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SEACAT Communications Rely on CENTRIXS

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070827-02
Release Date: 8/27/2007 9:19:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Frank S. Montellano, Commander, Task Group 73 Public Affairs

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- The Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) exercise involving equipment, vessels and personnel from six nations concluded in Singapore, Aug. 22.

A suspicious vessel, known as a critical contact of interest (CCOI) was the SEACAT's final scenario. As the unidentified CCOI continued its journey, traveling through Indonesian waters toward the coast of Malaysia, then on to Brunei information regarding the contact was handed through secure channels from one country to another.

SEACAT focused on increasing maritime security efforts by presenting opportunities to enhance capabilities in areas such as maritime interception and through scenarios that emphasize information sharing.

Smooth, secure communication between countries was vital to the success of SEACAT, and the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS) played a large role.

“If we don’t have CENTRIXS, then SEACAT won’t work,” said Lt. Megan Sagaser, a Navy intelligence officer. “It is indispensable.”

Sagaser, along with Navy liaison officers from Burnei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand worked with CENTRIXS aboard the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).

“During last year’s SEACAT exercise, the country of Brunei did not have CENTRIXS, and communications with their headquarters was sporadic at best,” Sagaser said. “This year they have CENTRIXS, and data transfer has improved greatly. CENTRIXS is the secure way to get that data across.”

Information Technician 2nd Class Oluwadamilola Odulana, the command approver for CENTRIXS aboard Harpers Ferry, explained that CENTRIXS is “where all the nations can come in and share.” Odulana touted the ability of CENTRIXS for its global connectivity and ability to quickly exchange information.

“Everyone is pretty excited right now,” said Lt. Matt Holmes, who worked with liaison officers in the tactical logistics compartment where CENTRIXS is located.

With the speedy receipt of information, the liaison officers were able to plan their next move throughout the scenario.

During the exercise, the CCOI continued traveling north, heading into the Sulu Sea, off the Philippine coast. On recommendation of the Philippine liaison officer, using information shared through CENTRIXS, the ship was boarded a second time by a team of Philippine sailors who found several hidden weapon caches. Because of the communication provided by CENTRIXS, the liaison officers were able to complete the scenario by sharing information between the United States and participating countries to catch a group of weapons smugglers.

“That is the spirit of the exercise,” Sagaser said. “Getting everyone to cooperate and share information to successfully complete military interdiction operations.”

SEACAT was a weeklong at-sea exercise with six Southeast Asian nations. It allows participating nations to apply maritime security tactics in dynamic threat situations. U.S. participants include Harpers Ferry, frigates USS Jarrett (FFG 33) and USS Ford (FFG 54), along with Military Sealift Command ships USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK 3010) and MV Pvt. Franklin J. Phillips (T-AK 3004).

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