By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-AfricaU.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Maritime forces from East Africa, West Indian Ocean nations, Europe, North America, and several international organizations began the multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2019.2 (CE 19.2) with an opening ceremony held at the Doraleh Coast Guard Training Centre in Djibouti, Oct. 28, 2019.
CE 19.2, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F), intends to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity; promote national and regional security in East Africa; and increase interoperability between the U.S., African nations, and international partners.
“Since the first iteration of Cutlass Express in 2011, this exercise has built on a foundation of shared understanding that improved maritime security in the West Indian Ocean can only be achieved through cooperation and partnership,” said Rear Adm. Nancy Lacore, vice commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet and director, Maritime Partner Programs, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. "It is critical that we work together under the Cutlass Express construct to continue developing the capabilities of participating countries and to enforce full operational implementation of regional agreements that seek to guarantee maritime security."
Participants of CE 19.2 will train alongside U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 19 participating nations during the Navy diver/explosive ordnance disposal introductory training, continuing to eliminate traditional regional seams and increasing U.S. global capabilities and interoperability.
“Maritime security cannot be conducted alone in a vacuum,” said J. Alexander Hamilton, deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti. “The seas are vast, and covering this expanse requires partnership amongst all stakeholders to protect and secure these vital lifelines. The countries participating in this exercise, in all capacities, as facilitators, players, and observers; demonstrate their awareness of this requirement and have answered the call to action.”
CE 19.2 is one of three CNE-CNA/C6F-facilitated regional exercises undertaken to provide African forces and international partners with collaborative opportunities on comprehensive maritime security concerns.
CNE-CNA/C6F, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.