SEACAT is a multilateral exercise designed to enhance cooperation among Southeast Asian countries and provide mutual support and common purpose in addressing crises, contingencies and illegal activities in the maritime domain using tactics, standard techniques and procedures. In a welcome return to normalcy, SEACAT 2022 was a large-scale in-person exercise after mostly virtual engagements and non-contact at-sea phases over the previous two years.
“These past two weeks have reiterated what we already knew – our nations and maritime forces are smarter and stronger when we share information and work together.” said Capt. Tom Ogden, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. “The in-person multilateral collaboration showcased in SEACAT has undoubtedly enhanced our relationship and promoted maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.”
Twenty-one partner nations participated in the exercise, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. , UK, USA and Vietnam.
Ashore, SEACAT included a Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Seminar which included presentations, live question and answer sessions, panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions with representatives from all participating nations as well as international organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia.
“The expertise contributed by participating international and non-governmental organizations was invaluable and provided a realistic context for our multinational maritime exercise,” Ogden said.
Non-military participants included members of the EU Critical Maritime Route Wider Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (LKYSPP NUS), The Pew Charitable Trusts, Risk Intelligence, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Stable Seas and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The land phase also involved an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Workshop which brought together UAS programs from across the region to share best practices in UAS employment, planning and operation to develop and to improve the MDA.
“This joint exercise presented unique training opportunities for international information sharing and strengthened trusted partnerships among all nations involved,” said Vice Admiral Andrew Tiongson, Commander Pacific Area of the Guard. coastal. “Maritime domain awareness, which includes valuable input, collaboration and unity of effort from all partners, is essential to maritime governance and security in the region.”
The at-sea phase included boarding operations by multiple nations across the contracted vessel, designed to provide training opportunities in real-world environments at sea. The U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team (USCG MSRT) boarded the vessel and facilitated interdictions and participant boardings, building on skills practiced during the phase-to-phase Visit, Advice, Search and Seizure (VBSS) workshop. earth.
Alongside the maritime phase, a command post exercise at the Singapore Information Fusion Center served as a centralized hub for sharing information in contracted merchant vessel tracking simulating suspected vessels of interest in the seas of Southeast Asia.
“As the 21st iteration of the SEACAT series of exercises, 2022 underscores SEACAT’s longstanding role as a key venue for regional allies and partners to address common maritime security priorities and concerns,” said said Ogden. “We look forward to following SEACAT with routine day-to-day cooperation and then increased complexity and collaboration when we meet again for SEACAT 2023.”
U.S. Navy participants included personnel from DESRON 7, P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Task Force 72, and personnel from Task Force 76, the U.S. 7th Fleet, and the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
As the US Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 is the primary tactical and operational commander of the rotationally deployed littoral combat ships in Singapore, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.
Under the command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the 7th Fleet is the largest forward-deployed numbered fleet in the U.S. Navy, and regularly interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.