Next week, U.S. and Mexican military commands will secretly get together to practice cross-border operations, including scenarios that involve the massive movement of Mexican citizens into Arizona as a result of a magnitude 7.8 Southern California earthquake, and suspected outbreaks of diseases caused by terrorist use of biological weapons.

The exercise, called Fuerzas Amigas/MEX MIL (“Friendly Forces”) has not been announced by either country, and is part of increasing cooperation between U.S. homeland defense commands and SEDENA (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, the Mexican Department of Defense).

Fuerzas Amigas, slated to begin the week of May 5, is also part of the Ardent Sentry series of exercises sponsored by U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). These grand apocalyptic exercises, held since 2004, have previously included Canadian participation, but this will be a first-time entry for Mexico. And befitting the sensitivities involved in growing U.S.-Mexican military cooperation, though previous exercises have been publicly announced (last year’s Ardent Sentry was the centerpiece of a gigantic Alaskan exercise), hardly a word has been said about Ardent Sentry 15.

The exercise is called a command post exercise—which means that the “play” only occurs on paper, with no actual movement of troops. The main players are U.S. Army North (ARNORTH) staff and the Mexican II Military Region staff in Mexicali. As part of the exercise, Air Force liaison officers from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida will also travel to the Mexican air force Región Aérea del Noroeste command center in Hermosillo. There they will incorporate Mexican and U.S. air defense systems; facilitate the mock movement of Mexican military aircraft to the Marine Corps base in Yuma, Arizona; and intercept hostile Mexican private planes crossing the border.

The Mexican military is notoriously squeamish about publicizing cooperation with the United States, often denying requests for reporters to attend joint U.S. events even once the Pentagon has approved. Thus the official logo for Fuerzas Amigas (above) is hilarious — thanks Gawker art director Jim Cooke for pointing it out — because it is taken from a World War II propaganda poster used in the Bracero program, which brought over 215,000 Mexican laborers to the United States to supplement the labor pool. “Americans All” indeed, except that what the U.S. and Mexican governments secretly plan for the breakdown of Mexican society — or defense of the border — is a ridiculous, overblown secret.

[Logo obtained from U.S. Department of Defense.]

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