MUARA, Brunei — The United States and Royal Brunei navies will begin the 28th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Oct. 24-31 in Brunei, with participation from the U.S. littoral combat ship USS Charleston ( LCS 18) and a P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
This year highlights CARAT Brunei’s 28th anniversary among allies and partners as a way to demonstrate a long-term commitment to strengthened relationships across South and Southeast Asia and to underscore the commitment of the U.S. Navy toward key partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen ASEAN centrality.
“The United States-Brunei relationship entered its fourth decade from a position of strength, and we continue to strengthen our partnership through joint military exercises and engagements such as this,” the statement said. United States Ambassador to Brunei, Her Excellency Ambassador Caryn McClelland. “We are proud of our exemplary cooperation based on the mutual desire for peace, security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
“My crew and I are thrilled 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 critical 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 primary objectives of the CARAT 2022 series of maritime exercises are to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and enhance maritime partnerships, and improve interoperability among participating forces.
“It is an honor to be 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 asset in sustaining ‘a free and open maritime domain and promote shared values and international standards.We are all stronger together.
Commander Task Force (CTF) 71 / Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 is the largest forward deployed DESRON in the Navy and the principal surface force of the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The composition of US participants varies for each CARAT as it is an adaptable and evolving series of exercises. CARAT scenarios are tailored with input from the United States and each host nation to address our current shared maritime security concerns. This year’s CARAT Brunei participants include: the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) with the embarked MH-60S Seahawk, a P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from (VP) 10, the 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, US 7th Fleet and CTF 71 as lead planner for CARAT Brunei.
The 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 over 70 years, providing credible and ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.