Delegates from U.S. 4th Fleet met with members of the Chilean navy Nov. 25-26 during the annual Operational Naval Committee (ONC) conference hosted by 4th Fleet at Naval Station Mayport.
The purpose of the ONC to discuss and plan upcoming maritime operations, exercises, and theater security cooperation events that the U.S. and Chile intend to conduct.
The ONC brings together representatives from the U.S. and Chilean navy so they may meet in person and share insights on their countries mutual goals of maritime security in Latin America.
Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/Commander U.S. 4th Fleet welcomed the Chilean delegates and talked about the importance of the ONC.
“This is a great opportunity for our navies to continue building on the close friendship, strong cooperation and mutual respect that is essential in our partnership of equals. Our navies have a very long history together in the Americas and beyond. And we are committed to enhancing stability and prosperity for both our nations,” Harris said.
The U.S. and Chile have a strong maritime partnership and have conducted several multinational exercises and operations together. In 2010, Chile hosted the Pacific phase of UNITAS 52, where USS Boone (FFG 28) and USS Thach (FFG 43) along with ships from four other countries participated in the two-week long multinational exercise designed to enhance security cooperation and improve coalition operations.
Teamwork South, a biannual exercise focusing heavily on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) was also conducted in 2010 off the coast of Chile. The exercise allowed for joint ASW operations utilizing surface, air and underwater assets from the Chilean, French, Royal and U.S. navies. Additionally in October, a four-man team from MDSU 2 assisted Chilean officials as they searched for a Chilean aircraft that crashed off the coast of Chile.
In Feb. of 2013, the U.S. and Chilean navy participated in the Diesel Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) and CHILEMAR IV.
DESI is a partnership that allows the United States and other partner navies to work together to train and test underwater warfare capabilities through engagement tactics, weapon system tests and close encounter operations. This particular training evolution helps the American and Peruvian navies train their crews and test capabilities while helping foster bilateral cooperation and further improve joint interoperability.
CHILEMAR is an annual bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Chile, which is designed to demonstrate interoperability between U.S. submarine rescue systems and Chilean submarines. The exercise also promotes greater understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and Chile.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility.
Press Release, November 27, 2013; Image: Navy