US Navy SEALs Hone Maritime Dominance With 20 Nations in Colombia

US Navy SEALs trained in maritime dominance with 20 partner forces in Colombia at the annual UNITAS multinational exercise.

UNITAS aims to strengthen the interoperability and collective capability of allied nations’ naval special warfare teams in response to next-generation maritime threats.

During the exercise, the SEALs and Colombian special forces practiced landing and launching rubber raiding craft from the USS Pasadena (SSN 752) Los Angeles-class attack submarine.

Activities focused on enhancing participants’ defense strategies in boarding, search, and seizure missions, submarine operations, and close combat.

In other training sessions, the SEALs teamed with special forces counterparts from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru, and France to practice deployment in confined spaces.

“UNITAS provided a unique opportunity to work with [US Southern Command] aligned special operations forces in the region, to advance our skills and train toward contingency operations,” a SEAL commander stated.

“Working alongside our partner nations adds another degree of interoperability, while demonstrating to our allies why we remain the partner of choice in the SOUTHCOM AOR, and sends a message of a united Western Hemisphere.”

CARTAGENA, Colombia (July 14, 2023) East-coast based U.S. Naval Special Warfare Operators (SEALs) and Colombian special operations personnel drive combat rubber raiding crafts in waters near Cartagena during UNITAS 2023. Hosted this year by Colombia, UNITAS is the world’s longest-running maritime exercise bringing together multinational forces from 20 partner nations, training in joint maritime operations that enhance tactical proficiency and increase interoperability. Naval Special Warfare Group 2 produces, trains, supports, and deploys the world’s premier maritime special operations commandos to conduct full-spectrum operations and integrated deterrence that support national objectives. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bill Carlisle)
US Navy SEALs and Colombian Special operations personnel drive rubber raiding craft near Cartagena. Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class William Carlisle/US Navy

UNITAS Exercise

UNITAS was launched in the late 1950s in Panama. Among the event’s initial goals was to develop a common communication system among navies.

This year’s iteration featured 26 vessels, three submarines, 25 fighter jets, and about 7,000 military personnel.

Most of the operations were facilitated off the coast and ashore in Cartagena, Covenas, and Barranquilla, Colombia.

According to the US Navy, the drills exhibited the US commitment to sustain maritime security, protect international law, and secure governments’ inherent right to freedom at sea.

“Trust, proficiency, and interoperability are core tenets of our partnerships as we work together to advance our common interests in the Western Hemisphere, maintaining the stability and security necessary for economic prosperity,” US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said.

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