Navies of 21 Countries Begin US-Led Exercises in Southeast Asia

This iteration of the annual SEACAT drills is the largest to date as the US is increasing focus on the region to counter China

The US is leading 20 other nations in naval drills in Southeast Asia, known as the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) military exercises. The drills kicked off on Tuesday in Singapore and will also be conducted virtually.

According to US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), the nations participating are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

The SEACAT drills first started in 2002, and this year is the exercises’ largest iteration as the US is stepping up military activity in the region to counter China. INDOPACOM said the drills involve 10 ships and more than 400 personnel.

The SEACT exercises come as the US is simultaneously conducting massive exercises elsewhere in the region. From August 2nd to August 27th, INDOPACOM is leading the Large Scale Global Exercise 21, which involves the militaries of the UK, Japan, and Australia, and is being held across the region that the US now calls the Indo-Pacific, which stretches from India to across the Pacific Ocean.

The US is also conducting its most extensive amphibious military exercises in 40 years. The similarly named Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021 is modeled off Cold War-war era drills, spanning 17 time zones and involving five numbered fleets. This year, only the US military will participate in the LSE, but Washington plans for other countries to be involved in future iterations. The LSE started on August 3rd and will conclude on August 16th.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.