US Navy, Timor-Leste Defense Force Conduct CARAT

The U.S. Navy and Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) will conduct the third Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in Dili, Timor-Leste, and in the vicinity of Port Hera Naval Base on July 27-28th.

CARAT Timor-Leste is part of an annual bilateral exercise series between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of nine partner nations, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. As a longstanding exercise series in Southeast Asia, CARAT enables regional navies to work together through cooperative training events, exchanges, and symposia.

“CARAT Timor-Leste provides an outstanding venue to broaden our partnership with the Timor-Leste Defense Force based on shared security interests,” said Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force (CTF) 73. “Through our bilateral training and exchanges, our Sailors are working side-by-side with their Timor-Leste counterparts, creating meaningful professional relationships and enhancing cooperation between our navies.”

During this year’s CARAT exercise, U.S. Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 and security personnel assigned to Navy Coastal Riverine Group 1 will conduct civil-engineer exchanges and security training with Timor-Leste defense forces.

CARAT Timor-Leste also includes a community service and outreach project providing an opportunity for U.S. and Timor-Leste defense forces to interact with the local community. Approximately 400 service members from the two militaries will participate in this year’s exercise.

CARAT is one aspect of the growing U.S. and Timor-Leste partnership, which has included annual port calls by U.S. Navy ships, visits by senior U.S. Navy and Marine Corps leaders, and ongoing civic action projects by U.S. Navy Seabees deployed to Timor-Leste, over the past decade.

Following CARAT Timor-Leste, additional bilateral phases of CARAT will occur from August through November 2015 with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The exercises will provide a regional venue to develop strong maritime partnerships that contribute to the greater peace and stability of the region.

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