20-02 - U.S. Army South Transition to a Multinational Force Headquarters (PANAMAX 18)

By Center for Army Lessons LearnedNovember 7, 2019

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL


LTC Michael (Mike) C. Nicholson, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army South,

PANAMAX is an annual multinational exercise focusing on the security of the Panama Canal and stability operations under the auspices of a United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR). The goal is to provide realistic training for all participants and build capabilities to plan and execute complex multinational operations. In addition, the exercise strengthens relationships that allow partner-nation security forces in the region to increase cooperation and achieve common goals.

PANAMAX began in 2003 with three countries: Chile, Panama, and the U.S. The exercise originally focused solely on the maritime security of the Panama Canal, but has since grown to become the region’s largest coalition command post exercise. Since its inception, partner nations continue to pursue opportunities in leadership roles.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Figure 1. Entrance to the Multinational Force South (MNFS) Headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX. Photo by Frederick Hoyt, USARSOUTH Public Affairs¹

During the 2018 exercise, Colombia led the ground forces, Brazil led the maritime and air elements, Argentina led the special operations forces component, and the U.S. led the multinational force, with Peru serving in key leadership positions. Military participants included staff elements from U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM); U.S. Army South (USARSOUTH); U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South; U.S. Special Operations Command South; and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet.

Simulated training for PANAMAX is typically held at locations throughout the U.S., including Joint Chiefs of Staff J-7 South Complex, Suffolk, VA; USSOUTHCOM, Doral, FL; Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Homestead, FL; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ; and Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, FL.


1. Hoyt, Frederick, U.S. Army South Public Affairs, Joint Base San Antonio, Photo Gallery No. 180817-F-PO640-008.JPG, 08 AUG 2018. Details online at https://www.jbsa.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001953191/.

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