By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
The U.S. Embassy Office of Security Cooperation (OSC), Djibouti, Combined Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and U.S. Naval Facilities Command (NAVFAC) engineers completed the final walk-through of the U.S. Naval Forces Africa Exercise Related Construction (ERC) project on the Djiboutian Navy Base to create a Maritime Operations Center (MOC) conference room, construct a new restroom facility and increase water storage and distribution on the base. The team met with the Djiboutian Navy base commander, Colonel Ahmed Djama to inspect the new facilities and prepare the official turn-over documents for the project.
This project enhances the facilities used to host the annual Cutlass Express exercise and is part of a multi-year infrastructure investment partnership between U.S. Naval Forces Africa and the Djiboutian Navy that will create storage, maintenance and operational facilities for the Cutlass Express exercise and the Defender patrol boats provided by the U.S. Department of State in February 2020.
"We work very closely with the Djiboutian Navy and our relationships allows us to accomplish our mission in East Africa," said USMC Maj. Todd Coppedge, U.S. Embassy Office of Security Cooperation (OSC). "Visiting with the Djiboutian Navy leadership, like we did today, helps strengthen the already solid relationship that exists between our two nation's militaries."
This project was managed by Brian Tiu, of NAVFAC Europe, Africa, Central Expeditionary Business Line (EXBL). This project was completed with minimal delays despite the global pandemic and the relatively small budget of only $169,330 USD. The new MOC conference room, bathrooms and water storage and distribution system will greatly improve base resiliency and the functionality to host joint, combined exercises and operations in Djibouti.
“This was a relatively small project, but was challenging due to the construction occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Tiu. “In the end, the team was able to complete the project on time for one of our key partners in this region.”
Cutlass Express is an annual all-domain exercise to improve U.S. capabilities and interoperability with European and North African partners, increase partner self-sufficiency in the maritime domain, and assess and enhance the maritime security cooperation of U.S., European, and African regional partners.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, 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.