The final operational phase of Exercise Tradewinds 2016 completed with the pomp and circumstance of a Caribbean ceremony Tuesday.
Representatives of the 18 partner nations as well as top officials from Jamaica and the United States branded the exercise a ringing success.
Maj. General Antony Anderson, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force, noted that participants arrived “with a clear desire to learn.” Planners, he said, worked to “ensure the exercise was useful and challenging.”
The ability to work together will help to meet real-world missions in a challenging environment, said Lt. General Joseph P. DiSalvo, Military Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command.
“This culminating event brought our forces together to test our collective ability to combat transnational criminal networks and illicit trafficking – two scourges that affect our countries,” he said.
Those sentiments were echoed by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who said the exercise was “an excellent example of cooperation.”
“It is no secret that this region has seen the impact of transnational organized crime within our borders,” he said.
Following up on Phase I, military and security forces from Caribbean nations joined the United States, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom for maritime and internal security and disaster response training in Jamaica as part of Phase II. Phase III, a Key Leader Seminar, will be conducted July 20-22 in Miami for key stakeholders and decision makers from the region.
Exercise Tradewinds supports the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a U.S. Department of State regional security partnership. Phase I and II are designed to conduct joint, interagency capacity building exercises for participating nations. Those exercises focus on increasing regional cooperation in complex, multinational security operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response operations.
Participating regional organizations include the Regional Security System (RSS), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and CARICOM.