soares de Moura Neto, praised the inclusion of priority projects of the force in the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC, in Portuguese). However, he required an increase of R$ 550 million to the Submarine Developing Program (Prosub, in Portuguese) that will make it possible for Brazil to count on nuclear-powered submarines. He also stated that the Navy needs 27 patrol boats to have a permanent monitoring of the three most important oil basins of the continental platform.
The Army also asked for support for the three programs included in PAC: the Border Management System, the missile Astros 2020, considering it “a defense product with high capacity of dissuasion” and the Guarani armored. The commander of the Force, general Enzo Martins Peri, agreed with the need of technological development cited during a public hearing by senator Luis Henrique (PMDB-SC), who mentioned the use by the civil industry, at first in the United States and then also in Brazil, of knowledge developed by the military.
“The technological hiatus exists and it is growing. The allocation of resources for strategic projects might make it possible to shorten this hiatus. There is no other way. The technological development starts in meeting the defense needs,” Peri stated.
The commander of the Air Force, Juniti Saito, listed among the priorities of the Force the development of the military transport aircraft KC 390, whose first prototype might fly by the end of 2014. He asked the parliamentarians the presentation of amendments that would ensure more than R$ 130 million, for next year, to this program, which he considers “very important to the Brazilian industry.”