Exercise Cutlass Express 2015
Exercise Cutlass Express 15 is an annual East Africa exercise focusing on regional cooperation and maritime safety and security. It is a U.S. Naval Forces Africa led exercise along with the Commander of Sixth Fleet. The exercise is taking place at sea off the coast of Mauritius and Djibouti, and as well the shore locations include portions of East Africa, Yemen and Europe.
Mauritius was chosen as the location because it has the lead exercise planners so we’ve come here to help them out and learn from them and share our experiences in Maritime security and like I mentioned, we also have boarding party members here who are taking part in the boarding party phase of the exercise.
Canada was chosen to participate in Exercise Cutlass Express because of our operational experience and operational success in this area of operation.
The phases for Exercise Cutlass Express in Mauritius were broken down into 2 phases. Phase 1, three days in length and covered fundamental training through lectures, walk-throughs, demonstrations, and the boarding of ships alongside the jetty. Phase two was also three days in length and this had the teams executing live boardings at sea on different platforms and utilizing the tools they learned in phase one to execute their missions.
Working with the United States Navy Coast Guard and Navy Seals was a great experience because we learned a lot from them; they learned some things from us as well. Our operating procedures are very similar which was very beneficial for the teams we were working with because they were getting a standardized instruction from the assessors and that lead for a better working environment.
My role here is an instructor slash assessor of the various boarding party teams from the other countries that came in to take part in Cutlass Express. I get to see how other countries do what they do and give them a bit of insight on what we do as Canadians and guide them along and help them out. Other counties are at different levels so yes, it’s been fulfilling and exciting to watch them.
Also participating in Cutless Express is core staff from both Combined Task Force 150 and Combined Task Force 151. Both of these staffs are based out of Manama, Bahrain. Their role is to asses how the information is shared between the Regional Maritime Operations Centres and the Regional Coordination Centres to improve response to common maritime threats. Additionally, seven of our Canadian and Australian liaison officers from CTF 150 were performing equivalent roles in three of the centres located in Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius.
Combined Task Force 150 the relevance for us being down here for Cutlass Express 15 is that the Exercise is taking place in a portion of our area of operations so it’s a chance for us to enhance our regional cooperation and do capacity building with members of our area of operations and also organizations such as United States Naval Forces Africa and Commander of Sixth Fleet.
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