With the aim of increasing interoperability, readiness, and strengthening ties of friendship and cooperation, the navies of the United States and Chile completed a new edition of naval exercise Teamwork South, October 6-12, between the regions of Coquimbo and Valparaíso, in central Chile.
“There is a manifest interest in terms of developing greater coordination capabilities,” Guillermo Holzmann, a defense analyst and academic at the University of Valparaíso, Chile, told Diálogo on November 18. “[This] is not only from a military viewpoint, but it is geared toward the region, toward rescue capabilities, and everything in terms of monitoring associated with climate change, changing currents, rising oceans, etc. They are a series of elements from the environmental viewpoint and their derived modifications.”
The exercise has been carried out since 1995 and this edition involved surface, submarine, and naval air units. The Chilean Navy participated with the frigate Almirante Lynch, among other assets. The U.S. Navy was present with the destroyer USS Momsen, a nuclear submarine, and several fixed and rotary wing aircraft, Chilean news site Vortexx reported.
“This was an opportunity where we were able to measure ourselves in some way with other institutions, with other forces; especially the U.S. Navy,” Rear Admiral Roberto Zegers, commander of the Chilean Navy Squadron, told U.S.-based SeaWaves Magazine. “This way we get to a more complex level of training with units such as a nuclear submarine, which we don’t normally have on our shores.”
An important part of this edition of Teamwork South were the activities focused on opinion and analysis exchange, which allow for professional ties of friendship to form among crews that are kept up throughout the years.
A Women, Peace, and Security panel was also carried out on board the frigate Lynch, the Chilean Navy said, adding that the naval institution has processes for the incorporation of women in different areas, including the entry of the first female cadets to the Naval School in 2007.
“Chile is gradually advancing to have greater incorporation of women [in its armed forces] and to be able to understand the logic of operations within a unit that requires a high level of coordination, of communication, and of situational evaluation,” Holzmann said. “With this rational, women have an increasingly important role […] with greater executive decision-making. A concept that, in the case of the United States, is quite advanced, so much so that there are female generals and rear admirals in charge of armies and entire fleets.”
“The contribution between the U.S. Navy and the Chilean Navy is mutual,” Chilean Navy Captain Juan Francisco Morales, public relations officer of the Naval Operations Command, told Diálogo. “This is exemplified through highly complex exercises with units of different classes, as well as the transfer of experiences in different areas of operations, communications, and procedures.”
“Training in the submarine environment allows both forces to exercise in one of the most complex operating environments that exist at sea and, at the same time, to have the possibility of executing it with first class units,” Capt. Morales added. “Teamwork South 2023 is a unique opportunity for training and experience exchange […] and at the same time allows to demonstrate the high level of interoperability of Chilean Navy units.”
“This version, brief but intense, allowed us to demonstrate that both navies can operate in any place and under different types of scenarios,” Rear Adm. Zegers said in a statement. “The exercises were conducted safely, with no incidents to lament […] and all the initial objectives were met: interoperability, cooperation, and partnership.”