Saturday, September 28, 2013

Plans Finalized for Cutlass Express 2013

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Luis R. Chavez Jr., Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East Detachment Europe
NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Sailors and civilian maritime personnel from Europe, Africa and the U.S. finalized the schedule of events and associated objectives for Exercise Cutlass Express 2013 (CE13) during a final planning conference, Sept. 23-27.

Cutlass Express, one of four major U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet exercises in Africa, is designed to improve maritime safety and security in East Africa while building maritime relationships.

The exercise is scheduled to commence Nov. 11-18 in operating areas surrounding Seychelles, Djibouti, Tanzania and Kenya.

Participating African countries in this planning conference included Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique and Tanzania Yemen.

"This exercise is a great opportunity to build camaraderie, improve communication systems and to improve maritime safety and security within the East African nations and the accompanying waters," said Capt. Guy Jackson, exercise director for Cutlass Express. "I would like this exercise to achieve individual goals of each East African nation and continue to strengthen the partnerships we share in Africa."

Events during Cutlass Express include a variety of scenarios to improve the abilities of the African nation to deter piracy, counter illicit trafficking and environmental issues such as illegal fishing.

"The common goal of Cutlass Express in my perspective is to foster relationships between different countries in order to stop any economical and environmental problems a lot of African nations face," said Djibouti navy Lt. Gouled Osman Moussa.

During the conference, participating African nations practiced using maritime domain awareness software, to better monitor vessels and potential suspicious activities, all meant to improve maritime security within the countries coastal waters.

"The technology we have been working with will now give our country the opportunity to communicate and share information to other nations in order for us, as a nation, to fight a common threat such as piracy," said Moussa.

Cutlass Express is a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored exercise focusing on addressing common maritime issues through the sharing of information and the coordination among East African nations.