PANAMAX 2012 The Next Generation of Defense

first_img Cmdr. Omar Hernández Martínez El Salvador Naval Force During a hypothetical scenario that played out on computer screens at Mayport Naval Station, Florida; Headquarters United States Southern Command, Florida; and Fort Sam Houston, Texas, United States, in August 2012, a violent extremist organization used aircraft to assault the Panama Canal. Simultaneously, fictional terrorists launched cyber attacks to divert and disorient forces protecting the canal and its infrastructure. Their goal: disrupt and cripple the global economy. “Our fictional enemies are using increasingly more modern methods to stop the operation of the Panama Canal,” said Lieutenant Cristian Escala of Panama’s National Air-Naval Service (SENAN). He has participated for seven years in PANAMAX, an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise designed to protect and guarantee safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal, ensure its neutrality, and respect national sovereignty. While in previous iterations PANAMAX has been a maritime-focused exercise using ships and planes, a new dimension was brought forth in 2012 by executing it solely through virtual exercises. Military officials gave their points of view on PANAMAX 2012. PANAMAX “is a source of pride because I participated in the beginning, and the truth is that we never expected it would grow to this level. So far, it has been a source of pride, of satisfaction and also a reason why we must continue to work to improve this relationship that has been built over time.” Deputy Commissioner Jorge Yanis Panama National Air-Naval Service “I believe that the important part of this [interaction] is sharing experiences, expertise and, above all, finding a common approach [against] this type of threat, because we don’t really know what it will be, or when it will threaten our canal.” Capt. Ronald Muñoz Cedeño Ecuadorean Navy Additionally, this year’s exercise included an increased leadership role taken by all the partner nations. Brazil led the Combined Force Maritime Component Command (CFMCC) for the first time, directing simulations held in Florida. Colombia, for the second time, was in charge of the Combined Force Land Component (CFLCC), held at Fort Sam Houston. Brazilian Rear Admiral Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho stated that he does not see a difference with leadership decisions whether the exercise uses actual ships or computer simulation. And, since the potential threat is not easy to predict, he said that it is important to share information in both ways. “That is fundamental in order to have mutual trust,” he said. Rear Admiral Lima Filho believes PANAMAX 2012 was an opportunity for the participating nations to develop friendships, interoperability and learn from one another. In fact, the slogan he chose in Brazil for CFMCC 2012 was “Unidos pelo mar” (Joined by the Sea). “The sea joins countries,” he said. Cmdr. Feliciano Pérez Carvajal Dominican Republic Navy Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Barreto Paraguayan Navy “Having PANAMAX for several years allows us to interact among countries, so that in the event of a real situation we can act quickly and efficiently in protecting the Panama Canal.” “The Mexican Navy has decided to participate in this type of exercise because it is important to work together with other navies. We learn the way in which other navies work and also show them how we do things. And, it is a great opportunity to establish ties of friendship with the other navies.” Capt. Andrés Salas Peruvian Navy Rear Adm. Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho Brazilian Navy By Dialogo January 01, 2013 Military members from 17 Partner Nations formed a multinational combined task force to share information and assist with the coordination of logistics, communications, intelligence and monitoring. Even though the members of these partner nations consisted of all ranks and came from all the different service components, they shared the common objective of protecting the canal, which accounts for 5 percent of global maritime trade. PANAMAX began in 2003 under the initiative of Panama, Chile and the United States, and exercise participation has grown every year since. The participants in the 2012 edition included more than 600 personnel from Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the United States. PANAMAX 2012 tested command and control of forces across a wide range of operations, including maritime, air, land, space and cyber. The simulated exercise scenarios provided invaluable training on coalition command and control and combined interoperability — the ability to work together seamlessly. Deputy Commissioner Jorge Yanis, head of the Naval Group of SENAN, highlighted the importance of protecting “one of the great bastions of the world.” Yanis said in addition to cyber attacks, another new scenario at PANAMAX 2012 was responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, which would require humanitarian relief. “The experience that we’ve gained during [PANAMAX] has been very interesting. More so, to participate and be part of a multinational force. It’s interesting because we share experiences with military members from other nationalities and speak in two languages, Spanish and English.” “For us it is very important that the operations on the Panama Canal are never interrupted, otherwise our exports would stop. More so, those exports that produce income for our country, and obviously our economy would suffer if we begin to use the sea route around the Southern Cone since the freight costs would become more expensive.” “The fact that we are training and carrying out joint exercises, like PANAMAX, needs to be better disseminated. It sends a positive message to the international community, to the world.” “PANAMAX is a good opportunity for training, for camaraderie among the officers who participate, for the training of the staff that operates the electronic equipment, and for crew members of vessels when it is carried out with ships.” Col. Edgar Ortega Martínez Colombian Army “It has been an excellent experience working in a multinational environment. There are many doctrine aspects that are important to know and to learn how to work with other nations on a particular mission.” “We all have our capabilities, we have our knowledge, our unique characteristics and together in this exercise we can share these lessons, these skills.” Capt. Carlos Alberto Mendoza Rovira Mexican Navy Rear Adm. Julio Leiva Molina Chilean Navy last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *