PUERTO BELGRANO, Argentina (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Admiral Sean Buck attended the annual Maritime Staff Talks (MST) hosted by the Argentine navy's Acting Commander of Training and Readiness, Rear Admiral Rafael Prieto in Puerto Belgrano, Argentina from Mar. 12-14.
The MST with the senior Argentine naval officers supports the U.S. global maritime strategy by building and strengthening our working relationships and improving our interoperability with partner nations through these face-to-face meetings.
This is the first time Argentina has hosted an MST since 2008, and the second MST between the U.S. and Argentine navies since restarted them in 2017. These staff talks are an integral component to each country's ability to communicate and facilitate operations together.
This visit by Rear Adm. Buck served as an opportunity to continue building on the goodwill established during last year's (2017) MST.
"Our staff talks last year laid the foundation for a reinvigorated partnership with Argentina," said Cmdr. Rene Laverde, U.S. 4th Fleet regional engagement desk officer. "Since opening our lines of communication with the Argentine navy last spring, it allowed us, the U.S. Navy, to respond quickly to their request for support to the search for the Argentine submarine San Juan after it went missing last Nov. 15."
Amongst the actions agreed to during this year's MST was Argentine participation in exercises UNITAS 2018 and PANAMAX 2018. UNITAS is the largest annual multilateral exercise conducted between the U.S. and many of its partner navies in the USSOUTHCOM AOR, while PANAMAX is a multilateral joint exercise intended to improve the ability of participating armed forces to work and operate together in defense of the Panama Canal.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) fulfills the maritime role within U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations. USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT employs maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, fortify the ability of U.S. forces to work together with partner nations, and build enduring partnerships with the ultimate goal of enhancing regional security and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central, and South American regions.
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