CMF sets up new naval task force to boost maritime security in Red Sea

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has established a new, fourth international naval task force to strengthen maritime security in the Red Sea region.

The new Combined Task Force (CTF) was commissioned on 17 April during a ceremony at the U.S. Navy’s regional headquarters in Bahrain by Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and CMF.

CMF
CMF / U.S. Army photo by Cpl. DeAndre Dawkins

The new task force will focus on international maritime security and capacity-building efforts in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden.

U.S. Navy Capt. Robert Francis was designated to initially serve as CTF 153’s commander. However, a regional partner will assume the leadership role in the fall, CMF informed.

The task force staff will include as many as 15 U.S. and international military personnel from CMF member nations.

As disclosed, the staff is currently embarked aboard the amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) operating in regional waters. When not at sea, CTF 153 personnel will work from offices ashore at CMF headquarters in Manama, Bahrain.

“This is a tangible and meaningful demonstration of our commitment to ensuring regional maritime security and stability through international cooperation”, said Cooper.

“The Middle East region is dynamic and vast. There’s not one navy that can patrol the surrounding waters by themselves. We are always at our best when we are teaming with partners.”

CMF is the largest standing multinational naval partnership with 34 nations committed to the international rules-based order at sea. The organisation’s other task forces include CTF 150, which now focuses on maritime security in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean; CTF 151, which leads regional counter-piracy efforts; and CTF 152, dedicated to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf.

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