From 2nd Fleet Public Affairs
Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet begins the final step in its certification as a joint task force (JTF) headquarters Aug. 29, with the start of exercise Fuerzas Aliadas (FA) PANAMAX 2007.
The multinational exercise will serve as the culminating exercise for 2nd Fleet's certification by U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM). It will be the first certification using USJFCOM's standardized certification model and the command's Joint Task Force Concept of Operations.
“It is a privilege to be the first headquarters to participate in the certification process,” said Vice Adm. Marty Chanik, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. “We will be ready to apply the training should U.S. Southern Command require a JTF staff for real-world operations.”
Civil and military forces from 20 countries joins 2nd Fleet for the exercise the training exercise which is co-sponsored with the Government of Panama and will be held in the waters off the coast of Panama and in Honduras, Aug. 29 – Sep. 7.
FA PANAMAX is focused on ensuring the security of the Panama Canal from both the Caribbean and Pacific approaches
to the Canal. Simulated ground forces will participate at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. This year, more than 30 vessels, a dozen aircraft and 7,000 personnel will take part.
"This training brings together international civil, naval, air and ground security forces in a multi-national environment," said Adm. James Stavridis, Commander, U.S. Southern Command. "As an integrated team, these forces will respond quickly to simulated crises to ensure the security of one of the world's most important waterways."
Participating forces will comprise Multi-National Force South under the combined joint task force led by Chanik. In addition to the traditional multi-national maritime force participation, FA PANAMAX 2007 includes the added dimension of both ground and air assets.
“This added dimension more fully accounts for a defense that would be required to help ensure the canal’s security and neutrality,” said Chanik. “The increased participation over previous years underscores the importance the international community places on freedom of navigation as a pillar of security and stability worldwide.”
During the exercise, 2nd Fleet will operate as a distributed staff, with a forward command element operating at the Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Va., coordinating with personnel remaining at the 2nd Fleet headquarters in Norfolk to lead a joint team comprised of elements from all branches of service.
The FA PANAMAX 2007 exercise scenario will include sea-based training devoted to maritime interdiction operations, and visit, boarding, search and seizure. Additionally, land-based training in Honduras will focus on command and control, stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.