By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Holly Boynton, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs
Representatives from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard met with a delegation from Armada Nacional de Uruguay (Uruguayan Navy) Dec. 18-19 for the U.S. Navy and Uruguayan Operational Naval Committee Conference (ONC Uruguay).
The two navies met to outline and agree to various exercises and interactions between their countries in Latin America during 2008.
ONC Uruguay, hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) in Mayport is an annual conference to plan and coordinate various exercises and theater security cooperation events the U.S. and Uruguay intend to conduct for the upcoming year.
The ONC brings together representatives from the U.S. and Uruguayan Navy so they may meet in person to discuss their countries mutual goals of maritime security in Latin America.
"We use these couple of days together to foster meaningful, professional relationships," said Capt. Steven Blaisdell, NAVSO Director of Exercises and Theater Security Cooperation. "We discuss the mutual interests of our navies to enhance interoperability at the operational and tactical level. These relationships are important for our mutual security."
During each ONC, a record of the various items and subjects discussed is recorded into a document. This document becomes a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is referred to throughout the following year during interactions between the U.S. Navy and partner nation navies. This year's ONC Uruguay MOU was signed by Blaisdell and Uruguayan Navy Capt. Rubens Romanelli, Commander, Uruguayan Marine Corps.
"It is a privilege to be here," said Romanelli. "We have common objectives in some areas and we must work together to realize these goals."