By Lt. j.g. J. Schmitz
Naval officers from eight countries joined U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) members at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, recently for the Specialized Inter-American Naval Conference on Naval Control of Shipping (SIANC-NCS). The conference is an offset of the bi-annual Inter-American Naval Conferences (IANC) and is usually held at rotating host nations every other year.
This year marks the first time in more than 12 years the U.S. has hosted the conference, which first convened in 1959. NAS Jacksonville was selected due to its importance to the U.S. Navy, waterway shipping, and all that it offers as a destination conference city. The conference underscores the U.S. Navy's position as a key contributor to inter-American shipping as well as the value the Navy places on its productive maritime partnerships.
"The conference has been great in preparing us for future actions together towards a common set of goals," Said Capt. Juan Ricardo Rozo of the Colombian Navy.
This year's conference focused on those common goals, sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas, and developing insights among each country's navy and moving towards greater hemispheric solidarity. In addition to the U.S., navies represented included those of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Over the course of the week, each attending nation delivered a presentation focused on this year's theme "Exchanging Information to Strengthen Partnerships."
"The most important thing for our navy is the reliability of our friends," said Capt. Jesus Lopez Vallejo of Mexico.
Rear Adm. Chris Sadler, USFFC reserve deputy director of maritime operations and Rear Adm. Mary Jackson, commander Navy Region Southeast, served as the senior U.S. Navy representatives.
The delegates were also engaged in non-conference activities including a static display of a P-8A Poseidon attached to the "War Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP)-16, golf and American hot dogs at a Jacksonville Suns baseball game.
An all-reservist team produced the conference, as a showcase of Navy Reserve talent and in keeping with the Navy Reserve's management of naval control of shipping.
At the end of the conference, attendees reaffirmed partnerships in the interest of future functionality amongst shared aims.
"There's an old saying that trust cannot be surged," said Sadler.