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By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet
Exercise Sea Breeze 2023 commenced following an opening ceremony held in Constanta, Romania, Sept. 11, 2023.
Sea Breeze 2023-3 is scheduled to run from Sept. 11-15, 2023, in Constanta, Romania. This is a land and sea-based exercise with multinational Allies and Partners, aimed to enhance the capabilities of Black Sea and Partnership for Peace maritime security forces while progressively training and preparing the Ukraine Maritime Command staff.
“The expansion of the Sea Breeze exercise into a three-part serial demonstrates our ability to train together throughout the European theater, in a multitude of environments, to ensure we are ready and prepared for any challenges we may face as we continue to strive for a secure maritime environment,” said Task Force 68 Commodore Capt. Geoffrey Townsend.
“The ability to practice and learn from each other in different training environments increases our combined capacity and capability to respond to threats, something that has become increasingly important in our ever-changing world.”
Sea Breeze 2023-3 will focus on mine countermeasure and dive operation mission areas, in order to promote a safe and secure maritime environment. Exercises such as this build interoperability and agility amongst NATO Allies and Partners, demonstrating our shared commitment to security and stability amidst a rapidly changing and dynamic maritime environment.
This year’s iteration of the exercise consists of a three-part serial held in Glasgow and Loch Ewe, Scotland and Constanta, Romania. The first serial of Sea Breeze 2023 was held in the Firth of Clyde Sea near Glasgow and Loch Ewe, Scotland, June 26 – July 7, 2023. Fifteen nations and NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) participated in the exercise that consisted of maritime operations center training, at-sea mine countermeasure training, and explosive ordnance disposal training.
“The main objectives of Sea Breeze 2023 are to enhance interoperability and increase the level of training amongst the participating forces, focusing on mine countermeasures with support from participating nations’ diving and Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) teams and a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft,” said Romanian Navy Capt. Adrian Dinca, chief of staff of the Romanian maritime component command.
The second serial of Sea Breeze 2023, held in Constanta, Romania from Sept. 5-6, 2023, was a fleet commanders conference focused on discussing the current maritime situation in the Black Sea, collective demining capabilities, and effective ways to enhance maritime security in the Black Sea. Participating nations included Bulgaria, France, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States.
“We hope to train all personnel in a multinational environment and develop a common understanding of the execution of procedures, to improve our knowledge in using the various techniques provided by all nations participating in the exercise,” said Capt. Dinca. “[We train] to strengthen our relationships and mutual trust, in order to show our commitment to the common effort of eliminating the mine threat and ensuring freedom of navigation in the Black Sea.”
United States participation in Sea Breeze 2023-2 includes Sailors from Commander, Task Force 68’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Mine Countermeasure (MCM) detachments, Navy exercise facilitators, and a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
The exercise, now in its 22nd iteration, has been held annually since 1997, except for five separate years in which operational commitments or world events prevented the execution of the exercise.
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. 6th Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
U.S. 6th 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.