Thursday, May 21, 2009

Southeast Asia Exercise Series Seeks to Enhance Cooperation

The first phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a three-month series of bilateral military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, began this week in the Philippines.

CARAT, which is anchored by a four-ship U.S. Navy task group, is focused on enhancing maritime skills and operational readiness in a variety of areas, including maritime interception. While the operational training in each phase varies based on the desires of the host nation, common to each phase is an emphasis on information sharing, and collaboration during planning and execution.

Indonesia participates in a similar exercise, a Naval Engagement Activity (NEA).

Each phase of CARAT includes a number of outreach projects in local communities by Sailors and Marines and their exercise counterparts. Some phases include medical, dental and engineering assistance.

As reported by the Cebu Daily News and the Philippine Information Agency, routine medical and dental assistance will be provided in a number of areas in Cebu during the Philippines phase.

The CARAT Task Group consists of USS Harpers Ferry, USS Chung Hoon, USS Chafee, and USS Crommelin. USS John S. McCain, USS Russell, and USNS Safeguard will participate in designated phases.

In its 15th year, CARAT is an enduring example of U.S. Pacific Command’s emphasis on a cooperative approach to addressing common challenges and threats, such as maritime security.

Keep up with the exercise series on the CARAT website.

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