Combined Task Force 152 (CTF-152) led a multi-national, regional exercise to enhance Maritime Interdiction Operations and to improve cooperation and interoperability between the numerous forces undertaking security operations in the Gulf.
The exercise was designed to help develop skills associated with boarding operations, improve information sharing, develop the communications flow between ships and CTF-152 headquarters, increase cooperation and develop skills with nations undertaking maritime security activities in the Gulf.
Participating forces included navy and coast guard vessels from Kuwait, the UAE and the US and the exercise was led by a multi-national team at CTF-152 headquarters in Bahrain. Additional personnel from the Bahrain Navy, the Saudi Arabian Navy and Saudi Arabian Border Guards visited the CTF-152 Headquarters during the exercise.
Lt Cdr Robert D. Holt, Commanding Officer, USS Thunderbolt, emphasised the importance and value of this type regional exercise. He said: “The crew enjoyed the opportunity to train with our Kuwait Navy and Coast Guard partners. Maritime security concerns all navies in the Gulf, and this exercise allowed our countries to improve our combined response to the threat of maritime crime.”
In addition to participating vessels and personnel, participants from various nations observed the exercise from ships at sea and the CTF-152 Watch Floor in order to enhance their understanding of the operations of the task force. It also allowed for practicing real-time information sharing and contact reporting by the participating nations.
Inclement weather conditions, typical at this time of year in the Gulf, made the boarding and interception elements much more difficult resulting in an even more challenging and realistic exercise for the participants.
As with most exercises of this nature, the learning and skill development will continue in the future. Lt Brian M. Finn, Commanding Officer, USCGC Baranof, noted: “The exercise was a great opportunity to engage with our Navy and CMF Command counterparts. I’m looking forward to future opportunities to work together and build on our professional relationships.”
CTF-152 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CTF-152 operates in the Gulf region where it coordinates Theatre Security Cooperation activities with regional partners, conducts Maritime Security Operations, and remains prepared to respond to any crisis that may develop.