CARAT exercise goes mostly online this year

The opening ceremony of the 26th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) bilateral exercise between the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the United States Navy (USN) was officiated by Chief of Staff, Joint Force Headquarters, RBAF Lieutenant Colonel Saifulrizal bin Abdul Latif at the Maritime National Coordination Centre in Muara, yesterday.

This exercise marks the 26th year the RBAF and USN are co-chairing the exercise.

USN was represented by Captain Ann McCann, USN, Commodore, Commander, Destroyer 7 (COMDERSON 7) via video conference. Commander Randall D Jones, USN, the Chief Office of Defence Cooperation, United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam as well as participants from relevant units from both countries also attended.

This year’s CARAT activities will feature both sea and shore phases that will mostly be conducted online, including medical symposium, legal symposium, force protection training, women’s interaction programme and senior enlisted engagement.

Lieutenant Colonel Saifulrizal said the outbreak of the global pandemic has not discouraged both countries from moving forward with CARAT 2020 as planned. Though unprecedented, the exercise planners devised a programme to ensure the exercise will meet its desired outcome while still adhering to the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The annual CARAT exercise is designed to enhance interoperability, professionalism and proficiency of both armed forces and other participating agencies in addressing current and future threats of mutual concern. The 26th CARAT exercise will be held until October 9.

The opening ceremony of the 26th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. PHOTO: RBAF