Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 10: Military Takes Control of Policing in Rio de Janeiro
John P. Sullivan, José de Arimatéia da Cruz and Robert J. Bunker
On 16 February 2018 President Michel Temer issued a decree (DECRETO Nº 9.288) authorizing federal security intervention (missões de garantia de lei e ordem) to address endemic insecurity in Rio de Janeiro. The authorization essentially places the military in control of all security in the State of Rio de Janeiro, which has been plagued with extreme insecurity and gang violence. This event signifies Brazil’s formalization of counter-criminal insurgency (COCRIMIN) operations stemming from elevated concerns over the perceived escalation of criminal gang threats to Rio and the surrounding metropolitan area.
Key Information: “Brazil: Army takes control of Rio security in bid to quash gang violence.” Deutsche Welle. 17 February 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/brazil-army-takes-control-of-rio-security-in-bid-to-quash-gang-violence/a-42622360:
Brazil’s military has taken full control of security in Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding state in an effort to fight gang violence. The move comes after the Defense Ministry said security in the city was “broken.”
President Michel Temer has signed a decree giving the military control of security in Rio de Janeiro in response to spiraling drug gang violence.
The military already supports police in favelas, large slums overrun by drug gangs. It had previously helped provide security during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.
But the decree, which went into effect immediately, hands the military power over all police operations in Rio state. It must be approved by both chambers of Congress within 10 days.
“Organized crime nearly took over in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This is a metastasis that is spreading in our country and it threatens our people. That’s why we decided on the intervention,” Temer said at the presidential palace in Brasilia on Friday. “Our administration will give a tough, firm answer.”
The military mission will last until the end of the year.
Key Information: Andres Schipani. “Brazilian military to take control of security in Rio de Janeiro.” Financial Times. 16 February 2018, https://www.ft.com/content/a4e31d0c-1374-11e8-8cb6-b9ccc4c4dbbb:
The Brazilian military is to take control of security in Rio de Janeiro amid a vicious crime wave that has hit the city’s famous carnival in what is the first intervention of the armed forces since Latin America’s largest country returned to democracy three decades ago.
President Michel Temer, who signed the decree on Friday that will be in place until the end of the year, called it an “extreme measure”. “You know that organised crime has almost taken over the state of Rio de Janeiro,” Mr Temer said in a televised speech. “It is a metastasis that spreads around the country.”
Roberto Sá, Rio state’s secretary of security, resigned after the announcement, and General Walter Souza Braga, who co-ordinated security during the city’s 2016 Olympics, will be in charge of the intervention.
Key Information: “Brazil’s Government to Intervene in Rio Security Amid Violence.” Folha de S.Paulo. 16 February 2018, http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/brazil/2018/02/1956907-brazils-government-to-intervene-in-rio-security-amid-violence.shtml.
Brazilian President Michel Temer has declared that the federal government will be intervening in the public security of Rio de Janeiro.
As a result, the Armed Forces will take control of the state’s security responsibilities.
The federal government’s idea is to extend the measure until December of 2018, although the final details of the decree will be squared away this Friday (the 16th).
The decree was drafted during a meeting on the evening of Thursday (the 15th) between the president and cabinet members Raul Jungmann (Defense), Sérgio Etchegoyen (Institutional Security Cabinet), Henrique Meirelles (Finance), Dyogo Oliveira (Planning) and Moreira Franco (the General-Secretary of the Presidency).
Also present were Rio governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and presidents of both houses of congress: Rodrigo Maia (DEM) and Eunício Oliveira (MDB), of the Senate.
According to the Federal Constitution, Congress must approve the decree within 10 days.
Key Information: Associated Press. “Brazilian president to create public security ministry.” Vancouver Sun. 17 January 2018, http://vancouversun.com/pmn/news-pmn/brazilian-president-to-create-public-security-ministry/wcm/b6aeef31-41e3-49b6-ba05-c5c0d787edd2:
SÃO PAULO — Brazil’s president says he wants a public ministry to co-ordinate security operations in the entire country.
President Michel Temer spoke briefly Saturday in Rio de Janeiro after talking to local authorities about the implementation of a decree that has placed the military in charge of the state’s security operations amid a spike in violent crime.
“We must join forces to combat crime,” he said, but gave no details about the ministry he plans to create within the next few weeks.
Temer had met with Rio state Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao and Army Gen. Walter Souza Braga Netto, who was appointed to lead the security intervention.
