Coral Harbour Base …20 April 2016 (RBDF)–Members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force completed the bi-annual Coral Cays Exercise 16-1, during 18-20 April, 2016. This has been the third Table Topics Exercise that has been hosted by the Defence Force in collaboration with the United States Northern Command. The two-day exercise was deemed a remarkable success as well as an eye opening experience about the readiness of the country for any national security emergency, according to the nearly two dozen participants. Also represented were the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Department of Immigration and the Department of Customs who engaged in stimulating discussions and forward planning exercises.
The Table Top Exercise each year simulates a specific threat occurring in The Bahamas. During the first session held in 2015, the objective was Maritime Domain Awareness, which included monitoring and tracking vessels within the territorial limits of The Bahamas. It had success almost immediately as a vessel was tracked as it journeyed from Inagua and was later interdicted. The second Table Topic Exercise, also took place in 2015 and concentrated this time on processes that would be involved with deploying the newly purchased landing craft, HMBS Lawrence Major, that was procured under the Sandy Bottom Project towards any disaster in The Bahamas. The plan that was created during that particular Table Topic Exercise was ultimately the blueprint utilized in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin, facilitating a fairly smooth process in its deployment.
The exercises requiring discussion this year identified the processes and triggers that would result in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force providing military assistance to civil authorities during a mass migrant unrest. Various phases and scenarios were explored. At the culmination of the event, an intelligence estimate was developed and an After Action Report was produced that improves the RBDF’s reservoir of readiness training and increases its preparedness in the event of any security threat. Captain Tellis Bethel, Commander Defence Force (Acting) in his debrief commented on the enthusiasm he observed during group dialogues, indicating that ‘Simply put, preparedness of the RBDF is paramount to our mandate.’
This event is a precursor to a massive strategic indormation operations campaign the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is set to launch in the first two weeks of May called Marlin Spike/Marlin Shield in collaboration with other regional and international agencies. The campaign is also an answer to the forward planning and strategic missions of the military organization as it prepares itself to respond to security threats, which may adversely impact the sovereignty of The Bahamas.