MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Delegates from U.S. 4th Fleet met with members from the Chilean Navy for the annual Maritime Staff Talks hosted by 4th Fleet at Naval Station Mayport April 19-21.
Maritime Staff Talks were established to enhance professional exchanges and interoperability between South American and U.S. navies including discussions covering maritime operations, exercises and theater security cooperation events.
Staff talks provide a collaborative environment to share insight into each country's goals for maritime security.
Rear Adm. George Ballance, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet welcomed the Chilean delegates and highlighted the importance of the event.
"It is my pleasure to open the 2016 Maritime Staff Talks between Chile and the United States," said Ballance. "Our efforts this week will further the great cooperation between our navies, enhance our mutual security, and perhaps most importantly, continue to strengthen the friendship and trust between our two countries."
UNITAS Pacific 2015, a multilateral exercise, was hosted by Chile and focused heavily on developing and sustaining partnerships that improve the capacity of both U.S. and partner nation maritime forces.
"Since the last staff talks held in Vina del Mar in 2014, the Chilean Navy hosted an extremely successful UNITAS PAC in 2015 with the USS George Washington strike group and Air Wing," said Ballance. "As we look ahead, your leadership roles in combined exercises like PANAMAX, UNITAS and RIMPAC will continue to strengthen the links of communications and advance the interoperability between our navies."
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access and enhance interoperability to build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.