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NEWS | Sept. 14, 2023

MSWG – A focus on Blue Africa and interoperability between partners and NAVAF

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

Service members from 24 African nations, alongside U.S. Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines, joined together for a Maritime Security Working Group (MSWG) at the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) Headquarters, in Naples, Italy, Sept. 12-14, 2023.

The purpose of the MSWG is to understand the requirements of African partner nations for capacity building, in key areas such as maritime domain awareness, operational analysis, maritime professionalism, law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and response and interdiction operations.

Born from the discussions during the 2023 African Maritime Forces Summit (AMFS) in Cabo Verde, this MSWG will focus on how the large-scale vision of AMFS can be achieved, by building capacity in key areas of maritime security. Adm. Stuart B. Munsch, commander of NAVEUR-NAVAF and one of the key guest-speakers during the conference.

“There are two points in particular I took away from the AMFS: The importance of ‘Blue Africa,’ the exclusive economic zones of African nations, and the interest in meeting with the different facets of NAVAF,” said Munsch. “Within NAVAF, and within the U.S. Navy as a whole, there is a collective interest in Africa’s right to security, stability, and prosperity, and reinforcing those values through the protection of the exclusive economic zones of African maritime nations.”

He then emphasized the importance of regional participation in maritime security, saying “Interoperability is key to seeing this through – both interoperability internally, with different aspects of navies and coast guards communicating with each other, and interoperability on an international scale with regional neighbors and partners. The goal of this working group is to facilitate that, outside the framework we usually see during exercises and conferences.”

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.