MUARA, Brunei -- The United States and Royal Brunei Navies will commence the 28th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) beginning October 24 to 31 in Brunei, with the participation of U.S. Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) and a P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
This year highlights the 28th anniversary of CARAT Brunei among allies and partners as a way to demonstrate long-term commitment to strengthened relationships throughout South and Southeast Asia and to highlight U.S. Navy commitment to key Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partners to reinforce ASEAN centrality.
“The United States and Brunei’s relationship has entered its fourth decade in a position of strength, and we continue to build our partnership through joint military exercises and engagements such as this one,” said U.S. Ambassador to Brunei, Her Excellency Ambassador Caryn McClelland. “We are proud of our exemplary cooperation based on mutual desire for the peace, security, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
“My crew and I are excited to participate in CARAT Brunei and work side-by-side at sea with our RBN [Royal Brunei Navy] counterparts,” said Commander Clay Beas, commanding officer of USS Charleston. “Bilateral exercises like these are essential to learning how our navies can operate together in times of peace and conflict to ensure regional security, stability and prosperity.”
Charleston, part of DESRON 7, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The overarching goals of the CARAT 2022 maritime exercise series are to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the 28th iteration of CARAT Brunei” said Capt. Walter Mainor, Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15. “Our allies and partners are our greatest advantage in maintaining a free and open maritime domain and fostering shared values and international norms. We are all stronger together.”
Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, is the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force.
The mix of U.S. participants varies for each CARAT as it is an adaptable, evolving exercise series. CARAT scenarios are tailored with inputs from the U.S. and each host nation to address our shared current maritime security concerns. Participants from this year’s CARAT Brunei include: Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) with embarked MH-60S Seahawk, a P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from (VP) 10, Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 5, embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, CTF 72, CTF 73, CTF 75, U.S. 7th Fleet and CTF 71 as the lead planner for CARAT Brunei.
U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest forward-deployed fleet in the world, and with the help of a network of alliances and partners from 35 other maritime-nations, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.