Ten Euridice Matins Laureano da Silva
The mission of the Land Force is to train and prepare troops for prompt employment in the defense of the homeland, of constitutional rights, and of law and order. To accomplish this mission, several operational courses are held in different regions of the Brazilian territory, with specific peculiarities, missions and purposes. However, all of them have as their main objective to prepare the troops and the military for possible combat, using the necessary means and techniques to simulate the conditions closest to a real mission.
In the context of preparation, it is common for physical, mental and emotional stress to occur on the military – a condition that is part of the nature of operational courses. The stress factors simulated in this environment are inherent to operational military activity itself, such as heat, cold, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and psychological pressure. In addition, they are required to be able to stay in combat, even in the face of shortages of supplies and adverse weather conditions, and to constantly adapt to the hostile and adverse environment they are confronted with.
The Jungle Operations Course (COS) is an operational course that is considered a reference in the dissemination of the doctrine of jungle operations, especially for the on-site experience of the various activities proposed to the military. It aims to evaluate the collectivity and work on leadership in groups or fractions, developing competencies, skills, attitudes, values and experiences inherent to the jungle warrior. The course lasts 12 weeks, and is divided into three distinct phases: the first is the jungle life phase, in which basic survival techniques in a jungle environment are taught; the second is the special techniques phase, in which jungle orientation procedures are covered; and the third is known as the operations phase, which allows the students to experience and absorb the knowledge acquired during the course.
It is worth pointing out that the course requires a high degree of professionalism and self-denial, as well as preparation and intellectual, physical, and psychological capacity. One of the main reactions generated during the course is stress. Alcântara (2021) highlights as recurrent factors of psychological stress in the COS the situations of risk to physical integrity, the complexity of the missions to be accomplished, the evaluations, the possibility of dismissal, and the jungle environment itself, coupled with the physical stress factors arising from the daily routine of the activities.
Due to the level of complexity of the Jungle Warfare Course, several professionals from military organizations conduct periodic monitoring of the students. The Army Center of Applied Psychology (CPAEx) integrated a multidisciplinary team to monitor the students and the activities of the Jungle Operations Course, at the Jungle Warfare Training Center (CIGS), located in Manaus (AM) in 2022. It is worth mentioning that CPAEx is a military organization that bases its work on activities related to military psychology and organizational psychology within the Brazilian Army, that advises Army agencies on military and organizational psychology, and that conducts research in the area of psychology for the Army’s benefit.
The work developed by CPAEx was done through observation and application of psychological measures during the course activities, and through a survey of stress factors and possible coping strategies for the students.
During the monitoring period, questionnaires were applied (at the beginning and at the end of the course) and several psychological scales were applied, in which the students revealed possible ways of handling stressful situations and ways of adapting to adversity. The levels of depression, anxiety, stress, positive and negative affect, psychological well-being, and impulsiveness were also measured.
By means of the instruments used, it was possible to evaluate and compare the psychological state at different stages of the course, as well as to observe personality traits and reactions to unexpected situations and quick decisions.
It is worth pointing out that the CIGS’ Psychopedagogical Section monitors the students with the purpose of minimizing possible individual traits that are not compatible with the professional profile of the jungle warrior, encouraging the student to develop the capabilities inherent to the profile and leading him to challenge himself and correct traits that could harm him during the course.
Among the greatest difficulties faced were: the distance from the family, the restrictions of sleep, water and food, and the physical and psychological stress. However, it was observed that the students remained committed and sought in the resilience and body spirit developed during the course a way to overcome their limitations, being always accompanied by a professional team capable of training new jungle warriors, composed of military combatants, and by a psycho-pedagogical team noticeably present and active.
In this way, the Army Center of Applied Psychology has contributed with psychology applied to the military context in the jungle environment, developing a work focused on the human psyche and working for the betterment of EB and Brazil. Therefore, it was concluded that the psychological follow-up activity of the Jungle Operations Course allowed for a psychology laboratory to be conducted by observing the transformation of the personality of individuals who propose a difficult professional specialization and that is characterized by the development of socioemotional traits, values and psychic characteristics.
*** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***
ALCÂNTARA, Nelma Kelly Medeiros de. Análise do nível e estresse em estudantes do curso de operações na selva do CIGS. Portal do Preparo. 2021.
JÚNIOR, Tigernaque Pergentino de Santana. Development of attitudinal contents in the jungle operations course at CIGS. https://www.enabed2021.abedef.org
ORDINANCE No. 338, of December 19, 2019. Normas para desenvolvimento e avaliação dos conteúdos atitudinais. 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro, 2019.
ORDINANCE No. 657, of MAY 13, 2019. Approves the Regulations of the Center for Psychology
Applied Psychology of the Army (EB10-R-05.038), 1st Edition, 2019.
About the author:
Lt Euridice Matins Laureano da Silva – 1st Lt Euridice Matins alureano da Silva holds a degree in Psychology from Estácio de Sá University (2005) and an MBA in People Management also from Estácio de Sá University (2014). She is currently a Temporary Technical Officer of the Brazilian Army, psychologist, adjunct of the Teaching, Preparation and Psychological Employment Section, of the Army Center of Applied Psychology (CPAEx), where she works in the preparation and monitoring of military personnel employed in peacekeeping missions of individual character, in the training of psychologists and in the advisory for the courses of the Brazilian Army Staff.