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Chilean airman assists with space operations for PANAMAX 2012

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp
  • 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Cmdr. Jaime Andres Rivera, a doctor of aeronautical engineering for the Chilean air force, participated in PANAMAX 2012 with Air Forces Southern (AFSOUTH), Aug. 6-17. PANAMAX 2012 is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise that focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal. Forces from 17 nations worked together as part of a computer-simulated-exercise to provide a variety of responses to requests made by the governments of Panama and Columbia. These requests were geared at protecting and guaranteeing safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal, ensuring its neutrality, and respecting national sovereignty.

Question: What was your role in PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: I worked with the director of space forces for AFSOUTH. Together we worked as advisors to the commander. We participated in the briefings to see if the mission could be completed given the space aspects.

Question: The governments of the countries participating in PANAMAX 2012 share common interests and goals. How would you define these interests and goals?

Answer: The important thing to know is how other countries organize their military operations in order to have a military standard. It is important to have an understanding of how each other's military operates all the way down to the language they speak. It is also very helpful to develop relationships, because it is easier to call upon someone that you have a relationship with than it is to call upon someone that you do not know. It's always interesting to have another view of the same problem.

Question: How is the security of the Panama Canal important to your country?

Answer: It is as important to us as it is to the other bordering countries. It is a way of commerce for us to and from Europe and Asia. Its security is vital.

Question: What were the benefits of participating in this exercise?

Answer: To have knowledge of other nation's doctrine and to gain experience by working next to people from other nations that have the same job as you. The large scale of technology available here is conducive to gathering many nation's together - this is hard to do in my country. Also, learning the verbiage used to communicate during a wartime is crucial.

Question: What did you take away from PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: My country is very shy in the space field. We just launched our first satellite last December, so we hope to integrate all of the operations that we learned here. The military participation in regards to our space capabilities is the most important lesson I learned. That includes the doctrine, the flow of information, the inclusion of other teams, and the product we can deliver. The friendships we have made here are important to take home with us as well. We are becoming military colleagues. I want to say thank you for the experience that PANAMAX has provided. Thank you for the support, and I hope to be back for PANAMAX 2013.