US and Bahrain Begin Exercise Neon Defender > US Central Command > View News Article

Kingdom of Bahrain and United States forces began a 10-day military exercise in and off Bahrain on May 8.

Exercise Neon Defender is an annual bilateral training event between United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Bahrain Defense Forces. The Bahrain Coast Guard is also participating. The exercise focuses on maritime security operations, installation defense and medical response.

“Bahrain makes many vital contributions to maritime security in the Gulf, and the annual bilateral exercise Neon Defender highlights the comprehensive capability of Bahrain’s maritime forces,” said Ambassador Steven C. Bondy, U.S. Ambassador to the Gulf. Kingdom of Bahrain. “The U.S.-Bahrain security partnership is continually expanding to provide enhanced regional security. This exercise is a great example of how our two nations are working in tandem to improve safety and security for all, for the benefit of our two great nations.

Nearly 200 U.S. personnel are participating, including maritime engagement, security, medical, and construction teams from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) and USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318) as well as several US Navy unmanned systems will also participate in the exercise.

“Neon Defender is a great opportunity to increase interoperability with our Bahraini partners,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “I am inspired as our military relationship with Bahrain continues to grow as we strengthen and expand our mutual cooperation.”

Based in Manama, Bahrain, NAVCENT includes U.S. forces operating in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points in the Strait of Hormuz, Channel of Suez and Bab al-Mandeb.