Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, center, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, prepares to deliver opening remarks to Republic of Korea Navy leadership during an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) cooperation committee meeting in Busan. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Abraham Essenmacher)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Senior Leaders from the U.S. and Republic of Korea navies met at the headquarters of the Republic of Korea Fleet April 27 for a series of staff talks on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) cooperation.

The bilateral ASW cooperation committee is designed to exchange knowledge and develop training scenarios that enhance combined capabilities across all ASW domains from subsurface, surface, and air. Subject matter experts from both the U.S. and ROK navies meet quarterly to discuss the development of ongoing ASW initiatives.

"We are counting on this new effort, which is well integrated and supported by ROK Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, and several other organizations, to improve our already close ASW coordination," said Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. "The ASW Cooperation Committee is the next step in aligning our ASW readiness efforts in the Korean Theater of Operations. I applaud all the hard work that has gone into this effort and look forward to executing the plan we have developed with ROK Fleet."

Since the signing of the original ASW cooperation charter in August, 2014, special working groups from both navies have come together to develop methods to assess and monitor the progress of ASW improvement initiatives.

“The cooperation charter signing has enabled us to develop four groups committed to the enhancement of combined ASW with training, education, and creating an evaluation and assessment system,” said Vice Adm. Hyun Seong Um, commander, Republic of Korea Fleet. “Our work is intended to draw a bigger picture and impact from the ROK and U.S. ASW improvement efforts.”

The ongoing dialogue signifies the commitment by both navies to exchange knowledge and develop training scenarios that enhance critical ASW skills.

"The routine bilateral exercises that we conduct with the ROK navy are based on our mutual desire for continued improvement in all warfare areas, including ASW," said Cmdr. George Dolan, the assistant chief of staff for theater security cooperation for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "We improve warfare skills by engaging in dialogue, learning from each other, exchanging expertise, and working closely together at sea in the operational environment."

Frequent naval exercises conducted throughout the year provide frequent opportunities for the U.S. and ROK navies to train together and improve warfare proficiency. Each year, the two navies conduct approximately 20 bilateral exercises around the Korean peninsula to increase interoperability and operational readiness.

These routine exercises are carried out utilizing diverse naval platforms ranging from guided missile destroyers and cruisers, aircraft carriers and amphibious ships, submarines, and a host of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea is the regional commander for the U.S. Navy in the Republic of Korea and provides expertise on naval matters to area military commanders, including the Commander for the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command, and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.