NEWS | Oct. 13, 2021

Senior Leadership Symposium held for Exercise Phoenix Express 2021

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

Military leaders from across Europe, Africa, and the United States as well as several regional and international organizations completed a three-day Senior Leadership Symposium (SLS) as a continuation of exercise Phoenix Express (PE21) in Tunis, Tunisia, Sept. 27-29, 2021.

“These symposiums strengthen strategic-level relationships that help to facilitate better regional cooperation when dealing with maritime threats,” said Rear Adm. Jeffrey Spivey, director, Maritime Partnership Program NAVAF and vice commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. “Having the opportunity to host an open forum information exchange on best practices from operations to logistics will enhance the way we conduct maritime interoperability exercises in future iterations of exercise Phoenix Express.”

The symposium, presented by the Tunisian Navy and the U.S. Naval War College and hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa  and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), is designed to foster honest discussions on the challenges of combating maritime security threats in North Africa.

"The SLS events allow the U.S. Naval War College-International Programs Department to team with NAVAF and UNODC to engage directly with the Phoenix Express partners and stakeholders," said Jeffrey M. Landsman, associate professor, International Programs and Africa Regional Studies Group-Maritime, U.S. Naval War College. "Additionally, this forum allows all involved to gain the perspective from maritime leaders and explore ways to improve maritime national and regional cooperation and coordination.  All of us working together ensures we advance safety, security and economy across the entire maritime sector."

Participants from eleven nations including Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and the United States, worked together throughout PE21 to increase regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities. Their efforts promoted safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea and territorial waters of participating North African nations.

“The UNODC is very pleased to partner with NAVAF, the U.S. Naval War College, and the Tunisian Navy under the Senior Leadership Symposium for exercise Phoenix Express 2021,” said Siri Bjune, deputy head, UNODC Global Maritime Crime Program. “This SLS allows key leaders from Europe, North Africa as well as international partners to exchange experiences and ideas related to enhancing cooperation and coordination in the maritime security sphere. Only through collaboration can we secure safe and healthy oceans and seas.”

Exercise Phoenix Express is one of three regional maritime exercises executed by NAVAF as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide collaborative opportunities amongst North African forces and international partners that addresses maritime security concerns. 

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/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.