PANAMAX 2012 Spotlight with Lt. Col. Kevin Mulcahy Published Aug. 21, 2012 By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Lt. Col. Kevin Mulcahy, from the 183rd Air Operations Group, served as contingency action team (CAT) operations officer (OPSO) for PANAMAX 2012 at Air Forces Southern, Aug. 6-17. The Panama Canal is critical to the free flow of trade in the region and the entire world. The region's economy and political stability largely depend on the safe transport of several hundred million tons of cargo through the canal each year. PANAMAX 2012 was designed to ensure plans are in place to respond to requests from the Government of Panama to protect the canal. PANAMAX has evolved over many years and now includes training for the constantly evolving nature of new threats in today's security environment. Question: What was your role in PANAMAX 2012? Answer: I was the crisis action team OPSO. I orchestrated the Air Force Forces (AFFOR) staff with the daily battle rhythm, supporting the CAT director and the Commander, Air Force Forces (COMAFFOR). I also ensured that all of the sections were equipped with the information to do their jobs, what the outcomes of those jobs were, and ensured that the COMAFFOR was briefed daily on our progress. Question: In what ways did your role contribute to the overall objectives of PANAMAX 2012? Answer: I ensured that all personnel were on track with the mission and that they supported all of the forces that were down range. The mission of this exercise was the defense of the Panama Canal and humanitarian response. PANAMAX 2012 prepared us to respond not only during wartime but also in a time of humanitarian relief and in the war against drugs. This is what we do in the real world on a daily basis, but PANAMAX gave us an opportunity to work jointly with our partner nations learn how to be prepared on a larger scale. Question: In your role, how did you work with the partner nations to ensure the success of PANAMAX 2012? Answer: Our partner nations attended our daily COMAFFOR briefs, and our interactions fostered several opportunities for relationship building. All the participants were able to exchange their experiences and expertise. These interactions strengthened bonds across the region and will foster longer-lasting friendships and an understanding among the partner nations, ultimately benefiting the security of the region. Question: What are the lessons learned you took away from PANAMAX 2012? Answer: Continued relationship building with the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) full-time staff allowed us to take what we have learned on our processes in regards to what positions we need to have filled to best complete our mission. We would like to continue to work with 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) in the planning process in hopes of intertwining with them (more than just augmenting them during the entire process from planning through execution all the way to lessons learned).