THE Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) on Friday concluded its bilateral Marlin Shield operation, a maritime and land-based training project aided by United States security forces.
The geographical makeup of the Bahamas makes it a major transhipment point for licit and illicit goods and Marlin Shield aims to actively exercise ways to combat these challenges together.
The Marlin Shield operation factored in a number of US Security and local units and took nearly two years of planning conferences, exchanges and exercises.
According to RBDF reports, the seven-day operation carried out with the US Northern Command and The US Special Command North, ended Friday morning with the simulated apprehension of a group of armed terrorists on Norman's Cay, Bahamas.
Speaking to the operation's success, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage suggested that the "costly" mission illustrated the "strong security partnership" being developed between the United States and the Bahamas.
He noted that the two countries remain committed to a lasting partnership based on trust, mutual benefit and mutual respect for sovereignty.
He indicated that the engagement strengthens the Defence Force’s capabilities and competencies in national security initiatives with its regional partners for an improved land and sea presence within its area of responsibility.
During the exercise, areas in and around New Providence, Eleuthera and Exuma experienced an increased military presence, particularly in the air and sea.
US Charge d’Affaires Lisa Johnson, crediting the project as "tremendous success" stated: "The US Military, we can't do what we do around the world, helping keep people safe without working with our partners and that is what we were here to practice with the Bahamian Defence Force."
She added: "It was training for both of our forces so that they learn and share best practices, learn how to communicate together and how to operate together against common threats and practice that interoperability; which they were able to do both during land and sea based exercises (Friday)."
Exercise Marlin Shield comes on the heels of last month’s Coral Cays Exercise, which was a table top exercise discussing the RBDF role and responsibilities in the event of a mass migrant unrest, as well as a rehearsal drill.