Staff members pose for a photo during the opening ceremony of IMX 2019. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dawson Roth.
International Maritime Exercise 2019 (IMX 19), a multinational exercise featuring assets and personnel from more than 50 partner nations and seven international organizations, began on 21 October.
IMX 19 demonstrates the international community’s resolve in maintaining regional security and stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The exercise will span from the Suez Canal south to the Bab-al-Mandeb, through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Northern Arabian Gulf. The exercise consists of four phases: staff training, table-top and classroom exercises, fleet training exercise, and force redeployment.
This iteration of IMX is the sixth of its kind, the first being conducted in 2012 and the most recent being held in 2017. Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, explained that IMX 19 will be the most dynamic one to date.
“This year’s iteration is the largest yet, expanding in size and geography; including all essential elements of maritime security operations,” said Malloy. “We’ve grown participation by about twenty nations, are covering an unprecedented amount of ground in the region, and our multinational team is taking part in more training scenarios than ever before.”
Vice Adm. Malloy also stated that multinational exercises such as IMX 19 strengthen partnerships with nations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and beyond; relationships that are critical to mission success.
“IMX is an important demonstration of global commitment to freedom of navigation and the free flow of maritime commerce in this region,” said Malloy. “I’m proud that we have participation from nations all over the world, especially in leadership positions of multiple task forces. Stability and security in the maritime domain is a shared goal of all nations.”
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses nearly 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The region is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-al-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
Source: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command