U.S. Pacific Command Kicks
Off Exercise Fortune Guard
By Jim Garamone, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DOD
News) – July 29, 2014 – U.S. Pacific Command is hosting personnel from 31
nations as part of the proliferation security initiative Exercise Fortune Guard.
The exercise will be held in Hawaii and marks the beginning
of a six-year series of exercises that various “expert” nations in the region
will host. These are New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and
the United States.
The initiative seeks to stop the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction. Over its 11-year history, the initiative has built resolve and
capacity worldwide, said a senior defense official speaking on background.
The initiative began in 2003 with 11 endorsing nations. Today,
that number is up to 104. “What ties these nations together is their commitment
to act and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the
Exercises such as Fortune Guard have provided nations a forum
to demonstrate the intention to act and to enhance their capabilities and
capacity, the official said. The exercises help the nations share the best
tactics against proliferators. Since the initiative began, the nature of the
proliferation threat has changed, the official said, and the exercises are a way
to disseminate current information.
In 2003, the threat was the shipment of whole systems, the
official said. She pointed to North Korea’s attempt to export a full missile
system to Yemen in 2002.
Today, the problem is dual-use items. “This is a way that
nations can develop weapons of mass destruction related capabilities,” she said,
noting that these dual-use items are harder to track and harder to prove the
The world also is seeing a change in how proliferators
transport the materials. In the past, it was by sea. Now, officials are seeing
more smuggling by air and by land. “This makes it far more complex,” the
Therefore, the official said, Fortune Guard focuses on
dual-use commodities and diverse shipping modes. The initiative also stresses
the whole-of-government approach to meeting challenges, the official said.
“There may be a military or defense role as part of that whole of government
push, but all the diplomatic, customs, border [agencies] need to come together
for interdiction,” she added.
Fortune Guard will have a table-top exercise, a port exercise
and an exercise at sea. It also will have an academic seminar focused on
proliferation threats and trends and regional capabilities.
Specifically, exercise participants will observe a boarding
at sea of the USNS Henry J. Kaiser, which will act as a suspect vessel.
Japan and South Korea are contributing vessels and boarding teams, and Australia
is providing role players. Ashore, there will be a demonstration on how to
search a suspect aircraft.
Canadian officials will talk about the relationship between
the initiative and the United Nations. Norwegian officials will discuss lessons
learned from removing chemical weapons from Syria.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
U.S. Pacific Command
Special Report: U.S. Pacific Command
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