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HONOLULU - The Unites States and its Asia-Pacific regional partners are hosting a Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise, Fortune Guard 2014, as the debut exercise in the new annual PSI Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation (APER) Aug. 4-7 in Honolulu.
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, Eric Rosenbach, kicked off the opening ceremony at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies Aug. 4.
“PSI exercises are an important way that endorsing nations demonstrate this intention to act while enhancing their capability and capacity to do so,” said Rosenbach. “The scenarios we’ll explore in Fortune Guard reflect the real-world challenges we face, from dual use commodities to maritime and air proliferation streams.”
Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the keynote speaker and stressed the importance of engaging key audience participants and demonstrating its viability for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), related materials and delivery systems, and increasing the capabilities of countries in the region to counter WMD proliferation.
“PSI has brought together an international community capable of acting at a moment’s notice, who are committed to planning and training for any possible contingencies or eventualities, and who are willing to work together, government-to-government, to facilitate rapid decision-making,” he said. “… And now we’re upping our game, as we gather for the first exercise under the annual Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation, starting here in the United States, then next year New Zealand, then Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Together we are taking the next great step in preventing the proliferation of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials. And we’re taking that great step together.”
Fortune Guard 2014 is the first event in the APER series of annual dedicated PSI exercises hosted on a rotating basis by six regional partners in the following order: the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Japan.
“In the past 6 years, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the Republic of Korea have all held at least one PSI exercise,” said Rosenbach. “Building on this robust level of activity in concert with these partners, Exercise Fortune Guard represents the launch of a new level of commitment to PSI in the Asia-Pacific. Each year, one of the Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation partners will host a PSI exercise, offering the region a key platform for cooperation on the critical threat of WMD proliferation and for the building of capacities needed to effectively counter this threat,” he said. “Fortune Guard is the first exercise in this series, and we are appreciative of our partners’ efforts in helping to plan this dynamic exercise that will focus on sharing skills and best practices related to interdiction, from rapid, national-level decision-making to operational tactics and procedures.”
The Secretary of Defense extended an invitation to participate in Fortune Guard 2014 to Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam. The Secretary of Defense also extended an invitation to observe the tabletop discussions to regional countries that have not endorsed PSI to include China, India, Indonesia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and ASEAN.
Participating nations are expected to conduct a tabletop exercise, a live exercise at sea on the USNS Henry J. Kaiser and a port exercise over at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The tabletop exercise will focus on national-level decision-making in interdiction scenarios. Which agencies engage, at what level, and at what point in process? Thinking through these challenges in advance can better prepare us all for real-world scenarios.
According to Rosenbach, a portion of the participants will spend the day aboard the Kaiser for a live exercise at sea. The Kaiser will contain a simulated WMD-related cargo and participants will witness ROK Navy and Coast Guard, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and U.S. Coast Guard special operations teams boarding and searching the ship, in a scenario that will also feature Royal Australian Navy role players.
At the same time, back on “terra firma,” another group of exercise participants will engage in an academic seminar, with topics ranging from Norway’s firsthand account of operations in the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons to the relationship between UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and PSI.
On the final day of the exercise, the participants will have the opportunity to see capability demonstrations from tactical teams from Japan, Singapore and the United States, related to the simulated detection of radiological and proliferation-related materials aboard a C-17 aircraft and shipping container.
“We must always remember that the fate of all nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific is inextricably linked together. Security and stability in this region of the world comes from the united effort of like-minded nations, and like-minded people. People like many of you in the audience, here today. People who are aware of the challenges…aware of the opportunities…and aware of the dangers we all face together, now … and in the future,” he said. “By working together toward a common goal, we have an opportunity to help shape a brighter and more prosperous world for all us.”