The United States and Royal Brunei Navies will commence the 28th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) beginning October 24 to 31 in Brunei, with the participation of U.S. Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) and a P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

This year highlights the 28th anniversary of CARAT Brunei among allies and partners as a way to demonstrate long-term commitment to strengthened relationships throughout South and Southeast Asia and to highlight U.S. Navy commitment to key Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partners to reinforce ASEAN centrality.

“The United States and Brunei’s relationship has entered its fourth decade in a position of strength, and we continue to build our partnership through joint military exercises and engagements such as this one,” said U.S. Ambassador to Brunei, Her Excellency Ambassador Caryn McClelland. “We are proud of our exemplary cooperation based on mutual desire for the peace, security, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”

“My crew and I are excited to participate in CARAT Brunei and work side-by-side at sea with our RBN [Royal Brunei Navy] counterparts,” said Commander Clay Beas, commanding officer of USS Charleston. “Bilateral exercises like these are essential to learning how our navies can operate together in times of peace and conflict to ensure regional security, stability and prosperity.”

Charleston, part of DESRON 7, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The overarching goals of the CARAT 2022 maritime exercise series are to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the 28th iteration of CARAT Brunei” said Capt. Walter Mainor, Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15. “Our allies and partners are our greatest advantage in maintaining a free and open maritime domain and fostering shared values and international norms. We are all stronger together.”