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News | Jan. 30, 2024

Multinational planners in Barbados to lay groundwork for Caribbean-focused Tradewinds 2024 military exercise

By Staff Sgt. ShaTyra Reed-Cox, Army South

The main planning conference (MPC) for Tradewinds 24 (TW24) has begun in Bridgetown, Barbados, marking the continuation of detailed preparations for one of the largest multinational military exercises in the Caribbean.

The MPC, which convened on Jan. 29, brings together key stakeholders from various nations to strategize and coordinate the upcoming exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and executive planned by U.S. Army South. Participants are set to deliberate on exercise details, refine training scenarios, assess resource requirements, and address logistical considerations crucial for the smooth execution of Tradewinds 24.

The MPC serves as a vital platform for collaborative planning and coordination with attendees hailing from numerous nations, including representatives from the Caribbean Basin, U.S., Canada, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

"The main planning conference for Tradewinds 24 underscores our collective commitment to fostering regional security and stability," said Maj. Angela Valcin, the SOUTHCOM lead planner for TW24. “It represents a crucial milestone in the lead-up to Tradewinds 24, setting the stage for enhanced cooperation and readiness among partner nations in safeguarding the Caribbean region against evolving security dynamics.”

Tradewinds has been a cornerstone of Caribbean-focused military training since its inception in 1984. Designed as a combined, joint exercise, the exercise aims to enhance regional security cooperation and interoperability among participating nations.

This year’s iteration focuses on countering threats by way of a field training exercise, command post exercise, and table-top exercise and involves security forces from over 23 partner nations.

"By assembling representatives from a diverse array of nations, we aim to cultivate a shared understanding of emerging security challenges and refine our joint response capabilities," said Valcin.

As discussions unfold over the coming days, participants will work towards finalizing operational plans and ironing out logistical complexities ahead of the exercise's execution in May.

“The MPC is the best opportunity to look at solidifying a medical, logistics, and movement plans,” said Col. Charles Karels, U.S. Army South Director G3/7 Training and Exercises. “It's far enough away from the actual exercise execution that you have the opportunity to identify problems, adjust to them, and still check them to final conditions check the fine print.”

The next pivotal juncture in the TW24 planning process will be the final planning conference in March.

“Looking into the future to the final planning conference, we anticipate the culmination of our efforts as refined strategies and operational frameworks are finalized,” said Karels. "Together, we are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the readiness and effectiveness of our forces, paving the way for a unified and robust response during the upcoming exercise.”