‘War games’ set in Mindanao between Philippines, US navies

May. 25, 2007

MANILA — The Philippine and U.S. Navies will conduct the 13th annual bilateral training exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, known as CARAT, in the Zamboanga and Basilan area starting on May 31.

CARAT 2007 is a combined naval tactical operations exercise involving fleet forces of both the Philippine and United States Navies. The United States participates in CARAT exercises with six Southeast Asian nations: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

CARAT is a model of how navies can cooperate and work together to address issues of shared concern in each others countries. Each exercise is designed to enhance the ability of our nations to work together in maritime situations that range from natural disasters to maritime interception of criminals and terrorists.

The exercises include a tactical scenario where the U.S. and Philippine Navies will operate together in teams, focusing on improving communication and information sharing. Examples of other skill areas that the navies will practice are amphibious operations, diving, and salvage.

The exercise also focuses on relationship building through social and community service events such as providing free medical, dental, and veterinary care in host communities. The U.S. and Philippine armed forces will also visit schools and community centers to donate school supplies, food, books, sporting equipment, and toys.

The U.S. Navys CARAT group includes the USS Harpers Ferry from Sasebo, Japan; the USS Ford from Everett, Washington; and the USS Jarrett from San Diego, California. Approximately 1,400 U.S. personnel will take part in the CARAT exercises, including personnel such as U.S. Navy Seabees, U.S. Navy and Army doctors, and U.S. Army veterinarians who will participate in humanitarian projects.
As multinational responses to regional emergencies such as the December 2004 tsunami become increasingly common, it is mutually beneficial for friends and allies to train together to improve interoperability and build friendly, cooperative relations.

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