Coast Guard, law enforcement and military ground forces from the 15 Caribbean Partner Nations, the U.S., and Canada gathered in Barbados from June 15-24 for Exercise Tradewinds 2012.
Tradewinds is an annual U.S. Southern Command, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, inter-agency, multinational exercise designed to enhance the collective abilities of Caribbean Partner Nation Defense Forces and constabularies to Counter Transnational Organized Crime, and conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.
In its 28th year, Tradewinds 2012 was hosted by Barbados consisted of practical ground forces training, practical maritime training and a virtual Command Post Exercise (CPX). This year’s edition also marked the first time a Tradewinds host nation’s National Emergency Operation Center and Joint Operation Center have joined together with the Caribbean Community/Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Regional Security System and U.S. military and law enforcement agencies to conduct the exercise.
The CPX portion was arguably the most important part of the event this year for those involved in both conducting and participating in the training because it augmented the partnerships between the participating partner nations.
The goal of the training this year was to maximize and optimize the interoperability of the Regional Security System coming into Barbados as if an event happened here, said Maj. Carlos Davila, exercise plans officer with Marine Forces South and Chief Controller of the CPX.
The exercise has been successful in serving to shed some light on areas that need to be re-worked in order to make the effort more efficient in the future, said Maj. Davila. “It gives us a chance to see where we can coordinate our response better to disaster relief or criminal activity,” said Carl Williams, Royal Barbados Police Force community officer and a training conductor in the CPX.
Barbadians were placed in the decision-making roles in order for them to gain the maximum benefit of the exercise here in their home nation.
“We placed partner nations in staff positions to support Barbados in command positions because they would normally head the operation here anyway,” said Maj. Davila.
Tradewinds 2012 provided the opportunity for interagency and international training between partner nations. This developed and maintained participating regional civil and maritime services’ capabilities to respond to a variety of missions while exercising vital information sharing and coordinating lines of communication between exercise participants.