Southern Command Kicks Off Panama Canal Defense Exercise
Southern Command Kicks Off
Panama Canal Defense Exercise
From a U.S. Southern Command News
Miami, Florida – (DoD
news) – August 8, 2014 – Panamax 2014, an annual U.S. Southern
Command-sponsored multinational exercise focused on ensuring the defense of the
Panama Canal, kicks off today at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
Southcom and Marine Corps Forces South personnel based here,
as well as personnel at Navy Forces South in Mayport Naval Station in
Jacksonville, Florida, and Air Forces Southern at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
in Tucson, Arizona, are among the U.S. participants taking part in the exercise.
Sixteen additional nations will join the United States during
the seven-day exercise and will use simulations to command and control
multinational sea, air, cyber and land forces defending the vital waterway and
surrounding areas against threats from violent extremism, natural disasters and
pandemic outbreaks, officials said.
Participating nations this year include Brazil, Belize,
Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France,
Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the
Panamax has evolved over the years, officials said, and now
includes training for many of the 21st-century threats encountered in today’s
land, sea, air and cyber environments. The exercise aims to increase the ability
of nations to work together, enable assembled forces to organize as a
multination task force and test their responsiveness in combined operations,
This year’s mostly simulated exercise will include the use of
a B-52 bomber to support maritime detection and monitoring, the first time in
three years a live military asset is employed during exercise scenarios.
The Panama Canal is considered one of the most strategically
and economically crucial pieces of infrastructure in the world. Six percent of
the world’s trade travels through the canal every year, accounting for roughly
400 million tons of goods. It is crucial to the free flow of trade worldwide,
officials noted, and the region’s economic stability is largely dependent on the
safe transport of several million tons of cargo through the canal each year.
U.S. Southern Command is one of the nation’s six
geographically focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military
operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
U.S. Southern Command
Special Report: U.S. Southern Command
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