Maritime forces from East Africa, the United States and European nations concluded exercise Cutlass Express 2013, Nov. 18.
Cutlass Express is one of four African regional “Express” series exercises facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet. The objective of the exercise was to increase regional cooperation, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)/information sharing, and improve communications and interoperability among participating forces in order to counter piracy and maritime threats.
“I am happy to report that this year’s exercise was a success,” said Capt. Guy D. Jackson, Cutlass Express 2013 Exercise Director, during the closing ceremony at the Seychelles Coast Guard Base in Victoria, Seychelles.
The third-annual exercise was conducted across four different operational hubs in waters surrounding Seychelles, Tanzania, Kenya and Djibouti. The scenarios are designed to sharpen tactical expertise on a number of levels and included counter-piracy, counter-illicit trafficking and illegal fishing. Participating nations felt that the exercise was beneficial to improving skill sets that can be used in real-world operations.
“Our nations have benefited greatly from this exercise and we have met the goals that we wanted to achieve,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ahmed Djama, East African Standby Force (EASF) representative from Djibouti. “The skills we have revisited during this exercise will greatly prepare us for more real situations that we may face, and we will be successful in those situations.”
Jaskson imparted on exercise participants the need to keep learning and developing skill sets.
“As we close the exercise, I want to leave you with a challenge,” said Jackson. “Take back to your nations and commands what you have learned, discuss best practices, keep the doors of communication open to each other, and continue the partnerships you have built this week.”
Press Release, November 21, 2013; Image: US Navy