Maritime planners from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet and the Ecuadorean Navy conducted a virtual Final Planning Conference (FPC) September 22-25 in support of the upcoming UNITAS LXI exercise, scheduled to occur November 2-11, 2020 in Ecuador.
Ecuadorean Navy Rear Admiral Daniel Ginéz, commander of Naval Operations and First Naval Zone, and Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet, opened the conference on September 22, thanking participants for their commitment to building a successful proposed schedule of events.
More than 60 planners from 11 partner nations, including representatives from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army participated in this conference. The virtual conference finalized the UNITAS LXI concept of operations, completed the tentative schedule of events, and finalized assigned roles and responsibilities.
UNITAS LXI is scheduled to have multiple underway events to include maneuvering exercises advancing to coordinated warfare events and culminating with a multi-threat, multi-day scenario that allows participants to work together as a multinational force. Additionally, several live-fire events are scheduled for UNITAS LXI, to include a sinking exercise (SINKEX).
“This is the team that will come together and we will celebrate our friendship and our partnership in a meaningful way to demonstrate our commitment to the world in working together […]. I’m grateful for all of the hard work of every person, of every partner, of every leader and every country to come to this point,” said Rear Adm. Gabrielson.
UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” is the longest-running, multinational maritime exercise in the world. Conceived in 1959, UNITAS I took place in 1960. UNITAS LXI will focus on interoperability at sea with warfighting exercises, to include live-fire events, that work up to a multi-day scenario phase where participating forces come together to operate as a multinational force.