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MAYPORT, Fla.—Senior military officials from various countries in South America, civilian and military representatives from the U.S. Naval War College and U.S. Fleet Forces command, and personnel from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) and U.S. 4th Fleet (C4F) gathered together at Naval Station Mayport July 19, for the PANAMAX 2010 Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Planning  Group Conference.
 
Throughout the week the group worked together to develop several courses of actions (COA) for different operational scenarios for the defense of the Panama Canal during the PANAMAX exercise. Once developed, the group consolidated the COAs to just two for analysis, known as "wargaming." The COAs were then presented to the CFMCC commander for approval.
 
Capt. Maximo Perez of the Argentine navy spoke of the importance of the conference and the work they were able to complete.
 
"It's quite important because it's creating a new awareness of the multinational forces," said Perez. "We set precedence by making face to face contact to create common cultural aspects in order to provide security to the hemisphere."
 
COMUSNAVSO/C4F Plans Director, Capt. Domenick Micillo commented on the accomplishments during the weeklong conference.
 
"The event was a strong success in bringing the exercise coalition navies together to advance our friendly force interoperability for such an important strategic objective," said Micillo.
 
PANAMAX is one of the largest multinational training exercises in the world, involving more than 30 vessels, a dozen aircraft and 4,500 personnel from 20 nations. The annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise series focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal, one of the most strategically and economically crucial infrastructure systems in the world.
 
COMUSNAVSO is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all Naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including theater security cooperation, relationship building, foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.
 
Source: US 4th Fleet Public Affairs