The difference between federal intervention and military intervention

Whenever the word intervene is part of a public action, it means that something is not being controlled as it should be by the body initially responsible for the sector and it requires intervention from another competent entity. The most common are federal intervention and military intervention . Do you know the difference between them?

Both are about emergency decisions to contain crises , but they are very different from each other.

In Brazil, since 1988, the year of the promulgation of the Constitution, we had never had a federal intervention until it was installed in the city of Rio de Janeiro in February 2018.

The military intervention marked our country at the time that became known as the military dictatorship. Understand now the implications of these two interventions.

What is federal intervention?

The federal intervention becomes valid after a decree of the president of the republic .

The idea is for the Federal Government to respond for a sector such as the public safety of a state or city, which is normally the responsibility of the state government.

This decree also needs to be voted by the House of Representatives and by the Federal Senate that have the power to approve or reject federal intervention . When approved, the chairperson appoints a person who will be at the helm of the operations.

A clear example of this was what happened in Rio de Janeiro when the security sector was taken over by the Federal Government.

To conduct the intervention, a military officer, General Walter Braga Netto, was appointed to lead the civil and military police, fire brigade and state intelligence.

In this way, the public security of the state of Rio de Janeiro was no longer responsive to the State Government, as it is traditionally, but directly to the President of the Republic.

Regarding the federal intervention that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said: “The citizen will perceive a much more robust system of security. There will be much closer coordination, an integrated intelligence. “

The federal intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro had a period of stay stipulated until December 31, 2018.

What is military intervention?

The military intervention is when it happens the use of the forces of the army, navy and aeronautics to control a situation that flee to the dominion of another organ, like the State.

It can be commanded by the military itself taking power, which is usually called a military coup or even when a nation sends military troops elsewhere to circumvent armed conflicts or with a very large vulnerability.

Brazil already lived a military intervention between the years of 1964 and 1985 . It was the years of the military dictatorship, when the army deposed President João Goulart, who had taken over shortly after the resignation of Janio Quadros.

Are there other types of interventions?

In addition to federal and military intervention, there are still other types of situations that the state can assume. Get to know these modalities as well.

State of siege

When a country or region is under siege, citizens have their right to come and go suspended . If this determination starts from the Federal Government, the Executive also starts to command the other powers. This is common during wars or conflicts.

According to the Faculty Getúlio Vargas, the state of siege is the “temporary suspension of certain constitutional guarantees determined by the need to defend public order and in which the Executive holds powers normally assigned to the Legislative and Judiciary.”


There are situations where the state of siege is determined informally by regions controlled by militias or terrorist groups. Called “curfew”, this determination is based on dominant groups who want to keep the population off the streets at certain times .

This is quite the case in Brazil in regions where crime is high and causes real fear among the residents who are trapped in their own homes.

Usually schools, health posts and trade are also closed during the curfew.

State of defense

The state of defense is a moment of exception provided for by the Constitution. It is mainly adopted when natural calamities occur that need urgent intervention by the constituted powers.

During the state of defense, the city or state government is allowed to take emergency solutions that involve financial resources without the need for long tenders or deadlines.

State of public calamity

This situation occurs when the public sector fails to account for its responsibilities , such as in the health area. When there is a lack of doctors in hospitals, medicines or beds in the ICU, we can say that health is in public calamity.

The same happens in other areas that are affected by crises. Like education and security, for example, they can also decree the state of public calamity.

Emergency situation

The emergency situation is when a natural disaster occurs that causes data to the public or private patrimony and that the local Executive needs to take emergency measures to contain the losses.

The legislation also allows in cases of emergency decree that local governments receive money and apply it to circumvent the losses.

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