IMCMEX is the largest exercise of its kind in the region
and includes a wide spectrum of defensive operations
designed to protect international commerce and trade
by mine countermeasures, maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection.
Blount said IMCMEX is a great opportunity for
nations to work together, and learn and improve upon
the highly skilled trade of mine countermeasures. The
exercise not only trains in the clearance of mines, but
also the protection of the mine countermeasures vessels.
During IMCMEX 13, participants exercised the afloat
staging base concept aboard USS Ponce and RFA
Cardigan Bay, and covered surface mine countermeasures, mine hunting and airborne mine countermeasures
operations, international explosive ordnance disposal
training, diving operations, small-boat exercises,
unmanned aerial vehicle operations, unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) operations, port clearance operations, shipping escort and visit, board, search and seizure
operations. Industry representatives also led an oil spill
response tabletop discussion during the exercise.
Forces from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia,
France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the
United States were among the nations that took part.
“With the inclusion of a truly international battle staff
during IMCMEX, we were able to harness the talent and
perspectives of over 40 navies from across the globe,
which added to the formidable international capacity of
ships, divers and UUVs used to clear mines at sea and
keep the waterways open,” said LT Marissa Myatt, U.S.
Fifth Fleet spokeswoman. “What we learn here is imme-
diately exportable to other waterways across world.”
U.S. Capabilities Not in Isolation
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking at the
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
Manama Dialog security policy discussions in Bahrain
in December, said coalitions and partnerships are a
critical element in the U.S. security posture in the
region, especially within the GCC.
“U.S. capabilities are not in isolation of our partners’
capabilities. Over the last three decades, we have helped
Gulf nations become some of our most capable military
partners. Going forward, the Department of Defense will
place even more emphasis on building the capacity of our
partners in order to complement our strong military presence in the region. Our goal is for our allies and partners
in this region to be stronger and more capable in dealing
with common threats,” Hagel said.
“As we strengthen our bilateral relationships throughout the Gulf, we are also committed to advancing multilateral cooperation between our allies and partners, especially through the Gulf Cooperation Council. Nations are
stronger — not weaker, stronger — when they work
together against common interests. Closer cooperation
between the GCC and the United States is in all of our
countries’ interests. The United States has been a force for
advancing Gulf cooperation since the GCC was established more than 30 years ago,” he said. “This will not
only continue, but accelerate in the years ahead.” ■
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / MARCH 2014
Combined Task Force 521 conducts convoy escort operations with a large natural gas tanker May 21 in the U.S. Fifth
Fleet area of responsibility during International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2013. IMCMEX 13 included
navies from more than 40 countries and exercised a wide spectrum of defensive operations designed to protect international commerce and trade.