By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dan Meaney, Commander Task Force 73 Public Affairs
The seventh annual Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) exercise began in , Aug. 18. Designed to focus information sharing, cooperation and coordination, SEACAT brings six countries together for simultaneous bilateral exercises with the .
The multifaceted exercises present participants with realistic situations involving criminal and terrorist threats requiring international coordination, communication and decision-making. SEACAT also provides participants with practical maritime interception training opportunities to enhance the maritime security and interoperability of the participating forces.
USS Tortuga (LSD 46) is serving as an information fusion center for the various liaison officers from , , , and . Indonesian observers are also on board.
Capt. Michael W. Selby, commander, Destroyer Squadron One, is directing the exercise task force on behalf of Rear Adm. Nora W. Tyson, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, the executive agent for SEACAT. Selby said the success of maritime security operations depends upon effective collaboration.
Each of the navies participating in the exercise operates bilaterally with the U.S. Navy. A team of officers works with liaison officers from the participating forces to analyze situations and produce recommended solutions for proposal to their individual national headquarters. The officers are also collaborating to plan maritime interception operations within the scenario.
Ships involved in the exercises include Tortuga, USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Ford (FFG 54), USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC 722) and U.S. military sealift command ships USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK 3010) and USNS Cpl. Louis J. Hauge (T-AK 3011). In addition, a P-3C from VP-16 is participating in the exercise.