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PANAMAX is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored multinational training exercise series that focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal.  Personnel from 17 nations, including the United States, are taking part in simulated training scenarios from various U.S. locations.

Satellite photo of Panama, 2003 (Courtesy NASA)

Satellite photo of Panama, 2003 (Courtesy NASA)


Aug. 13: PANAMAX participants learn from one another

Aug. 13: 20th CBRNE Soldiers head south for Panamax (

Aug. 12: B-52s hone long-range ISR capabilities during PANAMAX 14 (

Aug. 8: SOUTHCOM kicks off Panama Canal defense exercise (


PANAMAX 2014 focuses on the defense of the Panama Canal and the Central American region by a multinational combined/joint task force.  PANAMAX exercises a variety of responses to any request from the governments of Panama and Colombia to protect and guarantee safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal and ensure its neutrality.

Simulated training for PANAMAX 2014 will be held at locations throughout the United States, including Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Homestead, Fla.; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz.; Joint and Coalition Warfighting center, Suffolk, Va.; U.S. Southern Command, Miami; and Naval Station Mayport, Fla.

This exercise is designed to execute stability operations under the support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions; provide interoperability training for the participating multinational staffs; and build participating nation capability to plan and execute complex multinational operations.

PANAMAX 2014 develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of partner nation security forces to achieve common desired goals, while fostering friendly cooperation and understanding among participating forces.

Importance of PANAMAX Training

The Panama Canal is critical to the free flow of trade in the region and the entire world. The region's economy and political stability largely depend on the safe transport of several hundred million tons of cargo through the canal each year. 

PANAMAX 2014 is designed to ensure plans are in place to respond to requests from the government of Panama. PANAMAX has evolved over the years and now includes training for many of the 21st-century threats encountered in today’s land, sea, air and cyber environments.

Training Involved

The training will involve simulations to command and control multinational sea, air, land, cyber and land forces defending the vital waterway and surrounding areas against threats from violent extremism, natural disasters, and pandemic outbreaks. This year’s mostly-simulated exercise includes the use of a B-52 to support maritime detection and monitoring, the first time in three years a live military asset is employed during exercise scenarios.

Participating Nations

Brazil, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States.

U.S. Military Participants

SOUTHCOM and Marine Corps Forces South personnel, headquartered in Miami, as well as personnel at Navy Forces South in Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville, Fla., and Air Forces Southern at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., are among the U.S. participants taking part in the exercise.

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