The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have concluded exercise Resolute Union (RU) 21.

The Resolute Union (RU) 21 is an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and maritime security operations exercise. It is the capstone in  a series of exercises between the two armed forces.

It has been conducted in Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea from 17 May to 28 May.

The exercise aims to boost interoperability between the two forces through cooperative training and improve mutual capabilities.

It also strives to maintain proficiency between the armed forces of the two countries and enhance interoperability through cooperative training.

Task Force (TF) 52 commander, the exercise’s planning and execution lead, captain Oscar Rojas said: “RU 21 has been a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, build capacity and foster interoperability with our LAF counterparts.

“Practicing scenarios across a wide variety of mission sets greatly enhanced our mutual maritime security capabilities as a combined, joint force.”

The previous exercise in the Resolute series, held in August last year, was conducted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the latest exercise marked the resumption of ‘side-by-side training’ between the US naval forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces.

The scope of activities in RU 21 included EOD demonstrations, dive training, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.

US Navy divers and EOD technicians, a US Coastguard Maritime Engagement Team (MET), an expeditionary mine countermeasure company, a Seabee construction battalion and additional supporting personnel participated in the exercise on behalf of the US Navy.

NAVCENT and US 5th Fleet deputy commander rear admiral Curt Renshaw said: “I’m so pleased with the results of [RU] 21. Over eleven days, the exercise provided an opportunity for our forces to sharpen our collective crisis response skills.”

Encompassing some 2.5 million square miles, the US 5th Fleet area of operations includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.