Maritime Component Commander reinforces interoperability values

Published on LCDR Peter Croce (author), ABIS Kayla Hayes (author)

Location(s): Honolulu

Topic(s): Exercise RIMPAC

Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 command team at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (photo: ABIS Kayla Hayes)
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 command team at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Commodore Mal Wise has spent a month coordinating nine task forces involving personnel from 26 nations for Exercise RIMPAC 2016 and said it ranks among the most rewarding challenges of his Royal Australian Navy career.

As the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Wise was responsible for about 25,000 personnel, 26 nations and 46 ships in the exercise around the Hawaiian Islands.

His leadership staff at the Pacific Warfare Centre included personnel from Chile, United States, Canada and Australia, and planning staff from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand who coordinated the complex exercise scenario to fight and win at sea and in the land environment from 28 June to 4 August.

He said the diversity of the headquarters combined with the professionalism of the personnel made the challenging exercise efficient, manageable and effective in achieving its aim to develop ‘capable, adaptive partnerships’.

“I have a complex job that is eased by the professionalism and the capablity of the personnel deployed by participating nations,” Commodore Wise said.

“It is a massive responsibility as this is the world's largest maritime exercise and by far one of the most complex as it combines air, land and sea assets."

“What gave me great confidence is the calibre of the multinational staff who deployed to participate in the exercise across all levels - they are all very impressive men and women.”

Commodore Wise said his key objectives were to ensure an exercise that prioritised safety of personnel and the environment into the planning and execution of all live-fire, maritime and other training activities.

“We had a very successful exercise on the back of ensuring safety as a high priority including a brief pause in the exercise program to deal with a hurricane during a key phase of the force integration period," he said.

“For me, the impact of Hurricane Darby on 25 July showed how adaptive both the ships at sea and the staff in the relevant headquarters could be, and therefore worked together to achieve both a safe exercise and develop strategies in good time.”

The Australian Defence Force deployed around 1,650 personnel to RIMPAC including ship’s company in HMA Ships Canberra, Warramunga and Ballarat, divers from Clearance Diving Teams One and Four, three AP-3C Orion aircraft and maintenance crews from 92 Wing and the Australian Army’s Amphibious Ready Element from 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment.

“I have no doubt there will be many friendships made with Australians and Chileans from our combined headquarters staff as a result of the rewarding professional opportunities provided."

 “On a personal note, I hope that all our sailors and officers leave here with enhanced professional networks and friendships that last their lifetimes.”