|International Militaries Return to Gulf to Conduct Mine Countermeasures Exercise|
By U.S. Central Command
TAMPA, Fla. (February 4, 2013) — Navies and government agencies from more than 20 nations spanning four continents will come together in May 2013 to participate in a defensive mine countermeasures exercise in the Middle East’s international waterways.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and an international contingent of military planners completed the Initial Planning Conference for the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2013, or IMCMEX 13, January 14-17. IMCMEX 13 focuses on mine countermeasures operations, with additional emphasis on the conduct of maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection in support of mine countermeasures. There will be an international symposium, and operational forces will be exercised at sea and ashore in multiple locations in NAVCENT’s area of operations.
“The broad international participation in last fall’s exercise on mine counter-measures reflects extensive cooperation for maintaining open and secure lines of commerce,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander of the U.S. Central Command. “As with 2012’s international mine-clearing exercise which involved 33 nations’ participation, this year’s effort will reaffirm the ongoing, global cooperation that this mission enjoys with the international community’s strong support for free trade in a region critical to the worldwide economy.”
IMCMEX 13 is poised to expand the successes of IMCMEX 12. The largest exercise of its kind in the region, IMCMEX 12 brought together approximately 3,000 personnel Sept. 17-27, 2012, in exercise activities spanning twelve days and 1,000 miles in the region, and combining existing and new capabilities.
IMCMEX 12 demonstrated the will of the international community to preserve freedom of navigation in the region, with exercise operating activities led by separate nations in three of the region’s strategic waterways. The exercise included multiple countermine capabilities, including ships, command and control, unmanned underwater vehicles, helicopters, dive and Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams in the three operating areas. It also expanded the capabilities of the afloat staging base concept and explored emerging technologies of unmanned underwater vehicles. During the two-week exercise, participants attended a three-day symposium, followed by afloat exercises to develop and refine international mine countermeasures operations in multiple locations across the region.
Exercises such as IMCMEX 13 enhance cooperation, mutual maritime capabilities and interoperability between the U.S. and its international partners while developing the international community’s ability to address threats to freedom of navigation and international commerce.