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News | Dec. 17, 2021

U.S. 4th Fleet Hosts Maritime Synchronization Conference to Strengthen Partnerships

By U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

Focused on the future, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet hosted its annual Maritime Synchronization Conference (MSC) onboard Naval Station Mayport, Dec. 14-17.

The conference was held to discuss common concerns and make plans for future operations, activities, and investments that will strengthen maritime partnerships and improve interoperability in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility. Its primary objective is to coordinate and synchronize future maritime security cooperation activities in support of the U.S. Southern Command Campaign Plan, the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Marine Corps Forces South Integrated Campaign Support Plan, and linked to respective U.S. country team partner nation plans.

The conference featured U.S. participants from 20 country teams in the region and stakeholders from U.S. maritime agencies, who have had the opportunity to hear from key leaders about the state of maritime affairs in the region and their priorities in 2022 and beyond.

“Our Navy personnel posted with U.S. country teams are our key enablers of naval diplomacy, bilateral engagements, and security cooperation. They are our scouts on the front lines, in country on a day-to-day basis,” said Rear Adm. Jim Aiken, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. “We are building a strong team and look forward to future engagement together.”

Discussions throughout the week included ways to increase information sharing, perspectives from other SOUTHCOM component commands, and briefs from various specialties, including medical, legal, force protection, communications, opportunities for education and personnel exchange, and operational considerations.

“This conference allows us to hear from leadership and ensure we are synchronized on our priorities going forward,” said Capt. Dan Betancourt, Chief, U.S. Naval Mission to Colombia. “We come away from this week with confidence that we are all moving forward together in our respective relationships with our partner nation navies.”

Working groups allowed for a focused look at challenges and plans for specific regions in the area of operations, as well as discussions about illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, countering transnational organized crime (C-TCO), and the Near Coastal Patrol Vessel (NCPV) program.

“We have received our priorities from our leadership,” said Cmdr. Christina “Grumpy” Ortega, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Theater Security Cooperation Director. “Now we are taking those priorities and integrating plans that will best support those priorities in the coming years.”

Defense Attachés and Navy Section Chiefs from the following countries participated in this year’s synchronization conference: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
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