Enhancing US-Brazil Relations Through Cyber-Infrastructure


His administration have not prioritized cyber strategy as a top political priority since their inauguration in January 2023. To date, no single institution or senior official in the administration has been instrumental in the advancement of a comprehensive cyber strategy. The administration appears to have established a pattern of relative continuity with its predecessors. The administration is unlikely to attempt to contest the substantial role of the country's military in cyber defense, as its approach to cyber diplomacy remains consistent with Brazil's established approach.

In general, it is anticipated that Brazil will make sluggish progress in enhancing its cyber strategy. In April, the Lula administration achieved its one hundredth day in office, and it is currently more than halfway through its first year. Consequently, it is still in the relatively early stages of governance.One In May, the administration released an ambitious consultation paper to encourage discussion regarding the reform of domestic cybersecurity governance, despite the fact that it does not appear to prioritize a broader cyber strategy politically.Two This blueprint requires additional refinement; however, the administration's dedication will be truly assessed by its approach to obtaining congressional and broader approval, and, if it succeeds, the allocation of adequate resources and political support to the blueprint. Countering online disinformation and extremism is of greater political importance to the administration. This is anticipated to be a productive topic for bilateral engagement, as it will be a domestic and foreign policy priority.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Brazil's Cyber Strategy, Politics, and the Armed Forces In the 2000s, Brazil, like numerous other nations, initiated the development of components of a national cyber defense strategy. Cyberspace was designated as one of three strategic priorities in the 2008 National Defence Strategy, in addition to nuclear and space. The institutional development of cyber defense occurred in the early 2010s, culminating in the establishment of the first national cyber defense doctrine in 2014 and a joint operational command in 2016. These developments transpired during the presidency of Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT). The prospect of cyber attacks against the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, both of which were hosted by Brazil, motivated them.

These developments should not be perceived as a deliberate political prioritization of the military aspects of cyber strategy by the Workers' Party at the expense of the civilian aspects. They rather reflect the more general fact that defense investment increased during Lula's first two mandates and that, similar to other nations over the past fifteen years, the Brazilian military began to intensify cyber defense structural reforms and capability development.

The Function of the Armed Forces in Cyber Defense

Brazil's cyber defense capabilities are generally regarded as among the best in Latin America, despite the fact that they are not as sophisticated or well-organized as those of many Western states or its neighbor, Chile. This is consistent with Brazil's status as a prominent regional actor.Four Brazil has utilized its expertise in a collaborative manner by offering cyber defense assistance to neighboring states during significant regional events. Nevertheless, the administration of former president Jair Bolsonaro did not prioritize regional leadership. Furthermore, Brazil's relative strength in comparison to its neighboring states is contradicted by the fact that it encounters substantial obstacles in confronting cyber threats, particularly cyber crime. Threats have increased in the past few years, transitioning from cyber offenses to cyber attacks on critical national infrastructure. For instance, the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice was the victim of a significant ransomware attack in 2020, and the COVID-19 pass app Conect SUS was the target of a cyber attack in 2021.

The Brazilian institutions that are responsible for governing a national cyber defense strategy are immature, which is a significant shortcoming that these incidents have underscored.7 Its cybersecurity and cyber defense initiatives are also lacking in complementarity and clarity. This prompts inquiries regarding the role of the Armed Forces in Brazil's cyber strategy. The executive has faced a persistent challenge in managing civil-military relations since Brazil transitioned to democracy in the aftermath of the 1964–1985 military regime. The military retains substantial influence in the governance of national defense, despite the fact that the president is granted "supreme authority" over the Armed Forces by Article 142 of Brazil's constitution08. This influence continues to exist in spite of the establishment of a civilian Defense Ministry in 1999, which succeeded the single-service ministries. Consequently, the military occupies a paramount position in the defense establishment, including in the context of the nation's cyber defense strategy, and is granted entrenched privileges in comparison to civilians.Nine

This has been demonstrated in numerous episodes over the past five years. On the eve of a Supreme Court decision that ultimately exhausted Lula's appeals against his criminal conviction, General Eduardo Villas Boas, the then commander of the Brazilian Army, tweeted remarks that were widely perceived as hostile to Lula.ten Before the 2022 presidential election, there was a lot of rumor about the possibility of the Armed Forces being involved in an attempt to hijack the election and prevent Lula from assuming office.eleven Pro-Bolsonaro protesters' invasion and vandalism of government buildings, as well as the military's response to the political disturbance in Brasília on January 8, 2023, have also been the subject of public criticism. Lula replaced the commander of the Brazilian Army in the aftermath of the unrest in Brasília, a move that was widely perceived as an attempt to publicly reassert his authority over the military.

Twelve During the initial half of 2023

The customary sequence of retirements, promotions, and transfers was initiated by the appointment of a new army chief, General Tomás Ribeiro Paiva. The current indications suggest that these senior personnel decisions were in accordance with the army's natural order of promotion, rather than a more politicized clear out.thirteen Tomás's initial reports suggest that his objective is to enhance the army's reputation as a "nonpartisan" and "apolitical" organization.Fourteen Although it is uncertain whether the administration will be able to enact legislation that will restrict the political activities of active-duty personnel, it is evident that the Armed Forces' leadership is collectively eager to resolve this potential conflict with Lula.Fifteen In this context, it is exceedingly challenging to envision cyber strategy as a source of disagreement between the presidency and the Armed Forces.


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