The Royal Brunei Armed Forces and US military have concluded the 27th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Brunei maritime exercise.

The exercise, which began on 15 November, involved five days of virtual activities focused on shared maritime security challenges. It successfully concluded on 19 November.

Staff from the US 7th Fleet, Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, CTF 73, CTF 76, Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), US Coast Guard (USCG) Pacific Area, DESRON 7, and the US Embassy Brunei are the participating American assets in the exercise.

The exercise is majorly focused on the complete spectrum of naval capabilities, according to Command Destroyer Squadron 7 Public Affairs lieutenant general Mohammad Iss.

During the exercise, the two nations worked towards ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific maritime security.

The virtual subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) events in the drill comprised several joint training opportunities.

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Activities such as riverine security training, Women, Peace & Security (WPS) symposium, maritime domain awareness (MDA), replenishment-at-sea (RAS) best practices, uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), and anti-terrorism force protection, among a few others, were conducted.

Task Force 73 Logistics Group Western Pacific commander rear admiral Philip Sobeck said: “The Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the US Armed Forces showed our readiness and resilience again in 2021.

“For five days, from November 15 to November 19, we bilaterally committed to multiple dynamic events on land and in the cyber world.”

In its 27th year, the CARAT series included exercises designed to enhance US and the participating navy’s abilities to operate together in response to ‘traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges’ in the Indo-Pacific region.

Sobeck added: “The Royal Brunei Armed Forces were one of the US Navy’s original CARAT partners when the exercise initiated in 1995, and that was 26 years ago.

“From the 19th century with the treaty of 1850 to the 21st century, our partnership remains strong, even during a global pandemic.

“And that is because we continue to check-in with each other annually across any operational domain to address our common interests and concerns.”

In November 2016, the US Navy, USMC, along with the Royal Brunei Navy and Armed Forces conducted the 22nd CARAT exercise.