Brazilian President Temer signs decree authorizing federal intervention in the State of Rio de Janeiro. “Intervenção na Segurança Pública no RJ.” Planalto.16 February 2018; @planalto. https://twitter.com/i/moments/964557291293945857
Key Information: Michel Temer, Presidência da República: Casa Civil, Subchefia para Assuntos Jurídicos. “Decreta intervenção federal no Estado do Rio de Janeiro com o objetivo de pôr termo ao grave comprometimento da ordem pública.” DECRETO Nº 9.288, DE 16 DE FEVEREIRO DE 2018. D.O.U. DE 16/02/2018, P. 1 - EDIÇÃO EXTRA. Planalto. 16 February 2018, http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2015-2018/2018/decreto/D9288.htm:
DECRETO Nº 9.288, DE 16 DE FEVEREIRO DE 2018
O PRESIDENTE DA REPÚBLICA, no uso da atribuição que lhe confere o art. 84, caput, inciso X, da Constituição,
ºFica decretada intervenção federal no Estado do Rio de Janeiro até 31 de dezembro de 2018.
§ 1º A intervenção de que trata o caput se limita à área de segurança pública, conforme o disposto no Capítulo III do Título V da Constituição e no Título V da Constituição do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
§ 2º O objetivo da intervenção é pôr termo a grave comprometimento da ordem pública no Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
ºFica nomeado para o cargo de Interventor o General de Exército Walter Souza Braga Netto.
Parágrafo único. O cargo de Interventor é de natureza militar.
ºAs atribuições do Interventor são aquelas previstas no art. 145 da Constituição do Estado do Rio de Janeiro necessárias às ações de segurança pública, previstas no Título V da Constituição do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
ºO Interventor fica subordinado ao Presidente da República e não está sujeito às normas estaduais que conflitarem com as medidas necessárias à execução da intervenção.
ºO Interventor poderá requisitar, se necessário, os recursos financeiros, tecnológicos, estruturais e humanos do Estado do Rio de Janeiro afetos ao objeto e necessários à consecução do objetivo da intervenção.
§ 3º O Interventor poderá requisitar a quaisquer órgãos, civis e militares, da administração pública federal, os meios necessários para consecução do objetivo da intervenção.
ºAs atribuições previstas no art. 145 da Constituição do Estado do Rio de Janeiro que não tiverem relação direta ou indireta com a segurança pública permanecerão sob a titularidade do Governador do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
ºO Interventor, no âmbito do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, exercerá o controle operacional de todos os órgãos estaduais de segurança pública previstos no art. 144 da Constituição e no Título V da Constituição do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
ºPoderão ser requisitados, durante o período da intervenção, os bens, serviços e servidores afetos às áreas da Secretaria de Estado de Segurança do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, da Secretaria de Administração Penitenciária do Estado do Rio de Janeiro e do Corpo de Bombeiros Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, para emprego nas ações de segurança pública determinadas pelo Interventor.
ºEste Decreto entra em vigor na data de sua publicação.
Brasília, 16 de fevereiro de 2018; 197
ºda Independência e 130 ºda República.
Sergio Westphalen Etchegoyen
Key Information: “Temer anuncia criação do Ministério Extraordinário da Segurança Pública.” Planalto. 17 February 2017, http://www2.planalto.gov.br/acompanhe-planalto/noticias/2018/02/temer-anuncia-criacao-do-ministerio-extraordinario-da-seguranca-publica:
Com a missão de coordenar ações na área, nova pasta medida mantém autonomia dos estados e vai integrar estratégias.
Durante encontro com mais de 80 autoridades no Palácio da Guanabara no Rio de Janeiro neste sábado (17), o presidente da República, Michel Temer, anunciou a criação do Ministério Extraordinário da Segurança Pública. A ideia é que a pasta coordene as ações estratégicas na área em todo o País.
De acordo com Temer, a criação do ministério não vai interferir na autonomia dos estados. “Não vai invadir as competências de cada estado federado, mas vai cumprir suas funções de natureza constitucional, mas também vai coordenar o trabalho de segurança pública”, disse Temer. A previsão é de que o ministério seja criado nas próximas duas semanas…
…Ministros, deputados, senadores, empresários, além do governador do Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão, estiveram no encontro para debater também os termos da intervenção federal, decretada nesta sexta-feira pelo presidente da República. A medida visa combater o crime organizado no estado, cujo sistema de segurança passa a ser comandado pelo general Walter Braga Netto.
“Seria intolerável continuar com situação que aqui estava no Rio de Janeiro porque ela cria também um problema nos outros estados, no instante em que as coisas desandem aqui, a tendência é desandar nos outros estados. Não queremos isso”, disse Temer.
