U.S. and Thai militaries training together on maritime security
With lawlessness on the high seas increasingly becoming a global security issue, thousands of sailors and marines from the United States and Thailand joined forces last week for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2015, a series of bilateral naval training exercises that the two countries have conducted for 21 years.
“CARAT 2015 will allow our forces to continue enhancing our interoperability while addressing shared maritime security priorities,” said U.S. Navy Capt. H.B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. “The exercise demonstrates our commitment to our regional partnerships and stability and security in the Asia-Pacific.”
The continuation of the CARAT exercises is a testament to the enduring alliance between Thailand and the United States. Thailand is the oldest treaty ally of the United States in Asia, having signed their first bilateral pact in 1833. The two nations’ armed forces have fought side by side and served in peacekeeping missions together for the past 75 years. The U.S. State Department notes that Thailand’s “stability and growth are important for the maintenance of peace and security in the region.”
The U.S. conducts CARAT trainings with a number of allies and security partners around the world. The Thailand phase of CARAT 2015 consists of eight days of shore-based and at-sea trainings that will run through Sept. 3 in Thai territorial waters and on land. The trainings are designed to address shared maritime security concerns, build relationships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces.
The seas around and near Thailand present a range of security challenges, from pirates operating the Straits of Malacca, to human trafficking and drug smuggling in the Andaman and South China Seas, and regional maritime and boundary disputes. Naval capabilities have also been essential in responses to disasters, natural and man-made, such as during the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami.
CARAT Thailand focuses on maritime security training, but this year’s exercise will have increased emphasis on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search and rescue, and community outreach activities.
More than 1,000 U.S. military members are taking part in CARAT Thailand alongside their counterparts from the Royal Thai Armed Forces. The exercises include will amphibious landings, surface warfare drills, visit, board, search and seizure demonstrations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, coastal riverine training, diving and salvage operations, and community outreach engagements by U.S. Navy Seabees and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band.
“CARAT Thailand continues to be a great venue to promote regional security cooperation,” said Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73. “Twenty-one years of CARAT brings complexity and sophistication to this exercise, which allows our navies to refine tactics and enhance readiness to meet emerging maritime challenges.”
Thailand Focus August 31st, 2015
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