CHATTOGRAM, Bangladesh - The U.S. and Bangladesh navies kicked off Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2019 with an opening ceremony held at the School of Maritime Warfare and Tactics (SMWT) in Chattogram, Nov. 4.
The CARAT exercise series, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is designed to address shared maritime security concerns and strengthen partnerships. Bangladesh has been a participant since 2011.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who oversees security cooperation events for the U.S. Navy regionally, said the U.S. and Bangladesh navies are strongest when they work together.
"I am always happy to visit Bangladesh," said Tynch, who is on his third visit to the country. "I am proud to call the Bangladesh Navy both our 'partners' and our 'friends.' Our partnership - working together to uphold the rules-based order - gives us an asymmetric advantage that no rival can match."
Tynch, who last visited Bangladesh in April 2019 to present their navy with metal Shark boats, said CARAT reflects the growing partnership between the U.S. and Bangladesh navies to further expand bilateral and multilateral exercises and cooperatively ensure maritime security, stability, and prosperity.
The exercise will feature a series of subject matter expert exchanges in a range of naval capacities to include mobile dive and salvage, engineering, aviation, hydrography, maritime domain awareness and maritime law. Additionally, aviation events will be held to include search and rescue and vessel of interest tracking operations onboard a P-8 Poseidon aircraft.
U.S. Navy Lt. Carlos Prieto, an exercise planner from Task Force 73, said a common priority throughout the CARAT series is improving awareness of the maritime domain, a fundamental capability for combating maritime threats.
"One of the most important components of Maritime Domain Awareness is building trust," said Prieto. "We will train together on technology and best practices, but when it comes to information sharing, some of the most valuable time will be spent building and strengthening relationships."
Participating U.S. assets include Sailors from Task Force 73, Task Force 72, Destroyer Squadron 7, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One, and a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45.
CARAT, the U.S. Navy's oldest and longest continually running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia, strengthens partnerships between regional navies and enhances maritime security cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific.
CARAT builds upon other engagements in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands including Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission, Maritime Training Activity Malaysia, Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama (Philippines), Pacific Griffin with Singapore and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), which involves nearly a dozen partner nations. These engagements bring like-minded naval forces together routinely based on shared values and maritime security interests.
As U.S. 7th Fleet's executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia, Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 conduct advanced planning, organize resources, and directly support the execution of CARAT and other engagements in the region.