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Personnel and Training - Officer Recruitment



Because the only entry into the regular officer corps is the AMAN, its records provide an accurate picture of the officer corps. In the decades following World War II, cadets from middle-class families increased, while those from upper-class and unskilled lower-class families declined. The total number of applicants also declined as a result of economic development diversification, which gave high school graduates more attractive options than entering the military. Increasingly, AMAN cadets came from among the graduates of the army-supported Military Schools, which sons of military personnel attended tuition free. Many of these students were sons of NCOs whose own origins were not middle class, so a form of intra-institutional, upward mobility existed.

The trend in the 1960s to recruit from civilian sources has abated. The mental, health, and physical aptitude tests excluded large numbers of civilian school graduates: in 1977 of 1,145 civilians attempting the tests, only thirty-four, or 3 percent, were admitted. In 1985 only 174, or 11 percent, of the AMAN's 1,555 cadets were graduates of civilian schools; the rest were from the army's Military School system, the Cadet Preparatory School (Escola Preparatória de Cadetes--EPC), or air force or navy secondary schools. In the early 1990s, AMAN cadets were drawn exclusively from those who had completed the EPC. By the mid-1990s, the AMAN's cadet population was about 3,000.

In the twentieth century, the officer corps has been composed predominantly of men from the Southeast and South of Brazil, where military units and greater educational opportunities have been concentrated. In 1901-02 the Northeast contributed 38 percent of students at the army's preparatory school in Realengo, whereas in 1982 it provided only 13 percent to the preparatory school in Campinas. In the same years, the Southeast supplied 40.4 percent and 77 percent, while the South gave 8.6 percent and 6.3 percent. Although São Paulo, according to Alfred Stepan and other observers, has not been noted for sending its young men into the officer corps, its contribution increased from 4.3 percent of students in 1901-02 to 33.5 percent in 1982. Regional origins of cadets at the AMAN were fairly consistent in the 1964-85 period. By far the largest contingent came from the state and city of Rio de Janeiro.

Although social theorists might be pleased with indications that the army is serving as a vehicle for social mobility, army leaders are concerned. Officers have remarked on the trend toward lower-class recruitment in the Training Center for Reserve Officers (Centro de Preparação de Oficiais da Reserva--CPOR) and the problems associated with such officers. In a 1986 interview, the former minister of army, General Leônidas Pires Gonçalves, observed that he did not want officers who would give only five or ten years to the army; he wanted individuals with a military vocation, who would stay for a full thirty-plus-year career. Many officers have expressed concern that those seeking to use the army to improve their status are not sufficiently dedicated to the institution. Indeed, some officers seek the earliest possible retirement in order to get a second job (second salary) to make ends meet.

Data as of April 1997




 



 


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