U.S. Coast Guard members aboard the Alameda-based Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) participated in a cooperative three-day at-sea exercise with the Royal Australian Navy in the South China Sea September 18 to 20.
The joint training engagement included joint operations, professional exchanges, and multi-unit maneuvering at sea to strengthen interoperability between the U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Australian Navy.
“These at-sea engagements with our long-standing partners in the Indo-Pacific region provided an excellent joint training opportunity for the crew,” said Munro’s Commanding Officer Capt. Blake Novak. “Enhancing cooperation and building trust strengthens our relationship with the Royal Australian Navy while expanding our regional security cooperation initiatives.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has a long history of cooperation with the Royal Australian Navy. The U.S. and Australia, along with New Zealand and France, make up the Pacific Quadrilateral Defense Coordinating Group or P-QUAD. P-QUAD endeavors to enhance maritime security in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean in partnership with the Pacific Island Countries through organizations such as the Fisheries Forum Agency.
“The United States and Australia have deep and abiding interests throughout the Pacific,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “As leaders in maritime safety and security, our forces are dedicated to upholding regional sovereignty, stability and security. Through joint operations with Australia, we strengthen our interoperability with an ally deeply committed to promote international rules and norms within the Indo-Pacific.”
“The Royal Australian Navy has enjoyed multiple opportunities throughout the year to work with the United States in the Indo-Pacific,” said Capt. David Teitzel, Royal Australian Navy, Commander Task Group 635.3. “Being able to operate with a United States Coast Guard cutter like USCGC Munro has strengthened how we interoperate and boosts how we work together in the interest of regional security. I thank Munro for their time in-company and we look forward to sailing with the United States Coast Guard again.”
Munro, a 418-foot national security cutter, departed its homeport of Alameda in July for a months-long deployment to the Western Pacific. Operating under the tactical control of the U.S. 7th Fleet, the cutter and crew are engaging in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner nations, patrolling and conducting operations as directed.
National security cutters like Munro feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch and increased endurance for long-range patrols, enabling the crews to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.
As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the U.S. Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to conduct defense operations in support of combatant commanders. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft and deployable specialized forces.
Image credit: Courtesy of Royal Australian Navy. Indo-Pacific Endeavour 21 (IPE21) is Australia’s flagship regional engagement activity, reinforcing Australia’s strong and enduring partnerships in Southeast Asia. Centered on a maritime task group, IPE21 involves HMA Ships Canberra and Anzac and approximately 700 people, including Australian Defense Force and civilian defense personnel, and sea riders from partner nations. Engagements have been modified in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be carried out primarily through contactless port visits, and will include a range of virtual workshops and at-sea activities.