BUSAN, South Korea - Senior leaders from the U.S. and Republic of Korea navies signed a charter August 16 pledging to increase cooperation in future anti-submarine warfare training.
The charter was signed during a special ceremony hosted by Vice Adm. Jung, Ho-Sup, commander of the Republic of Korea Fleet. Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, and Rear Adm. William Merz, commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, joined ROK navy leaders for the charter-signing ceremony.
"Anti-submarine warfare is one of the most challenging yet critical tasks that our navies exercise," said Thomas. "It takes a strong combined body of talented people and a cooperative plan to work together to achieve our full potential in ASW capabilities."
The signing of the charter signifies the commitment by both navies to exchange knowledge and develop training scenarios that enhance proficiency in ASW skills. A cooperation committee and special working groups will be formed and will meet routinely to review progress in ASW cooperation initiatives.
"The routine bi-lateral 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 CNFK assistant chief of staff for security cooperation. "We improve warfare skills by exchanging ideas, expertise, and working closely together at sea in the operational environment."
Frequent naval exercises conducted throughout the year provide many opportunities for the U.S. and ROK navies to train together and improve warfare proficiency. Each year, the two navies conduct approximately 20 bi-lateral 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.
"We are always training with our U.S. Navy partners," said Cmdr. Kim, Beom Woo of the Republic of Korea Fleet headquarters. "The charter we signed today paves the way for a stronger partnership between our navies by enhancing our training opportunities at sea - where it really matters. This is how we keep our alliance strong and ready."