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By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
Multinational forces from East Africa, Europe, and North America will come together for exercise Cutlass Express 2023 (CE23), beginning with an opening ceremony in Djibouti on Mar. 5, 2023.
Conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) and sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), CE23 is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement techniques, promote safety and security in the Western Indian Ocean, and increase interoperability between participating nations.
CE23 is one of three NAVAF-facilitated regional exercises that provides collaborative opportunities for African, U.S., and international partners to address shared transnational maritime concerns. NAVAF’s ongoing maritime security cooperation with African partners focuses on maritime safety and security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure.
“The relationships and partnerships we build through exercises such as Cutlass Express 2023 increase our combined capabilities to respond to maritime threats in the waters surrounding Africa,” said Rear Adm. Chase Patrick, director of maritime headquarters, NAVAF. “By teaching and learning from each other through the various scenarios, we are able to bring new ideas and techniques to the table that will lead to a safer, more prosperous environment in the Western Indian Ocean.”
CE23 scenarios will facilitate information sharing between Maritime Operation Centers and enhance regional and partner capacity to counter sea-based illicit activity.
This year’s exercise will be based in Djibouti, Kenya, and Mauritius, with multiple shore-based and at-sea training events along the eastern coast of Africa. Additionally, CE23 will be linked with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s International Maritime Exercise, eliminating regional seams and increasing combined global capabilities and interoperability.
The 15 nations scheduled to participate in CE23 include Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, France, Georgia, Greece, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.
AFRICOM, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is one of 11 U.S. Department of Defense combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war. AFRICOM employs the broad-reaching diplomacy, development, and defense approach to foster interagency efforts and help negate the drivers of conflict and extremism in Africa.
For more than 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa 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.