By Lt. j.g. Victoria Einbinder, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
LIMA, Peru (NNS) -- Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet Rear Adm. George Ballance was welcomed by members of the Peruvian Navy to the Centro Naval in San Borja, Lima, Peru for the annual U.S. Navy and Peruvian Navy Operational Naval Committee (ONC) conference, June 2-4.
"I am pleased to be here today representing our joint efforts in international cooperation," said Ballance. "Conferences such as these are imperative to our goals of developing relationships with our partner nations, addressing new mutual concerns as they arise, and most of all continuing the great partnership between our two navies,"
During the conference, participants engaged in face-to-face discussions regarding their involvement in various exercises and theater security cooperation events for the upcoming year. Exchanges also focused on developing operational and tactical procedures which allow for increased interoperability between the two navies and proposed future combined operations and exchange visits of personnel in operational areas.
ONC Peru ultimately resulted in a memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed this year by Ballance and Peruvian Rear Adm. Ricardo Menendez, the Chief of Staff for the Peruvian Navy Commander of Pacific Operations. The MOU outlines the U.S. and Peru's interactions for the coming year.
Peru and the U.S. have a strong partnership, evidenced through their focus on maritime security and enhanced through joint exercises and events. Cooperation and training events in the past have included PANAMAX and the UNITAS series of exercises, which stemmed from work done at previous ONC meetings.
ONCs provide a platform for the U.S. Navy to engage with partner nations and identify efforts that will enhance relationships and mutually beneficial goals. The agreements they produce and engagements they lead to directly support the U.S. Navy's new Maritime Strategy, which emphasizes cooperative relationships with international partners.
USNAVSO and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.