Its mission is to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements.
The activities of CTF-150 directly influence events ashore, as terrorist organisations are denied a risk free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics.
CTF-150‘s Area of Operation (AOR) spans over two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman (but not the Arabian Gulf, which is the responsibility of CTF-152).
This area is a vital artery of world trade that includes the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the US with over 23,000 shipping movements per year. Over one third of the world’s oil passes through the Area of Operation (AOR) each year. In addition the AOR contains three narrow waterways, know as ‘choke points’, where vessels are required to pass closely between two shorelines. This means they have limited maneuverability and are more vulnerable than would otherwise be the case in open waters.
Task Force 150 was a US Navy formation under the control of the US Naval Forces Central Command (CENTCOM). After the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, it was re-established as a multi-national coalition in order to undertake counter-terrorism operations at sea as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The coalition has grown and evolved beyond that operation’s scope to encompass and address commonly perceived threats to member states and their values.
CTF-150 is a multinational task force. Participatory nations have included: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Participation is purely voluntary. No nation is asked to carry out any duty that it is unwilling to conduct.
Command of CTF-150 is rotated between participatory nations on a four to six month basis.
Maritime Security Operations (MSO)
Maritime Security Operations (MSO) help develop security in the maritime environment, thereby contributing toward stability and prosperity on a regional and a global level.
MSO deter and deny the use of the maritime environment for terrorism and the facilitation of terrorist activities and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations.
MSO are conducted under international maritime conventions to help ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.
Assist and Approach Visits (AAVs), Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Interdiction Patrols (IPATS) are principle techniques employed.
CTF-150 vessels also assist mariners in distress and undertake humanitarian work as required.