The addition of Russia to the list of participants, as
well as China’s continued presence, certainly suggests
that the U.S. Navy would have some difficulty in fully
participating in the exercise, especially with laws preventing certain types of activities with those countries,
but the delicate relationship actually is not as much of
a hindrance as one might think, Schaus said.
“There’s certainly limitations of things we would do
together,” he said. “But I think most of these scenarios
and kinds of activities won’t run into the more sophis-
ticated higher-end activities in any case. So the normal
kind of standard-practice navy activities, I think, aren’t
going to be that controversial or that complicated.”
And at the end of the day, the exercises are very
helpful to all countries involved.
“Even with countries we have a political disagree-
ment with, like Russia or China, it’s still helpful to
find opportunities like AMAN to exercise in waters
that aren’t contested, where they can work out things
like the code for unalerted encounters at sea, and
practice those without any political baggage that
comes with it,” Schaus said.
There is simply no way for navies to avoid each
other anyway, so they might as well get along, he said.
“It is very common for countries’ navies to operate
alongside each other,” he said. “Navies are, by nature,
out and about in the water, and they’re going into foreign
ports and encountering one another on the high seas, so
having countries’ navies interacting is pretty normal.”
Although the Navy’s focus has shifted to a different part of the world these days, exercises like
AMAN 2017 show that the United States still has a lot
of important work to do in the West Asia region —
work that will have a big impact going forward on the
nation’s relationship with some of the largest militaries in the world. n
Assault amphibious vehicles with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit debark from the dock landing ship USS Comstock to conduct an amphibious
assault rehearsal in the Gulf of Aden Dec. 6. Comstock, which is deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group in the Fifth Fleet
area of operations, recently took part in an AMAN 2017 exercise in the North Arabian Sea. The focus of AMAN 2017, which included the participation of 37 countries, was on maritime security, especially counterpiracy and counterterrorism.
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