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News | Aug. 17, 2023

Continuing Promise 2023 Partners Host HA/DR Training for First Responders in Almirante, Panama

By Lt.j.g. Nickolas West, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet

ALMIRANTE, Panama – Local first responders partnered with U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Public-Private Cooperation Office (PPC), U.S. SOUTHCOM Non-Federal Entities (NFEs) and U.S. Navy personnel in a collaborative effort to engage in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) training in Almirante, Panama, August 14-15, 2023.

The training took place during the first stop of the Continuing Promise 2023 mission in Almirante. It consisted of 38 partner nation security forces and 50 total participants to include U.S. Navy personnel, U.S. SOUTHCOM NFEs, and Civil Affairs.

This year’s mission is being supported by expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Burlington (T-EFP 10) with stops in Panama, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada with a focus on medical engagements, HADR, women’s peace and security, and community outreach.

“We are very appreciative of the United States Government, the Panamanian Embassy, the crew of the USNS Burlington, and the United States Southern Command, to give us this support not only this year, but for many years prior,” said Melissa Rivera, National and Civil Protection System Chief of Operations. “We are looking to continue what we have learned through these trainings and continuous work.”

U.S. SOUTHCOM’s PPC Office currently has 12 non-federal entities and interagency partners participating in the Continuing Promise 2023 mission. Public Private Cooperation partners are enhancing the mission with disaster response expertise and humanitarian aid donations in support of all mission stops. The U.S. utilizes Non-Federal Entities in order to respond quicker and more effectively to assist partner nations in the event of a crisis.

While in Almirante, members of Panama’s Department of Security, Sistema Nacional de Protecciόn Civil (SINAPROC), Servicio Nacional de Fronteras (SENAFRONT), Bomberos de Panama firefighters, and Servicio Nacional Aeronaval (SENAN) attended the training. Throughout the duration of Continuing Promise 2023, members of each country's national disaster agency, national police, national firefighters, and the Red Cross have expressed plans to participate in their respective countries.

During the Continuing Promise 2023 mission in Almirante, Panama, U.S. SOUTHCOM’s PPC Office and U.S. SOUTHCOM NFE partners My Medic, Global Response Center, Team Rubicon, St. George University, New Century International, Pacific Disaster Center, USAID/BHA (U.S. Agency for International Development/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance), Health and Human Services, GOOD 360, Lift Non-Profit Logistics, and CORE will participate in many different events, trainings, and community engagements.

“The unwavering dedication and leadership displayed by the members of the Panama Department of Security has paved the way for the U.S. Southern Command's Public Private Cooperation Office and Partner Non-Federal Entities to seamlessly engage in training with Panama's first responders,” stated U.S. Navy Capt. Angela Roldan-Whitaker, U.S. Southern Command Chief of Public-Private Cooperation. “Together we achieved U.S. Southern Command’s and U.S. Navy 4th Fleet’s mission of strengthening partnerships, collaborating to enhance mutual capacity, and preparing ourselves together to face any disaster response management challenges in the future.”

Continuing Promise 2023 marks the 13th mission to the region since 2007 and the first involving USNS Burlington. The mission will also foster goodwill, strengthen existing partnerships with partner nations, and encourage the establishment of new partnerships among countries, non-government organizations, and international organizations.

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.

Learn more about USNAVSOUTH/4th Fleet at, and @NAVSOUS4THFLT.