Commissioner Adrián González Grossett, head of the Panama East Brigade, a component of the National Border Service (SENAFRONT), the branch of the Panamanian Public Force in charge of land operations nationwide, was among hiscountry’s representatives for multinational exercise PANAMAX 2022. Diálogo spoke with Commissioner González at the end of the PANAMAX activities.
Diálogo: Why is exercise PANAMAX still relevant?
Commissioner Adrián González, head of SENAFRONT’s Panama East Brigade:Because the Panama Canal is a very important infrastructure for the world. We, like the rest of the 18 countries, are training during this event, which at the end of the day leaves us with a great experience, in defense of this fundamental infrastructure for the planet. We are also contributing our knowledge and learning from the knowledge of the commanders of other countries.
Diálogo: Do you believe that an exercise like this gives the Panamanian citizens a sense of safety in the region, that the other countries are united in protecting the canal?
Commissioner González: Of course! This sends a very direct message. Our country looks very good in the face of this because the protection of our infrastructure is needed. In the end it is a globalinfrastructure, it’s not only Panama’s. The whole world transits through it. The whole world passes through it, and everyone benefits from this type of exercise.
Diálogo: In addition to being a key country in the exercise, what else did Panama contribute to PANAMAX 2022?
Commissioner González: We also contributed forces to the exercise. Although the forces are not deployed, it’s only for a situation of an eventual attack. We also contribute our knowledge of the environment, of the area, and of other parts. More than anything else, we feed off the knowledge of other countries.
Diálogo: What was your main lesson learned with PANAMAX 2022?
Commissioner González: The main lesson learned is that the most important thing here is the synchronization in communication among the different participating countries, because coming out of this event we can all communicate with each other in any situation that may arise, not only with Panama, but with any of the other countries.
Diálogo: Is it easy to work together with so many countries?
Commissioner González: I don’t know if it’s easy, but we’re used to it. In Panama there are three forces: the National Border Service, the National Police, and the National Air and Naval Service. Each one plays an important role in national security, working together. So, we are used to interoperability. We maintain interoperability among our own forces and with nearby countries like Colombia and Costa Rica.
Diálogo: What is the importance of working with U.S. Southern Command(SOUTHCOM)?
Commissioner González: It’s very important. We’ve always worked closely with SOUTHCOM; it’s very important for us. We learn a lot from them, and we always maintain that interconnection for any future events.