Military personnel from the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain began a 10-day naval exercise Jan. 15 in and off the coast of Bahrain.

Exercise Neon Defender is an annual bilateral training event that enhances collaboration and interoperability among the Bahrain Defence Force, Ministry of Interior and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). NAVCENT is headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.

“We are very excited to begin the new year training side by side with the Kingdom of Bahrain, a longstanding, strategic partner,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT and U.S. 5th Fleet. Cooper also leads the Combined Maritime Forces and the International Maritime Security Construct, two U.S.-led international naval coalitions hosted in Bahrain.

“Each year, our mutual commitment to regional maritime security and stability strengthens and expands, and this year is no different,” said Cooper. “This is a great start to meaningful bilateral cooperation we will demonstrate together in 2023.”