Some lucky Army units could lead a combat-focused military exercise in U.S. Southern Command in the coming years, if one Navy admiral has his way.
Adm. Craig Faller spoke recently at a combined Association of the U.S. Army and Navy League event about his work heading SOUTHCOM.
While the admiral covered the range of threats and challenges his command faces, intrusions into theater by China, Russia and Iran along with criminal syndicates that can contribute to corruption problems, he also mentioned some future plans.
One of those is a maritime focused task force, previously covered by Military Times, that will seek a U.S.-led, mostly Navy and Marine Corps effort with partner nations to work as a kind of crisis response team.
But the newer aspect involves plans for a larger Army exercise in the near future.
What it will look like is still under consideration. It’s early in the planning stages and the exercise has not yet been funded.
Faller said there’s interest in tying together larger partner armies from across South America to do a combined exercise that would be joint and include combined arms, live fire and warfighting skills.
Though he wouldn’t be pinned down on specific numbers he said it wouldn’t be much larger than the recent humanitarian exercise Beyond Horizon. That effort saw an Army National Guard detachment with an Army Reserve company and squadron work with a Guatemalan infantry brigade to deliver medical, dental and veterinary services.
An example, he said was PANAMAX, which is currently a command post exercise that walks through defending the Panama Canal from attack or responding to an attack.
“It’s reasonable to take that concept and go from a (command post exercise) to an exercise at full scale,” he said.
But, the admiral stressed, the exercise is still in the concept and force development stage.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.