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The South American Defense Council (CSD), created in March 2009 as a military coordinating body of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) demonstrates a growing trend among Latin American countries to approach matters of regional security independent of the United States. The CSD also indicates a maturation of democratic civil military relations in a region once dominated by authoritarian military regimes. The CSD aims to facilitate the exchange of information about regional defense policies, promote collaboration for disaster relief, and promote civil-military engagement. In less than a year it is hardly a tested entity, but the presence of 12 South American states coming together around security policy marks an important moment in the evolution of civil-military relations in the region.

Brazil has taken on an important leadership role in the CSD, acting as a leader in recent regional peacekeeping efforts. As a geopolitical move, Brazil also sees a benefit in promoting good relationships with all countries of South america, given its common border with nine of them. Although the United States is not a member of the CSD, the organization's agenda of infromation exchange of defense policies, military cooperation, and capacity building, including disaster assistance and preparedness provide opportunities for greater collaboration. The CSD is not part of the Inter-American System created after the Second World War. It is unclear how its work will coincide with the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security or its Secretariat for Multidimensional Security. The U.S. should view the CSD as a mechanism to promote joint initiatives that encourage democratic governance in the region.


The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report (paper) are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by the official documentation.

Funded by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE), ID W91WAW-09-D-0022, delivery order number 0616.



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