February 26, 2021 – Commander, Submarine Forces hosted a combined Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) closing ceremony for the conclusion of the 2021 deployment season with Colombian submarine ARC Pijao (SS 28) and Peruvian submarine BAP Pisagua (SS 33) on Naval Station Mayport, Florida, Feb. 26.
Established by U.S. Fleet Forces Command in 2001, the DESI program is a U.S. Navy partnership with South American countries and supports their diesel-electric submarine operations and fleet readiness events in operating areas off the U.S. east and west coasts.
During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Thomas Wall, Submarine Force Atlantic’s reserve deputy commander, congratulated and thanked the captains and crews of Pijao and Pisagua for their outstanding performance and participation.
“Capt. Diego Bautista and Cmdr. Luis Deza and the officers and crew of ARC Pijao and BAP Pisagua continued the tradition of excellence, performing their assigned mission with silent pride and professionalism in support of the several anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises,” said Wall. “You have continued the DESI tradition of “top-notch” Colombian and Peruvian submarine support to the U.S. Navy.”
Pijao and Pisagua deployed to the Jacksonville Operating Areas for a combined total of 205 days and provided realistic ASW training, representative of the modern diesel-electric submarine threat, while opposing the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group during a composite unit training exercise.
Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, praised the crew members and shared his appreciation for their efforts in partnering to confront real world threats.
“Thank you for providing us the opportunity to work alongside and learn from you in another successful DESI deployment,” said Caudle. “These exercises avail operators from participating countries with unmatched, realistic training designed to improve lethality and warfare skills against proliferating, real world threats. We will continue to work closely together toward achieving our shared objectives to improve our combined undersea effectiveness.”
The completion of this exercise marks Colombia’s 11th and Peru’s 17th deployment in the DESI initiative. The Colombian Navy conducted their first DESI deployment in 2004 and the Peruvian Navy in 2002. Since then, Colombian and Peruvian Navy submarines combined have participated in 1,770 days of ASW training exercises and events with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific fleets. These ASW exercises serve as the final certification for our carrier strike group prior to deployment.
“Although we live on different continents and speak different languages, Colombia, Peru, and the United States rely on the ocean for trade,” said Wall. “Our nations have a responsibility to ensure the sea lanes remain open and accessible for commerce, and deny access to criminals who use the sea for illicit purposes.”
Current navies participating in DESI include Colombia, Peru and Chile.
The mission of the Submarine Force is to execute the Department of the Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and nation could not otherwise achieve.
The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.