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Virtual conference prepares for live RIMPAC 2022 naval exercises

Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet and other coordinators of RIMPAC, regarded as the world's largest maritime training exercise, joined about 300 personnel at Naval Base Point Loma, Calif., to plan the 2022 event. Photo courtesy of U.S. 3rd Fleet/U.S. Navy
Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet and other coordinators of RIMPAC, regarded as the world's largest maritime training exercise, joined about 300 personnel at Naval Base Point Loma, Calif., to plan the 2022 event. Photo courtesy of U.S. 3rd Fleet/U.S. Navy

June 14 (UPI) -- The virtually-held planning conference for RIMPAC 2022, the world's largest maritime warfare exercise, ended last week with plans to make it an in-person event after last year's exercise was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biennial exercise largely involves military forces from Pacific Rim countries, including those in South America, North America and Asia, and is headquartered at Naval Base Point Loma, near San Diego.

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The 10-day planning conference for the 28th RIMPAC exercises, although virtual, involved over 300 personnel from participating countries.

"This initial RIMPAC conference embodies our exercise theme of capable, adaptive partners," said Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, in a statement on Monday.

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"Working alongside familiar RIMPAC partner nations as well as new participating nations, the past 10 days have given us all the opportunity to establish relationships within a multi-national framework," Koehler said.

The list of 2022 participants was not made available, but the 2020 event, reduced in scope in light of COVID-19 precautions, was held in and around Hawaii and involved the navies of Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States.

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The 2018 event included 25 U.S. Navy ships and representatives from Tonga and Vietnam.

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"The initial planning conference is the official stepping-off point for our multi-national planners to shape the exercise," said Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Dobson, RIMPAC 2022 coordinator.

"During the past two weeks, the team at Third Fleet alongside our partner nation representatives have successfully ensured we are coordinating the necessary information to move on to more detailed planning," Dobson said.

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