SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval and merchant maritime experts partnered together to deliver enhanced maritime domain awareness (MDA) for the first time in a Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in 2018.
MDA is the ability to maintain situational awareness of sea-going vessel movements, and is used to assess the normal patterns of life on major trade routes. Their interaction provided an adaptive capability that is an important part of maritime security operations.
This capability is a critical supporting element in the effort to maintain freedom of navigation, which requires highly-trained, competent, and confident personnel that are developed through exercises like RIMPAC.
During the exercise, the U.S. Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) partnered with Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) representatives to enhance the maritime battle space picture and enhance leadership decision making options in the Southern California (SOCAL) areas of operation. NCAGS and OCIMF advises senior leaders on the potential impact of maritime security events on the global economy.
"This is the fourth consecutive RIMPAC I've participated in, and I've watched the continued development of NGAGS' interaction with warfare commander staffs," said U.S. Navy Capt. Elliott Donald, training officer for Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center's (SMWDC) Mine Warfare Division. "The capability and expertise they bring isn't an intuitive skill, and their continued participation in RIMPAC and other exercises is valuable training for all participants."
NCAGS representatives served as staff advisers to both Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Armada de Chile Commodore Pablo Niemann and Combined Task Force (CTF) 177 Commander Rear Adm. Dave Welch during RIMPAC.
"For the first time in a RIMPAC exercise we had representatives of the international merchant shipping community join the operations planning staff," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Montano, NCAGS training officer and member of CTF 177 during the exercise.
OCIMF representatives were situated with CTF 177 in the Southern California (SOCAL) operating area as part of mine warfare operations, helping the international combined task force maintain sea control, and open sea lines of communication for all mariners.
"This was a great opportunity for us to work on building our mutually beneficial relationships," said Russell Pegg, OCIMF representative. "The capability we build through training together will help support our mission to keep sea lanes open and assist in ensuring the safety of all mariners - naval and merchant."
Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 27 to Aug. 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c3f/.