Representatives of more than 20 Navy and Marine Corps commands met Dec. 9-11 at Naval Station Mayport to plan for Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel (SPS-JHSV) 2015, a four-month deployment that will focus on subject-matter expert exchanges with partner nations.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) hosted the main planning conference for the mission, which is scheduled to begin in June and include events in Belize, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras – the same countries that participated in SPS-JHSV 2014.
Capt. Sam Hancock, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 40, who commanded SPS-JHSV 2014 and whose deputy, Capt. Errin Armstrong, will lead next year’s deployment, said:
We can build on what we did last year and pick up where we left off.
In an indication of the importance of integrating Navy and Marine Corps operations, a Marine will be the deputy mission commander.
As it did in 2014, Southern Partnership Station will operate from USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), a Military Sealift Command ship based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.
An important objective of the planning conference was determining what forces and equipment were available and how they would be used on the 2015 deployment, converting general plans into specifics.
Southern Partnership Station involves all three of U.S. SOUTHCOM’s lines of operation: security cooperation activities, maritime security operations and contingency operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Also as in 2014, Navy and Marine Corps units will join in Tradewinds, a SOUTHCOM-sponsored, multinational training exercise focused on improving cooperation and security in the region.
They will also carry out military construction projects such as building boat ramps, and barracks and outposts for partner-nation security forces that operate in remote areas.
Press release, Image: US Navy