NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. –
NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. - Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, hosted delegates from the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil) for the 15th annual Maritime Staff Talks (MST) May 5.
Annual MSTs support the U.S. maritime strategy, “Advantage at Sea,” by building and strengthening working relationships between U.S. and respective partner nations' maritime forces through face-to-face meetings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talks occurred virtually via the All Partner Access Network (APAN) and the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS).
“The relationship between the U.S. and Brazilian Navies has never been stronger or more important,” said Gabrielson. “Our regular interactions create even closer ties for tomorrow. Relationships matter and we are grateful to have friends who share our values and strategic interests.”
Gabrielson, along with Col. Michael McWilliams, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South, and Capt. Ben Maule, U.S. Coast Guard Office of International Affairs, led the U.S delegation. Rear Adm. Gustavo Calero Garriga, Deputy Director of Operations for the Brazilian Navy, led the Brazil delegation. Numerous representatives from the Brazilian Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the event.
We work together, we fight together, this is important to us.” said Garriga. “The opportunity (with the MST) is to discuss points and by the end of the day ensure that the channels of communication are clear. It is important to keep the channels open and flowing.”
Delegates discussed upcoming 2021 operations and exercises to include PANAMAX, an annual multinational exercise focused on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal, and UNITAS LXII (62), the longest-running, multinational maritime exercise in the world. The U.S. Navy has invited Brazil to serve as host of UNITAS LXIII (63) in 2022, in honor of Brazil’s bicentennial. Additionally, the Brazilian Navy will assume command of Combined Task Force 151 in the Middle East commencing in May, a first for any South American Nation. These enduring engagements support enhanced interoperability between, not only our two navies, but with other regional and global partners. A long-term objective is our collaboration to develop a Brazilian Expeditionary Strike Group capability. This capability provides significant flexible deterrent options, whether in the South Atlantic or elsewhere.
“We have a long and successful working relationship with our Brazilian partners,” said Lowell ‘Mac’ McClintock, U.S. 4th Fleet Theater Security Cooperation Director. “The MST provides the best opportunity for us to synchronize those future operations which will improve our interoperability.”
MSTs with Brazil started in the early 2000s to synchronize the numerous engagements that both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps were conducting with their Brazilian counterparts, a robust schedule that has continued over the past 20 years.
The MST serves as a comprehensive engagement venue for all bilateral maritime security cooperation activities. Over the past year, U.S. and Brazilian engagements, such as the visit of the USS Vermont (SSN 792) to Brazil’s newest submarine base last December, continue to reflect our strong partnership.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
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