News | May 25, 2021

Staff talks allow U.S. Army to assist Peruvian Army’s transformation, modernization

By Donald Sparks U.S. Army South

In 1827, the United States established diplomatic relations with Peru, and nearly 200 years later, the U.S. and Peru’s strategic partnership continues to enhance security across the Western Hemisphere to collectively meet complex global challenges.
 

During the Sixth Annual U.S.-Peruvian Army Staff Talks held virtually on May 20, the two armies strengthened the relationship between the two nations by agreeing to future military-to-military training opportunities. 

“Events such as this are an opportunity to build on this discussion and shape future engagements to open training opportunities and strengthen our leaders through engagement while addressing our mutual strategic interest,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Walrath, U.S. Army South commanding general. “These staff talks are instrumental in facilitating, enhancing, and strengthening our relationship and our countries mutual readiness for years to come.”

Later this year, the Ejército del Perú, or Army of Peru, will celebrate its 200th bicentennial when it was officially established on Aug. 18, 1821. The staff talks provided Lt. Gen. José Vizcarra Álvarez, chief of staff of the Peruvian Army, to praise his army’s transformation and modernization, and he welcomed more support from the U.S. Army in doctrine, training and exercises to enhance their multipurpose brigade and help establish a new mechanized brigade. 

“It is important for us to continue to strengthen our relationship,” Vizcarra said, in the context of conducting the staff talks virtually. “The importance of doing everything possible to come together to strengthen our existing relationship is the most important thing.”

The Staff Talks Program seeks to promote bilateral efforts in order to develop professional partnerships and increase interaction between partner nation armies. The engagements enhance army-to-army contacts and mutual understanding, providing the partner nation armies with insights concerning specific U.S. Army programs, areas of mutual interest, and assisting partner nation armies in areas of modernization or reform.

The previous staff talks took place in Lima, Peru, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreed-to-actions from 2020 were performed virtually, postponed, rescheduled for the latter half of 2021, or cancelled altogether. Despite the setbacks from the previous year, Walrath assured Vizcarra that the U.S. Army is committed to working with the Peruvian Army to achieve their transformational goals. 

“The agreed-to-actions (ATAs) are focused towards the transformation and the modernization process of the Peruvian Army; building humanitarian assistance/disaster relief capabilities, leadership development, education, enhancing intelligence capabilities, and enhancing the interoperability of our forces by strengthening doctrine and force readiness,” Walrath said. 

Army South staff members presented briefings on Exercise Southern Vanguard and Combat Training Center rotations as opportunities for the Peruvian Army to participate, learn, and ultimately increase collaboration and interoperability with the U.S. Army. 

Additionally, the Peruvians received an overview of the Security Forces Assistance Brigade as a possible training tool offered to assist with the army’s transformation initiatives.

One of Vizcarra’s key priorities during the staff talks focused on disaster response stating, “We are always involved in this type of activity and increased collaboration between the U.S. Army allows us to be better prepared to support our population.”

The event concluded with a ceremonial signing of the minutes to retain a record of the staff talks and the ATAs that represent the activities that will lead each Army towards mutual common goals and objectives.

“Together, we have made important and sustained contributions to regional security while also providing an example to other nations of how successful partnerships between strong democratic nations are formed,” Walrath concluded.