Nov. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Navy and Marine Corps commanders signed a plan codifying areas of responsibility to strengthen partnerships in the U.S. Southern Command.
The Integrated Maritime Campaign Support Plan, a document regularly updated and modified, spells out strategies to better coordinate the 4th Fleet's Southern Command and Marine Corps Forces South.
Each command focuses on Central and South American waters.
"We have competitors who seek to replace our influence in the maritime domain with an alternative form of partnership in the USSOUTHCOM AOR [the Southern Command's area of responsibility]," said Maj. Jon Wilkins, the Marine Corps' lead planner.
"This plan acknowledges the nature of this competition, and seeks to maintain a continuous competitive advantage in the maritime domain by using old tools, common to security cooperation, in new ways," Wilkins said.
Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, and Brig. Gen. Phillip Frietze, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces South, signed the compact on Wednesday in a ceremony aboard the USS Wichita at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
The plan acknowledges the requirement to meet the challenges of long-term competition for influence with China and Russia.
It also specifies a continuation of cooperative maritime security operations with partner nations in the Caribbean Sea and in Central and South America.
"The MCSP provides clear guidance for what we need to do to expand and improve our operational readiness at sea, to further engage with our partners and increase our maritime awareness," said Frietze. "We look forward to putting this plan into action, and I know our partners are excited about upcoming opportunities to operate and exercise together."