Partnership of the Americas Underway Again

The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59), the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 departed from Mayport, Fla., July 29 to begin the second half of their deployment in support of Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2008.

Kauffman’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Robert Cepak, said POA 2008 events are designed to strengthen regional partnerships and increase interoperability between the U.S. and partner navies.

“Partnership of the Americas addresses aspects of multinational operations that are vital for us to successfully complete our mission in a joint environment,” said Cepak. “Working and communicating with our partner nations builds the relationships that would be necessary in the event of a crisis requiring a multinational effort.”

Kauffman Operations Officer, Lt. James Wright, said that silent division tactic (DIVTAC) exercises, the first exercise completed during this phase of POA 2008, are important tactical maneuvering exercises.

“In close proximity formation steaming, precise control and immediate response are essential to safe navigation,” said Wright. “DIVTACs allow us to practice ship’s close order seamanship drill.”

Wright also added that the exercises conducted aboard Kauffman and Farragut were more difficult than normal DIVTACs because they were conducted without the use of any voice communication.

The DIVTACs marked the first in a series of exercises and theater security cooperation visits which will take place throughout the Caribbean during the second half of POA 2008. The first half of POA 2008, completed between April 7 and July 14, included TSC events in St. Lucia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, two multinational UNITAS Atlantic and UNITAS Pacific and two bilateral anti-submarine warfare exercises, EJAS Norte with Chile and Silent Forces Exercise 2008 with Peru, and passing exercises with Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador.

Kauffman and Farragut are assigned to DESRON 40 in support of POA 2008 operations which are being held from April to October throughout South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. POA 2008 is a U.S. Southern Command sponsored program, implemented by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet, that emphasizes interoperability and cooperation between U.S. and partner nation’s maritime forces through a variety of exercises and events.

U.S. 4th Fleet was re-established in July 2008 to more effectively employ naval forces to build confidence and trust through collective maritime security efforts that focus on mutual interests.

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