Third Generation Gang Analysis
On Friday, 16 February 2018, after months of escalating gang violence and extreme insecurity, Brazilian President Michel Temer placed Brazil’s military in charge of security in Rio de Janeiro. The military oversight is the first federal intervention where federal forces took command in a Brazilian state since the return to democracy in 1988. The intervention comes after escalating violence, culminating in looting and attacks on tourists during Carnival. The decree authorizing the intervention places a Brazilian Army (Exército Brasileiro) general Walter Souza Braga Netto in charge of the operation which is slated to continue through 31 December 2018. General Braga Netto, has a military intelligence background and is no stranger to Rio, having been in charge of military support to security for the 2016 Olympics. According to President Temer, “Together, the police and the armed forces will combat and confront those who have kidnapped our cities.”
Military intervention in Brazilian policing is not new. Indeed, as Sullivan and Bunker discussed in “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 5: Brazilian Military Stability and Support Operations (SASO) in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas,” military forces have regularly been deployed to support civil authorities in missions to guarantee law and order (missões de garantia de lei e ordem) due to the intense gang warfare and rampant crime scene in Rio’s favelas. Since 2008, Brazil’s military has been deployed to Rio de Janeiro a dozen times. Still, despite these periodic interventions, Rio’s violence and crime rates continue to escalate. Rio’s current ‘violent death’ rate is 40 per 10,000 residents with homicides returning to levels last seen in 2009. Hence, this intervention will differ from past stability and support operations (SASO) since an army commander will be placed in overall control of security statewide.
This step is controversial as it militarizes domestic security and some, view it as a political move to smooth the final days of Temer’s presidency. Some, like Rio governor Luiz da Souza, believe the intervention is needed since the police have been unable to quell the gang war throughout the state. Previous military deployments haven’t reduced the violence either. Others view the move as a step toward centralization, threatening the autonomy of states and potentially leading to a return of military government.
According to Robert Muggah, director of research at Rio’s Instituto Igarapé, “Rio de Janeiro’s security crisis is worsening. And, in spite of successive emergency measures, including the deployment of soldiers and reserve forces in 2016 and 2017, there is a sensation that the state is spinning out of control.” For Muggah, “President Temer’s decree for federal military intervention in Rio de Janeiro is clearly driven by a political calculus.” Muggah characterizes the situation as follows:
“Rio de Janeiro’s security emergency is due in large part to a crisis of governance. It is consequence of a profound lack of leadership from the governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão, and the capital city’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella. Not unlike their disgraced predecessors, these leaders have shown little interest or appetite in developing and implementing a serious public security agenda. Their inaction is exacerbated by prolonged economic turbulence that has virtually crippled the state’s military and civil police. The public security secretary’s budget was repeatedly slashed since 2016, ending the state’s pacification program. The government's disastrous handling of public security during this year’s Carnival is symptomatic of deep, systematic, neglect.”
This characterization recognizes the importance of investments in public security and implicitly calls for long-term investment in such security grounded in transparency and accountability. Hopefully these elements will be incorporated into the planning for the new public security ministry. Placing the military in charge of internal security bolsters perceptions of both the intractability of gang warfare and exposes the potential status of that situation as that of non-international armed conflict (NIAC) requiring compliance with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (applicable to all states). The state may seek to limit this exposure by characterizing its security efforts as crime suppression (i.e. internal disturbances and tensions) and not armed conflict. Recognizing the contribution of poor governance, corruption, gang potency and sophistication, gang penetration into state institutions, and the depth—and ‘criminal insurgency’ dimensions—of Rio’s insecurity is also necessary to restoring civil security and order.
Figure 1 provides the context for better understanding the ‘criminal insurgency’ implications of the endemic insecurity in the State of Rio de Janeiro, and the institutional dilemmas it is causing for the liberal democratic polity of Brazil. The emergence and expansion of third generation gangs (3GENGangs) in Rio—such as the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), Comando Vermelho (CV), Terceiro Comando (TC)/Puro (TCP), and Amigos dos Amigos (ADA)—has been increasingly viewed as beyond the capacity of the various forms of Brazilian police (Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro—including CORE; the Polícia Federal, and the Polícia Militar do Estado Rio de Janeiro—including its BOPE and UPP capabilities) to contend with as a collective body.
The issuance of DECRETO Nº 9.288, demonstrates perceptions that the specialized Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora units were/are unable to stabilize the situation without additional support. The UPP’s mission is to reclaim expanses of the favelas which are controlled by Rio’s 3GENGangs —representing an operational environment that can be characterized as a ‘blurring of crime and war.’ As a result, the Exército Brasileiro is assuming the control of security response signaling a potential reconfiguration of the security apparatus for intra-state war. The Army’s military (provost) police corps (Polícia do Exército) can be expected to support this role. This responsibility is being directly tasked to the Army with coordinating both policing and military units in what can be considered Brazil’s first formal counter-criminal insurgency (COCRIMIN) operation.
