Since the establishment of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in 1995, Brunei-United States (US) defence relations have grown stronger with numerous interaction, exchange of experience and best practices, said Lieutenant Colonel Aldi bin Haji Hassan, Acting Deputy Joint Force Commander, Joint Force Headquarters (Act DJFC, JFHQ) as co-chair of CARAT 2022 representing the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF).
He said this during the opening ceremony of the 28th CARAT 2022 bilateral exercise between the RBAF and the United States Navy (USN) at Wira Seni Concert Hall, RBAF Band Building, Bolkiah Garrison yesterday.
“It has a positive step towards our defence diplomacy efforts between two nations. The endemic or post-COVID-19 era has given new life and hope towards the CARAT activities and training to further gain knowledge and experience in dealing with security threats,” he added.
This year, Lieutenant Colonel Aldi said, “we will continue to carry out the exercise physically and via video conferencing to ensure onshore and offshore activities meet the training objectives of enhancing engagement and further strengthen our bilateral relationship to increase interoperability between our armed forces and address our regional security challenges”.
Meanwhile, co-chair of CARAT 2022 Captain Walter C Mainor, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fifteen (CDS 15) representing the USN, expressed his appreciation for the long-existing relations between the two armed forces and looks forward to fostering closer bilateral defence cooperation.
Lieutenant Commander Samuel Kim, USN, the Chief Office of Defence Cooperation, US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam, as well as exercise participants from the two countries were present. During the CARAT exercise, a diverse range of at-sea, air and ashore exercise events have been planned. Similarly, Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) programmes will be held including Coastal Riverine, Marine Jungle Operations, Military and International Law, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Medical and Dental exchange, Force Protection Training, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Maritime Aviation Practices, Diving Exercise, Women’s Interaction Programme and Band.
A musical outreach programme will also take place at the Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam and Jerudong Park Amphitheatre.
The annual CARAT aims to improve the armed forces and other participating agencies’ interoperability, professionalism, and proficiency as well as improve collaboration in response to both traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
The eight-day exercise will conclude on October 31.