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NEWS | July 6, 2022

NAVAF leaders attend Naval Infantry Leaders Symposium-Africa

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

Leaders from U.S. Naval Forces Africa attended the Naval Infantry Leaders Symposium-Africa (NILS-A) in Dakar, Senegal with maritime partners and allies, July 6, 2022.

NILS-A is a multinational, Africa-focused forum designed to bring together partner nations with Marine forces and naval infantries. NILS-A is co-hosted by the Senegalese Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Africa.

“This is a great opportunity to join our allies and partners to share ideas that help us work better together and promote regional stability and prosperity,” said Rear Adm. Chase Patrick, director of maritime headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. “Our work this week will strengthen our partnerships and create future opportunities to continue supporting African-led solutions to these maritime issues.”

Participating nations include 22 African partners, six NATO allies, and Brazil. The symposium focuses on exchanging information, best practices, and developing cooperative initiatives intended to expand naval infantry integration and readiness opportunities.

“NILS-A is the perfect venue for bolstering the regional Yaoundé Code of Conduct and building on NAVAF’s Gulf of Guinea maritime strategy,” said Capt. John Tully, director of Africa engagements, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. “One of our key objectives is to help our partners develop the capacity and capability to deter illicit maritime activity, because we know that security at sea enables stability ashore.”

Over the last decade, the United States has steadily increased maritime security cooperation with partners on Africa’s Atlantic coast to improve maritime domain awareness capability and ability to protect their sovereign waters.

At the request of African partners and in cooperation with allies, NAVAF routinely operates with Gulf of Guinea nations. Earlier this year, U.S. and African maritime forces from Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Cabo Verde embarked aboard USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) conducted a Gulf of Guinea security patrol and prevented two maritime crimes.

In March, the joint U.S. and African maritime team interdicted an illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing vessel operating in Sierra Leone’s economic exclusive zone.

In April, as part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP), the joint team, led by Cabo Verde, worked in coordination with the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics (MAOC-N), the International Police (INTERPOL), and Cabo Verde's national Maritime Operations Center (COSMAR) to conduct a compliant boarding of a fishing vessel, which led to the seizure of approximately 6,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $350 million.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability. 

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.