Associated Press. “Brazilian president to create public security ministry.” Vancouver Sun. 17 January 2018, http://vancouversun.com/pmn/news-pmn/brazilian-president-to-create-public-security-ministry/wcm/b6aeef31-41e3-49b6-ba05-c5c0d787edd2.
“Brazil: Army takes control of Rio security in bid to quash gang violence.” Deutsche Welle. 17 February 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/brazil-army-takes-control-of-rio-security-in-bid-to-quash-gang-violence/a-42622360.
“Brazil's Government to Intervene in Rio Security Amid Violence.” Folha de S.Paulo. 16 February 2018, http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/brazil/2018/02/1956907-brazils-government-to-intervene-in-rio-security-amid-violence.shtml.
Exército Brasileiro. “INFORMEX Nº 005 – Intervenção Federal na Segurança Pública do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.” 16 February 2018, http://www.eb.mil.br/web/guest/todos-os-avisos/-/asset_publisher/nElT00TYrefc/content/id/8651625 .
Andres Schipani. “Brazilian military to take control of security in Rio de Janeiro.” Financial Times. 16 February 2018, https://www.ft.com/content/a4e31d0c-1374-11e8-8cb6-b9ccc4c4dbbb
Michel Temer, Presidência da República: Casa Civil, Subchefia para Assuntos Jurídicos. “Decreta intervenção federal no Estado do Rio de Janeiro com o objetivo de pôr termo ao grave comprometimento da ordem pública.” DECRETO Nº 9.288, DE 16 DE FEVEREIRO DE 2018. D.O.U. DE 16/02/2018, P. 1 - EDIÇÃO EXTRA. Planalto. 16 February 2018, http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2015-2018/2018/decreto/D9288.htm.
“Temer anuncia criação do Ministério Extraordinário da Segurança Pública.” Planalto. 17 February 2017, http://www2.planalto.gov.br/acompanhe-planalto/noticias/2018/02/temer-anuncia-criacao-do-ministerio-extraordinario-da-seguranca-publica.
 Ernesto Londoño and Shasta Darlingto. “Brazil’s Military Is Put in Charge of Security in Rio de Janeiro.” New York Times. 16 February 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/world/americas/brazil-rio-military-security.html.
 Carlos Brito, Cauê Muraro and Peter Fussy. “Intervenção federal no RJ é a 1ª desde a Constituição de 1988.” G1(Globo). 16 February 2018, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/intervencao-federal-no-rj-e-a-1-desde-a-constituicao-de-1988.ghtml.
 Michel Temer, Presidência da República: Casa Civil, Subchefia para Assuntos Jurídicos. “Decreta intervenção federal no Estado do Rio de Janeiro com o objetivo de pôr termo ao grave comprometimento da ordem pública.” DECRETO Nº 9.288, DE 16 DE FEVEREIRO DE 2018. D.O.U. DE 16/02/2018, P. 1 - EDIÇÃO EXTRA. Planalto. 16 February 2018, http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2015-2018/2018/decreto/D9288.htm./
 “Rio de Janeiro: saiba como funciona a intervenção federal.” Planalto. 16 February 2018, http://www2.planalto.gov.br/acompanhe-planalto/noticias/2018/02/rio-de-janeiro-saiba-como-funciona-a-intervencao-federal.
 See Exército Brasileiro. “INFORMEx Nº 005 – Intervenção Federal na Segurança Pública do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.” 16 February 2018, http://www.eb.mil.br/web/guest/todos-os-avisos/-/asset_publisher/nElT00TYrefc/content/id/8651625. The decree was ratified by both chambers of Brazil’s Congress. It was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on 20 February 2018. Associated Press. “Brazil’s Congress approves military intervention in Rio.” Washington Post. 20 February 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/brazils-congress-approves-military-intervention-in-rio/2018/02/20/193b5112-16b6-11e8-930c-45838ad0d77a_story.html?utm_term=.47c7a4870d54.
 “Interventor federal que atuará no RJ foi um dos responsáveis pela segurança durante a Olimpíada.” Rio de Janiero. G! (Globo). 16 February 2018, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/interventor-federal-que-atuara-no-rj-foi-um-dos-responsaveis-pela-seguranca-durante-a-olimpiada.ghtml.
 Ibid, Note 1.
