Navies from more than 30 nations from six continents met in Manama, Bahrain, in September 2012, for the most widely attended international exercise held in the region.International Mine Counter-measures Exercise (IMCMEX) 12 was the first of
what is intended to be a recurring partnership event.
“This exercise is about mines and the international effort to clear them,” said Vice Admiral John W. Miller, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. “Represented here are the best of our individual countries’ efforts dedicated to securing the global maritime commons.”
The exercise occurred in three phases. The first was a symposium, in which senior leaders from participating countries exchanged ideas and viewed the latest mine hunting, sweeping and neutralization technologies provided by a panel of industry representatives and presenters.
In the second phase, ships, crews and observers trained together to prepare
for the tactical execution. During the tactical execution phase — the final portion of IMCMEX 12 — ships in three geographic areas conducted at-sea maneuvers, which included mine-hunting operations, helicopter mine countermeasure operations, international Explosive Ordnance Disposal mine hunting and diving operations, and small boat operations focused on underwater improvised explosive devices.The exercise ended with leaders, liaison officers and observers gathering to discuss lessons learned during the three phases to further foster interoperability among participants.
The U.S. Central Command area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, composed of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.