Naval maritime forces from 19 countries are gathering in Lima, Peru, to kick off the 58th iteration of the annual multilateral exercise UNITAS. The meeting will conclude on July 26.
This year's exercise will be hosted by Peru and commanded by Peruvian navy Rear Adm. Alberto Alcala. Participating countries include the United States, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Panama, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
While participating in UNITAS 2017, U.S. forces will be under the operational control of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 138/U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) Rear Adm. Sean Buck.
The combined landing force will be under the command of Capitan de Navo Victor Robles, Peruvian Marine Corps, with Marine Col. Paul Konopka as his deputy.
The U.S. forces participating in the exercise are drawn from across the country and include Navy and Coast Guard vessels, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, and Marine ground units.
UNITAS 2017 is comprised of two phases, UNITAS Pacific and UNITAS Amphibious, both occurring concurrently with multinational partners.
UNITAS Pacific is designed to train each navy to conduct combined naval operations through the execution of littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interdiction operations, countering transnational organized crime, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, communications exercises, and air and amphibious operations in order to increase the capabilities of participating naval and marine forces.
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH), in conjunction with USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT, the Peruvian navy and marines, and other regional partner nations will conduct UNITAS Amphibious in the vicinity of Callao, Ancon and Salinas de Huacho, Peru.
UNITAS Amphibious is designed to enhance interoperability and improve partner nations' ability to plan combined amphibious operations, stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in the region, and further develop common practices and procedures that result in common doctrine for use in future operations.
UNITAS began in 1960, making it the world's longest-running annual multinational maritime exercise. UNITAS, which means "unity" in Latin, is a demonstration of U.S. commitment to the region and to the value of the strong relationships forged between our partner militaries.
UNITAS has evolved over many years and now includes training for 21st century threats that are encountered in today's maritime environment. By training with our Caribbean, Central and South American counterparts, U.S. forces further develop professional understanding and mutual respect with our regional partner nations by sharing best practices and expertise, and will gain new knowledge about each other's culture and people throughout the exercise.
USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT and MARFORSOUTH support USSOUTHCOM's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central, and South American regions.