By Dialogo March 07, 2012 The Navies of North America met in Mexico in late February to refine their joint plans to combat organized crime in their respective maritime areas of the extensive continental region. According to an official statement by the Mexican Navy Secretariat (Semar), the meeting was held as part of the North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI), which aims at implementing programs designed to have the agencies responsible for upholding the rule of law fight organized crime and narcotics trafficking. The trilateral meeting was held at the Semar headquarters in Mexico City, with the aim of improving the three countries’ maritime security. With NAMSI, the countries seek to deter criminal activities in the maritime environment and find better ways to cooperate in the area of maritime interception, the statement added. The goals to be attained under NAMSI chiefly involve improving interoperability, in order to prevent or eliminate any threat that the governments of the participating countries consider it necessary to counteract, in addition to maintaining coordination and exploring other mission areas where this working group can improve their joint efforts, thereby achieving tactical and operational excellence and improving communication and mutual understanding, while strictly respecting the sovereignty of each participating nation at all times. The U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Semar have increased their bilateral maritime coordination through NAMSI. As part of the NAMSI framework, a Maritime Operations Interoperability Manual, containing standard operating procedures, has been implemented in order to facilitate simultaneous operations and exercises among NAMSI member nations. The interoperability manuals have been evaluated in simultaneous semiannual exercises held in the Gulf of Mexico and off of Mexico’s Pacific Coast. In addition, the NAMSI member nations participate as maritime cells in each year’s Maritime National Security and National Defense War Games, held at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Admiral Gerald Beaman; the commander of Canada Command, Lieutenant General Walter Semianiw; and the head of the general staff of the Mexican Navy, Vice Admiral José Santiago Valdés, participated in the meeting.