The word "UNITAS", Latin for 'Unity'. UNITAS is designed to train participating forces in a variety of maritime scenarios to test command and control of forces at sea, while operating as a multinational force to provide the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability.
Ships and staff from 11 different countries, including the United States, will be participating. The United States ships and aircraft will spend the two weeks operating with ships and helicopters from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United Kingdom as well as staff members from France, Jamaica, Panama, and Peru both in port and at sea. The ships and their crews will be working together to complete tactically challenging training throughout the exercise. The end goal is to promote continued interoperability between the countries and enhance relationships through mutual cooperation and teamwork amongst nations.
"The number one mission [of UNITAS] is to continue to operate together in exercise so that we are able to do so in crisis... it is a huge investment in tackling our common maritime challenges," said Capt. John M. Dorey, commanding officer, USS Anzio, during a shipboard brief on the exercise.
During the exercise, each ship will be paired with a 'sister ship' to promote international relationships and build trust. USS Anzio has been partnered with the Colombian ship ARC Antioquia (FM 53) for the exercise. Selected officers and chief petty officers will be involved in social and professional activities with their counterparts from participating nations, strengthening the bonds of understanding and friendship. Sailors from Anzio will also be participating in a Habitat for Humanity community engagement project. A program called "Shipriders", gives Sailors the opportunity to get underway on foreign ships, and be completely immersed in the shipboard life and culture of the other ship throughout the entirety of UNITAS.
UNITAS is the longest running and largest maritime exercise in this hemisphere. The 12-day exercise will entail a variety of operations intended to enhance interoperability between the partner nations.
COMUSNAVSO/COMFOURTHFLT supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.