Cobra Gold 01
Cobra Gold 2001 was a regularly-scheduled joint/combined exercise and is the latest in the continuing series of U.S. - Thai military exercises designed to ensure regional peace and strengthen the ability of the Royal Thai armed forces to defend Thailand or respond to regional contingencies.
Cobra Gold remains a bilaterally controlled exercise between Thailand and the U.S., as they work together to build regional readiness for future missions. However, third-nation observation and participation have become a trend in recent years, beginning with Singapore, as thee exercise has attracted regional interest. Third countries must observe before they can participate. Singapore observed the exercise for several years and was granted participant status in 2000. Three countries observed Cobra Gold 2000: Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines
As interest in the exercise by third nations continued to grow, U.S. Pacific Command created a system to manage the observer program through a Combined Observer Liaison Team (COLT) composed of Thai and U.S. Officers. The team director is a colonel of the Royal Thai Supreme Command, and the deputy director is a U.S. Navy captain.
During Cobra Gold 2001, the observer program includes 35 representatives from nine countries: Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The multinational observer program is part of a transformation of the Cobra Gold exercise into a more multinational exercise to build regional readiness while complementing the existing strong bilateral relationships especially between the U.S. and Thailand. Countries that first observe the exercise may then become potential participants.
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