The Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) has chosen former Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson de Azavedo Jobim and the US National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program as the recipients of this year’s Dr. William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education.
Jobim was selected in the Perry Award individual capacity for his highly regarded, sustained support for the transformation of the Brazilian professional military education and training system. He is also well known for numerous successful efforts to improve domestic, regional, multilateral, and bilateral security and defense arrangements, based on the enhancement of the professional education systems in an open, transparent manner.
Jobim was the 6th civilian Minister of Defense since the ministry was established on July 10, 1999. At the domestic level, he promoted the renewal of the Brazilian National Defense Policy and launched Brazil’s first National Defense Strategy. At the regional level, he championed the organization of the South American Council of Defense and signed a new bilateral defense cooperation agreement with the United States, renewing a relationship that had been discrete since the mid-1970s. “Minister Jobim brought defense concerns in Brazil to a much higher level, compatible with the country’s strategic stature,” said former US Ambassador to Brazil Clifford Sobel.
Indeed, Dr. Jobim was able to move the focus of the defense and security debate, either domestic or regionally, from parochial discussions to truly strategic concerns, which had an important impact on Security and Defense Education that will reverberate positively for a long time throughout the entire region.
The National Guard Bureau (NGB) program was chosen in recognition for its State Partnership Program’s critical support for partnership capacity building within the Western Hemisphere. It currently has 22 partnership programs running in 28 countries from around the region. During the past three years alone, some 500 security cooperation engagements were carried out through the program.
General Craig R. McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, represented the 22 States’ Adjutants General and designated, LtGen (ret.) John B. Conaway, former Chief, NGB and originator of the SPP, to accept the award on behalf of the State Partnership Program (NGB SPP) at CHDS’ annual awards gala that was part of the Center executive seminar “Security and Defense Education in the Americas.” Reflecting the spirit of the Perry Award, the three-day event offered researchers, practitioners, and institutional leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere the chance to discuss challenges, institutional capacity, and best practices gleaned from security and defense education from around the region.
In accepting the award, McKinley noted that the NGB SPP participants in the Western Hemisphere, like those around the world, bring exceptional subject matter experts from around the United States with unique skills sets and lessons learned that both address the goals and objectives of the US while directly addressing the needs of the partner nations at all levels. Conaway added “What started in 1996 with three nations in the Baltics has evolved into dynamic global synergistic partnerships addressing current challenges at their roots and finding and employing enduring solutions.”
“The fact that both Minister Jobim and the state partnership program were selected unanimously by the CHDS committee speaks for itself in terms of understanding the important work they have done, and continue to do, to promote necessary dialogue and needed interagency action,” said Center Director Richard D. Downie. “What the National Guard has done has is to create a flexible and extremely diverse program that is tailored to meet the needs and capabilities of partner countries. Focusing on creating strong relationships and promoting mutual trust and confidence, its conferences and workshops foster stronger institutions, encourage cooperative approaches to problem solving, and advance leader development programs,” he added.
Since 2007, CHDS has presented the Perry award to persons and organizations that significantly support meaningful efforts in the field of security and defense studies in the Western Hemisphere, particularly those that deal with political-military relations, defense and military education, and inter-agency processes within democratic governments
“The tradition set down by Secretary Perry, and the reason the Center issues these awards in his name, remains the promotion of healthy civil-military relations in order to best face the critical challenges we share here in the region,” Downie explained.