US, Canada address threats to undersea cable networks in tabletop drill

Focus groups attend the out brief and hot-wash closing out the 2018 Tri-Party Staff Talks tabletop exercise. Photo: US Navy

Fleet commanders from the US and Canada met in Halifax from June 19 to 21 for tri-party talks on future maritime operations between their forces.

In addition to talks, US Fleet Forces (USFF) Command and the US Coast Guard joined Canadian Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force Atlantic for the 2018 Frontier Sentinel tabletop exercise at Canadian Armed Forces Base Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Frontier Sentinel is an annual exercise between all three organizations that was conducted as a live exercise running three to five days from 2006 to 2016. In 2017, the exercise changed to a facilitated discussion and table-top exercises.

This year’s exercise focused on nefarious and suspicious activities in the vicinity of the undersea cable networks of the two countries, expanding on last year’s iteration of the exercise and focusing on the face-to-face collaborative planning process with the operations, intelligence, communication and public affairs working groups.

“It’s these kind of exercises and staff talks that enhance and build upon our joint interagency and international relationships,” said USFF Reserve Deputy Maritime Operations Rear Adm. Brian S. Hurley. “They directly strengthen our ability to respond to any kind of crises and lay the groundwork for protecting the collective maritime interests of the U.S., its allies and partners.”

The talks evaluated the joint organizations’ ability to conduct inter-organizational communications at the operational and tactical levels, achieve and maintain shared maritime domain awareness, and conduct collaborative operational planning. All groups will be required to identify any problems, considerations, constraints and restraints they are likely to encounter within this scenario.

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