A delegation of officers from the Peruvian Navy worked along officers of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH) to set mid-term goals and objectives for cooperation between both institutions. The meeting took place at U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) headquarters in Florida, during the sixth Marine Corps Staff Talks of early June.
“The main purpose of the conference was to expand the planning framework set in previous regional marine conferences to enable management, development, execution, and follow-up of cooperation initiatives for the next five years,” Captain Daniel Valencia Jáuregui, chief of staff of the Peruvian Marine Corps, told Diálogo. “The initiatives were designed to increase interoperability in missions and tasks of our organizations.”
MARFORSOUTH’s strategic vision for Latin America and the Caribbean rests in multinational cooperation in hemispheric security. Its goal is to create a regional multinational amphibious force for crisis response or humanitarian aid, with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force as a main support. The task force is trained and equipped to conduct assigned operations in Latin America.
Increasing amphibious capacity and integrating Peruvian naval resources to carry out multinational amphibious exercises were among the agreements reached during the event. “The goal is to conduct the multinational amphibious exercise UNITAS in Peru in 2021, leading and planning a humanitarian aid scenario,” Capt. Valencia said. “Starting in 2022, we want to conduct real operations as part of a multinational force, with an amphibious task force involving surface, marine, air-naval, and logistics means.”
Military representatives also agreed to strengthen capabilities to carry out exercises against unconventional threats. The goal is to develop a doctrine for mechanized or motorized maneuvers in urban areas against irregular threats, shifting scenarios, lax or hostile environments, and plan the execution of civil-military, information, and intelligence operations.
“Transnational threats [such as narcotrafficking and terrorism] are no longer an individual state problem, but a global problem,” Peruvian Marine Corps Commander Eduardo Díaz, a special forces troop, told Diálogo. “We have to share information and make multinational combined efforts to counter these threats.”
The delegations agreed that training and instructional exchanges in the next few years will focus on integrating planning, command and control, and logistics processes, and emphasize on amphibious operations with ships, aircraft, and marines. In the medium term, they plan to form a multinational amphibious task force.
Amphibious task force
The operational concept for a multinational amphibious task force is to serve as the backbone of an amphibious detachment. It should consist entirely of naval contingents whose elements will have expeditionary capacity and power to organize a mission against the threat faced.
“The common interest in creating a multinational force helps direct the efforts of the Peruvian Navy toward its own amphibious task force with expeditionary capacity to be part of the multinational force,” Capt. Valencia said. “It’s a multipurpose, flexible, and mobile amphibious task force, capable of immediately deploying naval and air [resources] to project naval power ashore for crisis response or humanitarian aid.”
Strategic capabilities and missions
“Peru and the United States strengthen capabilities and integration by assessing operational procedures and protocols for ships, aircraft, and interactions among amphibious forces, and increase Peruvian officers exchanges in expeditionary units of the U.S. Marine Corps and academically in war colleges,” Capt. Valencia said. “The [U.S.] military academic level is high; instructors are very experienced,” Cmdr. Díaz added.
“Events such as the Marine Corps Staff Talks contribute to mutual understanding for navies of both countries. Training and academic exchanges must be put into practice in real operations in the Peruvian Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley,” Capt. Valencia concluded.