USA: PANAMAX Military Exercise Kicks Off

PANAMAX Military Exercise Kicks Off

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris and Brazilian Rear Admiral Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho welcomed partner-nation participants and officially kicked off this year’s PANAMAX exercise August 6.

The main focus of PANAMAX is to practice methods of protecting the safe passage of commercial traffic through the Panama Canal while ensuring its neutrality and respecting national sovereignty, the U.S. Navy said.

Representatives from 17 nations are participating in the annual exercise August 6–17. PANAMAX includes training for many of the 21st century threats encountered in today’s land, sea, air and cyber environments, the Navy said.

More than 600 military personnel have traveled to Mayport for the exercise, including 170 guests from partner nations. The participating nations are Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the United States.

PANAMAX began in 2003 with three countries: Panama, Chile and the United States.

“This exercise is designed to execute stability operations under the support of United Nations Security Council resolutions; provide interoperability training for the participating multinational staffs; and build participating nation capability to plan and execute complex multinational operations,” said Harris, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and the U.S. 4th Fleet.

Simulated training for PANAMAX will be held at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas; Miami; and Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

“One of the most important benefits of multinational exercises like PANAMAX is the fact that all the participants will be able to exchange their experiences, expertise, and will gain new knowledge about each other’s culture and people,” Harris said.

These interactions strengthen our bonds across the region and foster long-lasting friendships and an understanding among the partner nations, ultimately benefiting the security of the region,” Harris said.

Naval Today Staff, August 9, 2012; Image: US Navy