 Luis Adorno. “Rio terá atuação do Exército pela 13ª vez em 10 anos; qual a diferença agora?” UOL Notícias. 16 February 2018, https://noticias.uol.com.br/cotidiano/ultimas-noticias/2018/02/16/rio-tera-atuacao-do-exercito-pela-13-vez-em-10-anos-qual-a-diferenca-agora.htm?cmpid=copiaecola.
 Marina Lopes. “Brazil's military to take over security in violence-scarred Rio de Janeiro.” Washington Post. 16 February 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/brazils-military-to-take-over-security-in-violence-scarred-rio-de-janeiro/2018/02/16/5ff9aaea-1341-11e8-a68c-e9374188170e_story.html?utm_term=.c229ce037e55; Ernesto Londoño. “In Rio de Janeiro, ‘Complete Vulnerability’ as Violence Surges,” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/world/americas/rio-de-janeiro-brazil-violent-crime-security.html; and “Tráfico e milícia crescem no RJ ante o fracasso de políticas de segurança.” Jornal Nacional/G1 (Globo). 16 February 2018, http://g1.globo.com/jornal-nacional/noticia/2018/02/trafico-e-milicia-crescem-no-rj-ante-o-fracasso-de-politicas-de-seguranca.html.
 Simone Preissler Iglesias , Samy Adghirni , and David Biller. “Brazil Military Takes Control of Rio de Janeiro’s Security.” Bloomberg Politics. 16 February 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-16/brazil-military-takes-control-of-rio-de-janeiro-public-security.
 “Politics at play as Temer hands control of Rio police to army.” France 24. 17 February 2017, http://www.france24.com/en/20180217-brazil-politics-behind-temer-decree-army-control-rio-police?ref=tw.
 Dom Phillips. “Brazilian army to take control of security in Rio as violence rises.” The Guardian. 16 February 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/brazilian-army-rio-de-janeiro-michel-temer.
 Robert Muggah. Electronic Correspondence. 16 February 2018.
 Ibid. Note 13.
 Ibid. Note 13.
 Determining the applicability of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to endemic criminal insecurity is controversial. The question is whether the activity rises to the level of sophistication required to be considered an armed conflict. Common Article 3 (of the Geneva Conventions of 1949) is recognized as binding on all parties to armed conflict including state forces and non-state armed groups waging conflict against the state or other armed groups. See Jelena Pejic. “The protective scope of Common Article 3: more than meets the eye.” International Review of the Red Cross. Vol. 93, No. 881 (March 2011), https://www.icrc.org/spa/assets/files/review/2011/irrc-881-pejic.pdf.
 Brazil is a federal republic and the majority of policing and law enforcement responsibilities reside with its constituent states. Like many Latin American nations, Brazil distinguishes between preventive (patrol) and civil (judicial or investigative) agencies. The Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro is Rio’s investigative police agency responsible for detectives, forensics, and prosecutions. CORE (the Coordenadoria de Recursos Especiais) is the Civil Police tactical unit. The Polícia Federa is Brazil’s primary federal police agency. The Polícia Militar do Estado Rio de Janeiro (PM) is Rio’s preventive police. Rio’s PM like all state Polícia Militar are under the control of the State Governor but are constitutionally considered reserves of the Brazilian Army per Article 144 of Brazil’s Constitution and like the National Guard in the United States can be mobilized for federal missions.. The PM field a specialized tactical unit BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) and the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP). Both the BOPE and UPP are experienced in an urban operations (urban warfare) context. The UPP (police pacification unit) is essentially a formed stability police unit or functional gendarmerie force.
 For strategies related to state forces—both law enforcement and military—engaging 3GENGangs and other belligerent non-state threats, see Robert J. Bunker, “Defeating Violent Non-State Actors.” Parameters. 43(4) Winter 2013-14: 57-65, https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pubs/parameters/issues/Winter_2013/6_Bunker.pdf.
For Additional Reading
Robert Muggah, “Rio de Janeiro: A War by Any Other Name.” Small Wars Journal. 25 April 2017.
Carlos Frederico de Oliveira Pereira, Gangues Territorias e DireitoInternational dos Conflitos Armadas. Curitiba: Juruá Editora, 2016.
John P. Sullivan and Robert J. Bunker. “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 5: Brazilian Military Stability and Support Operations(SASO) in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas.” Small Wars Journal. 9 November 2017.
Christian Vianna de Azevedo. “Criminal Insurgency in Brazil: The Case of Rio de Janeiro: Context, Confrontation Issues and Implications for Brazilian Public Security.”Small Wars Journal. 22 January 2018.