Maritime forces from the United States, 10 East African and two European nations, along with several international organizations, have just commenced the multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2013 off the coast of East Africa.
Exercise Cutlass Express 2013, held in several operational areas in waters off East Africa, is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation, tactical expertise and information sharing practices among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the region.
The weeklong exercise will take place in the vicinity of four different naval hubs: Mombasa, Kenya; Djibouti, Djibouti; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Port Victoria, Seychelles. The exercise will feature in-port phase activities before practicing naval concepts at sea.
"We want to continue to make the waters off East Africa a safer place, and that's what you're here to do," said Capt. Guy Jackson, Cutlass Express 2013 exercise director, in remarks during an opening ceremony in Seychelles.
Cutlass Express aims to test a wide variety of skills such as maritime boarding, medical response, radio communication, and information sharing across regional maritime operations centers.
Participants will execute tactics and techniques within scenarios that mirror real-world counter-piracy and counter-illicit trafficking operations as well as actions taken to deter illegal fishing.
The exercise, in its third year, is one of four Africa-focused regional "Express" series exercises facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet. The exercise is part of a comprehensive strategy of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet and U.S. Africa Command to enable African partners to address maritime security concerns.