It is not widely known that under the designation “Brazilian Army Officer” there is a comprehensive range of specialties performed by each Force member, encompassing the most diverse fields, which, in most cases, define the whole career of the individuals.
The borderline between these specialties is defined by the Branch the military is in. The Combat Arms Branch comprises the combatants themselves. Traditionally it is the end-activity of the profession. The Combat Support Branch gathers military personnel of varied specialties with unique purposes. The Combat Service Support Branch, as the name shows, encompasses those whose activities are well defined and usually connected to Logistics.
The Base Arms are Infantry and Cavalry. Infantry defines the on-foot combatant; the one capable of moving across any sort of terrain; the one who conquers, occupies and maintains the position in offensive or defensive operations. Due to the variety of missions, the infantrymen also have their own specialties, such as Jungle Warfare, Armoured Infantry, Mountain Warfare, Parachutist, Military Police and many others as presented in this site. Cavalry conducts reconnaissance missions, provides security to other formations in combat and combats by using its own means. Be it armoured or mechanized, it maintains, in its current vehicles, the capacities of the traditional mounted formations.
The Combat Support Arms complement the missions of the Base Arms, whether by the use of fire support from their howitzers, cannons, rockets and missiles (Field / Air Defence Artillery); by mobility and counter-mobility (Engineering) and the installation and maintenance of C2 (Command and Control) and Electronic Warfare systems (Signals). The Combatant Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers are graduated respectively from the Brazilian Military Academy (AMAN), in Rio de Janeiro, and from the Escola de Sargentos das Armas (Combat Sergeants´ School), in Minas Gerais.
The main current Combat Service Support Branches are: the Military Engineers (QEM), with their members graduating from the traditional the Military Institute of Engineering (IME); The QEM’s major task of the non-combatant Engineers are in the areas of S&T, as well as in the area of developing military equipment. The Ordnance Corps (QMB) deals with the general maintenance of the Army equipment, including vehicles. Finally, the most recent Branch: the “Professionally Qualified Officers Corps” (QCO), which allowed graduates in the fields of Management, Law, Computer Sciences, Languages, Public Affairs, among others, to join the Army through a competition to the Escola de Formação Complementar do Exército (Army Complimentary Training School), in Bahia.
Quartermaster and Medical Corps (physicians, dentists and pharmacists) work for the maintenance of men, looking after their sanitary and sustainment needs. Quartermaster officers are masters in supplying and in finances. Medical Corps officers, upon graduation from a civilian university, join the Army after a course at the Escola de Saúde do Exército (Army Medical School). At present, women can join the Army as career or temporary officers in the Military Engineers, Medical or Professionally Qualified Officers Corps in equal conditions to men.
Non-commissioned officers (Sergeant Majors and Sergeants) of the service support areas, including musicians, graduate from military schools according to their specialties; thus, besides the aforementioned EsSEx, there are the Escola de Logística (Logistic Sergeants´ School), Escola de Comunicações (Signals School), Escola de Instrução Especializada (Specialized Instruction School), and the Centro de Instrução de Aviação do Exército (Army Aviation Instruction Centre).