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PANAMAX is a multi-national exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command that is designed and executed by participating nations. The exercise promotes interoperability and builds participating nation capability to function as part of a multi-national force.

The first PANAMAX exercise commenced in 2003. Originally proposed by Chile, it came to fruition with coordinated efforts between Chile, Panama, and the United States. PANAMAX has grown significantly over the years in both countries participating and assets used. In 2009, nineteen countries participated.

Training Involved: FA PANAMAX 2010 was designed by a team of civilian and military planners from each of the participating nations to support a broad spectrum of objectives. This complex exercise was designed to:

  • Demonstrate command and control of a multi-national force in defense of the Panama Canal within a United Nations mandate

  • Promote interoperability that focuses on the security of the Panama Canal and build participating nation capability to function efficiently as part of a multinational force

  • Provide a venue for Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) endorsing countries to execute PSI

  • Introduce a Pandemic Influenza tabletop exercise

  • Exercise freedom of navigation and sea-lanes of communication with a multi-national force, and coordinates both air and land components of a joint task force

PANAMAX 2009 served as U.S. Army South's Joint Task Force sustainment exercise and also served as U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command's Maritime Operations Center pre-accreditation exercise.

Participating Nations: The multi-national force included forces and integrated staff members from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and in cooperation with the United Nations and Conference of Central American Armies.

Special Operations:Special Operation Forces are a vital asset, especially in executing the Military Interdiction Operations portion of the exercise. During the exercise, SOCSOUTH also establishes a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force with SOF representatives from participating nations.

The command and control training and the combined maritime interdiction operations during the exercise provide the opportunity to share techniques, tactics and procedures and improve the capacity to function as a multinational force.