Countries from across the Indo-Pacific region gather this month for the 18th Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise to counter piracy and smuggling.
This year’s exercise includes 14 ships and more than 400 personnel from 11 countries. It uses realistic scenarios to practice tracking, stopping, boarding and searching ships at sea.
“This year, more partner nations than ever have come to SEACAT to share their challenges and best practices,” said U.S. Rear Admiral Joey Tynch. “There’s no better place to strengthen our abilities to sense, share and respond than working together at sea.”
Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam are all taking part in SEACAT this year.
Beyond naval, coast guard and law enforcement training, the exercise provides an opportunity for the security forces of Indo-Pacific countries to share ideas and work alongside their regional neighbors.
The United States has “an enduring commitment to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, are secure in their sovereignty,” former Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in June. “The United States is a Pacific nation; we are linked to our Indo-Pacific neighbors through unbreakable bonds of shared history, culture, commerce, and values.”
Police officers with @maritime_hq train with @PacificFleet Sailors, @PacificMarines and the Royal Thai Navy in subduing techniques during #SEACAT2019, a multilateral exercise between #IndoPacific nations strengthening #partnerships to ensure a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific. pic.twitter.com/u4PDEcKXKY
— U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (@INDOPACOM) August 23, 2019