FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - Representatives from 41 nations concluded the at-sea portion of the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2013 (IMCMEX 13) May 23 in Bahrain.
Leaders for the exercise initially characterized it as an overwhelming success as they begin the analysis phase of the international exercise focused on mine countermeasure tactics, maritime infrastructure protection, and maritime security operations.
"We had representatives from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Western Pacific; in fact the only part of the world that wasn't represented was Antartica. That gives us a very good idea of the fact that many nations understand this is a global problem with global consequences that will require a global response," said Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces.
The at-sea portion of the three phased exercise included more than 6,500 Sailors from participating countries, and 35 ships which steamed over 8,000 nautical miles as part of the exercise. There were also 18 unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) that patrolled over 70 square nautical miles of the exercise area.
Commodore Simon Ancona from the U.K. Royal Navy served as the operational commander for this exercise.
"The things that we knew would be problematic did turn out to be challenging, but what was a pleasant surprise to me was how well we delivered them...The willingness to be flexible and adapt and pull together and overcome some of these challenges such as, communications, data transfer, getting used to tactics that worked for all as opposed to imposing one set of doctrine," said Ancona.
Both leaders pointed out in a press conference how lessons learned from this exercise can be immediately applied to other waterways around the world. They also delivered the overwhelming positive feedback from participating countries while acknowledging an appetite for future similar exercise.
The re-integration and analysis phase of the exercise is scheduled to conclude May 30.