The opening ceremony of the 29th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2023 (CARAT 29/2023) between the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), the United States Navy (USN) and United States Coast Guard (USCG), was officiated at Wira Seni Concert Hall, RBAF Band Building, Bolkiah Garrison.

During the opening ceremony, welcoming remarks were delivered by the co-chairs of CARAT 29/2023, Colonel (U) Hismawadi bin Haji Mohammad Said, Acting Deputy Joint Force Commander, Joint Force Headquarters (Act DJFC, JFHQ) representing the RBAF and Captain Matt Scarlett, Deputy Commodore, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven (CDS 7) representing the USN. 

Both co-chairs expressed appreciation for the warm relations between both armed forces and look forward to fostering closer bilateral defense cooperation through field exercises and training.

Also in attendance was Lieutenant Commander Samuel Kim, USN, the Chief Office of Defense Cooperation, U.S. Embassy in Brunei Darussalam, as well as exercise participants from both countries.

During the CARAT exercise, a diverse range of at-sea, air and ashore exercise events have been planned. Similarly, Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) programs will be held which include a Legal Symposium, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Medical Exchanges, Force Protection Training, Maritime Aviation Practices, Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures (Ex MCM), Women’s Interaction Program and Band performances. In addition, a musical outreach program will take place at the Child Development Centre, Kiarong and public performance at One City Shopping Centre, Salambigar.

The annual CARAT exercise is intended to improve the RBAF and other participating agencies interoperability, professionalism, and proficiency as well as improve collaboration in response to both traditional and non-traditional security challenges. The CARAT 29/2023 Exercise will be carried out for eleven days from 9 September 2023 until 19 September 2023.