SOUTHCOM Launches Annual Panama Canal Exercise

US Southern Command launched its annual Panamax 2014 on Aug. 8. Air Forces Southern airmen based at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., along with personnel from Marine Corps Forces South, Navy Forces South, and SOUTHCOM, joined 16 allied nations in the seven-day exercise, which is focused on defending the Panama Canal, according to an Aug. 8 release. Participants will “use simulations to command and control multinational sea, air, cyber, and land forces defending the vital waterway and surrounding areas against threats from violent extremism, natural disasters, and pandemic outbreaks.” Panamax 2014 will also feature a B-52 Stratofortress “to support maritime detection and monitoring—the first time in three years a live military asset [has been deployed] during exercise scenarios,” states the release. Participating countries are from the Caribbean islands, Central America, parts of South America, and France.