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SEACAT 2013 Exercise Builds Multilateral Cooperation in Maritime Southeast Asia

02 September 2013

From Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs

The annual exercise kicked off Sept. 2 with navy liaison officers from seven nations tracking vessels of interest in a multilateral maritime interdiction scenario.

CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore - The 11th annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise commenced Sept. 2, with navy liaison officers from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States tracking vessels of interest in a multilateral maritime interdiction scenario.

SEACAT highlights the value of information sharing and multilateral cooperation in scenarios that give participating navies hands-on practice in maritime security operations. Two weeks of training events include both a command post exercise (CPX) at the Multinational Operations and Exercise Center at Singapore's Changi Naval Base and a field training exercise (FTX) that takes place in several regional locations at sea.

"As a well-established training venue among a growing number of multilateral exercises in Southeast Asia, SEACAT is a model for how regional navies can share best practices and work together to address maritime security concerns including piracy, smuggling and other transnational crimes at sea," said Rear Adm. Cindy Thebaud, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC) and 7th Fleet's executive agent for SEACAT.

The CPX and FTX facilitate information sharing between shore, air and sea-based sensors in a challenging tracking, evaluation and boarding scenario.

At sea, various U.S. ships will serve as simulated vessels of interest, and will be tracked by watchstanders on land, at sea, and in the air. Shore-based radars and maritime patrol aircraft from participating nations will pass information to the multinational watchfloor, where liaison officers will develop boarding plans. Ships from participating navies will then intercept and board vessels of interest. On the U.S. side, the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) will conduct several boarding events with its embarked 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) teams.

"SEACAT goes a long way toward building maritime capacity and enhancing interoperability among all seven participating navies," said Capt. Paul Schlise, commander, Task Group 73.1/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. "We look forward to opportunities like SEACAT to work together in a multilateral scenario that puts our watchstanders through their paces."

SEACAT, which began in 2002 under the name "Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism," was renamed in 2012 exercise to expand the scope of training among regional navies. Participating U.S. forces include staff from Commander, Task Group 73.1/DESRON 7, the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), the dry cargo ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9), the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) and a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

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