PANAMAX 2018 concluded at U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT), where 314 U.S. and partner nation personnel comprised the Combined Force Maritime Component Command (CFMCC) portion of the annual exercise, Aug. 10.
The annual multinational exercise develops and sustains relationships that allow partner-nation security forces in the region to achieve common goals, increase cooperation, and improve understanding.
PANAMAX began in 2003 with three countries, Chile, Panama and the United States, and originally focused solely on the maritime security of the Panama Canal. Since that time, the exercise has grown to become the region's largest coalition Command Post Exercise and one of the largest command post exercises in the world, ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal, one of the most strategically and economically crucial pieces of infrastructure in the world.
PANAMAX 2018 was led by Brazilian Rear Adm. Fernando Cozzolino who served as the CFMCC commander, and Rear Adm. Linda Wackerman who served as his deputy commander.
Since inception, partner nations have continued to take increased leadership roles in the exercise. This year, Colombia led the Combined Force Land Component Command (CFLCC), Brazil led the CFMCC, and Argentina led the Combined Force Special Operations Component Command (CFSOCC).
“We build partnerships, we build friendships, and we develop trust", said Rear Adm. Sean Buck, commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. “I think you all have heard this saying before; trust cannot be surged, it cannot just appear in a time of crisis, it has to be grown and earned over time, and these exercises serve to do just that.”