The exercise also allowed both nations to increase their capabilities and encouraged the exchange of ideas and techniques, which are paramount to both nations. “It increases our ability to work with each other,” said Ralls. “It ensures that for any threat they [GDF and U.S. Forces] may go up against, they will be more efficient and better prepared.” “Acquiring that kind of knowledge is essential in meeting an increase of threats, which we face here in Guyana,” said Col. Bruce Lovell, Colonel General Staff of GDF. “If ever we are called upon to counter or tackle any of those existing threats, we are better prepared by this type of training.” While GDF and U.S. Forces have trained together for the past four years in similar training events, this year’s Exercise Fused Response was largest joint exercise of its kind in the Western hemisphere, involving approximately 200 GDF soldiers and 350 U.S. Forces from all branches of service. As the executing agent for Exercise Fused Response, Special Operations Command South works with special operations forces across the Caribbean, Central, and South America as part of its theater security cooperation program to establish and enhance partner nation capabilities. After a year of planning, members of the Guyanese Defense Force and U.S. military came together to train and improve their interoperability, tactics, and training techniques during Exercise Fused Response 2012, held March 1-9. The exercise’s lead planner, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Ralls, explained that the goal of the training event was to develop a better understanding of how the two countries’ forces operate so they can share their practices and work together seamlessly. By Dialogo March 16, 2012 The intent of Fused Response, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise, was to build on the solid professional relationship between the two nations by improving military skills and practices to better respond to security challenges, such as transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking of humans, drugs, and other contraband.