Exercise PANAMAX 2022 is a U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) sponsored exercise that provides important training opportunities for nations to work together and build upon the capability to plan and conduct complex multinational operations. The exercise scenario involves security and stability operations to ensure free flow of commerce through the Panama Canal.
U.S. forces participating in this year’s exercise include staff elements from USSOUTHCOM, U.S. Army South, U.S. Marine Forces South, Special Operations Command South, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, along with participants from 23 partner nations.
Approximately 300 Sailors, Marines, and public security forces will serve on the CFMCC staff under the leadership of Argentine Rear Adm. Marcelo Fernandez, who serves as Commander, Atlantic Naval Area for the Argentine Navy.
“PANAMAX demonstrates our ability to ensure regional security and stability through multi-national maritime operations in support of the Panama Canal,” said Fernandez. “I look forward to the opportunity to work together with the U.S. and our other partner nations during this important exercise.”
Under the exercise scenario, a multinational force has formed to execute a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for defense of the Panama Canal. The force includes air, land and special-forces components, in addition to the maritime component, which will plan and conduct simulated operations in and around the canal and its surrounding waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
There are no live forces in this year’s PANAMAX. Instead, component staffs will work through a computer-aided scenario in support of the Multinational Forces South (MNFS) Commander, Maj. Gen. William Thigpen, Commanding General, U.S. Army South.
Forces will participate in the training at various U.S. locations including Joint Staff Exercise Directorate at Suffolk, Va.; U.S. Southern Command, Doral, Fla.; Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Homestead, Fla.; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz.; and Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
For the fifth straight PANAMAX, the air, land, and maritime component commanders for the exercise are partner nation flag/general officers.
“PANAMAX provides an important opportunity to build on those lasting relationships we have developed with our partners,” said Rear Adm. Doug Sasse, Reserve Vice Commander for U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, and the CFMCC Deputy Commander. “It also serves as invaluable platform for multinational forces to enhance capability, improve interoperability, and strengthen partnerships.”
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, the exercise host, supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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