U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/4THFLT) is hosting the Combined Force Maritime Component Command (CFMCC) Staff participating in exercise PANAMAX 2022, in Mayport, Florida, Aug. 1-12, 2022.
Exercise PANAMAX 2022 is a U.S. Southern Command- (SOUTHCOM) sponsored exercise that provides important training opportunities for nations to work together and build upon the capability to plan and conduct complex multinational operations. The exercise scenario involves security and stability operations to ensure free flow of commerce through the Panama Canal.
U.S. forces participating in this year’s exercise include staff elements from SOUTHCOM, U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH), U.S. Marine Corps Forces South, U.S. Special Operations Command South, U.S. Air Forces Southern/12th Air Force, and USNAVSO/4THFLT, along with participants from 23 partner nations.
Approximately 300 sailors, marines, and public security forces will serve on the CFMCC staff under the leadership of Argentine Rear Admiral Marcelo Fernández, who serves as commander of the Atlantic Naval Area for the Argentine Navy.
“PANAMAX demonstrates our ability to ensure regional security and stability through multinational maritime operations in support of the Panama Canal,” said Rear Adm. Fernández. “I look forward to the opportunity to work together with the U.S. and our other partner nations during this important exercise.”
Under the exercise scenario, a multinational force has formed to execute a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for defense of the Panama Canal. The force includes air, land, and special-forces components, in addition to the maritime component, which will plan and conduct simulated operations in and around the canal and its surrounding waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
There are no live forces in this year’s PANAMAX. Instead, component staffs will work through a computer-aided scenario in support of the Multinational Forces South (MNFS) commander, Major General William Thigpen, ARSOUTH commanding general.
Forces will participate in the training at various U.S. locations including Joint Staff Exercise Directorate at Suffolk, Virginia; SOUTHCOM, Doral, Florida; Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Homestead, Florida; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona; and Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
For the fifth straight PANAMAX, the air, land, and maritime component commanders for the exercise are partner nation flag/general officers.
“PANAMAX provides an important opportunity to build on those lasting relationships we have developed with our partners,” said Rear Admiral Doug Sasse, reserve vice commander for USNAVSO/4THFLT, and the CFMCC deputy commander. “It also serves as invaluable platform for multinational forces to enhance capability, improve interoperability, and strengthen partnerships.”
USNAVSO, the exercise host, supports SOUTHCOM’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.