Exercise Cutlass Express Kicks Off

Maritime forces from East Africa, South Africa, Europe, Indian Ocean nations, the United States and several international organizations began the fourth iteration of the multinational maritime Exercise Cutlass Express, Jan. 28, 2015.

Exercise Cutlass Express 2015, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA) and information-sharing practices to increase capabilities of East African and Indian Ocean nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.

The exercise leverages The Djibouti Code of Conduct, which 21 nations are signatory to, as a framework for exercising information-sharing practices and enforcing maritime rule of law at sea.

Scenarios focused on the globally-recognized Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) will allow endorsing nations to develop capabilities to detect and disrupt the delivery of materials used to build and develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Exercise Cutlass Express, in its fourth year, is one of four Africa-focused regional “Express” series exercises facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F). The exercise is part of a comprehensive strategy by CNE-CNA/C6F and AFRICOM to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African partners that addresses maritime security concerns.

Participating nations in Cutlass Express 2015 include Australia, Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania and Turkey.

The exercise will last eight days, with the focus being on three days of at-sea scenarios to test boarding teams and watchstanders in the Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs).

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Image: US Navy