|In this file photo, 42 ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations steam in close formation during RIMPAC 2014. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Shannon Renfroe)|
The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is "Capable, Adaptive, Partners." The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.
This year's exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People's Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.
This is the first time that Denmark, Germany, and Italy are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts will involve flexing the command and control structure for various at sea events and incorporating a submarine rescue exercise. This year will see amphibious operations in the Southern California operating area, feature a harpoon missile shoot from a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship and highlight fleet innovation during the Trident Warrior experimentation series.
The Department of the Navy's Great Green Fleet yearlong initiative will also play a major role in RIMPAC. The initiative highlights global operations using energy conservation measures and alternative fuel blends to demonstrate how optimizing energy use increases resiliency and operational readiness. During RIMPAC, almost all participating units will operate using an approved alternate-fuel blend.
Hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2016 will be led by U.S. Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F), who will serve as the Combined Task Force (CTF) Commander. Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Scott Bishop will serve as deputy commander of the CTF, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Rear Adm. Koji Manabe as the vice commander. Other key leaders of the multinational force will include Commodore Malcolm Wise of the Royal Australian Navy, who will command the maritime component; Brig. Gen. Blaise Frawley of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who will command the air component; and the amphibious task force will be led by Royal New Zealand Navy Commodore James Gilmour.
Due to unforeseen scheduling commitments, Brazil is unable to participate in RIMPAC '16. We value our partnership with the Brazilian Navy and look forward to them taking part in RIMPAC 2018.