Caribe: UNITAS Strengthens Atlantic Cooperation
By Dialogo January 01, 2013
For 53 years, the maritime exercise UNITAS — “unity” in Latin — has been
working to strengthen multinational interoperability and improve readiness to
respond to a crisis.
In 2012, 13 warships from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic,
Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States participated in the Atlantic phase
of the annual exercise, held September 17-28 in the western Caribbean. Each nation
headed a different component of the exercise, with the objective of using real-life
scenarios to test command and control at sea.
“The whole idea of this experience is to bring all these partner nations into
one multinational task force to respond to a crisis as a group,” Lieutenant
Commander Corey Barker, public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy’s 4th Fleet, told
Diálogo. “At first, communication was a little shaky ... but by the end of the
exercise, we were operating flawlessly as a multinational task force.”
The 2012 UNITAS Atlantic event was hosted by the United States and kicked off
in Key West, Florida, before heading to an area of the Caribbean near Honduras and
Guatemala. Scenarios included electronic warfare, anti-air warfare and air defense,
anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and maritime interdiction operations.
Subject-matter-expert exchanges, a program in its 12th year, allowed partner nations
to board each other’s ships and exchange insights and learn cultural differences.
“The Brazilian and Chilean and larger navies are very capable maritime
forces, and they have a lot to offer,” Lt. Cmdr. Barker said of the beneficial
mutual exchanges. The exercise also saw the participation of observers from France,
Jamaica, Panama and Peru.
UNITAS 2013 will be hosted by Colombia and based in Cartagena.
Source: U.S. Southern Command