The most senior British military officer visited Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) headquarters in Bahrain this month.
The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB CB, accompanied by the Defence Senior Advisor for the Middle East (DSAME), Lieutenant-General Thomas Beckett CBE, visited the CMF HQ whilst conducting a theatre wide tour.
General Houghton was hosted by Commodore William Warrender RN, the Deputy Commander of CMF, and met with Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, Commander CMF. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the region in detail and highlight the challenges faced on a daily basis by UK and CMF staff and assets. As a multi-national naval partnership CMF has support from 31 nations but respects the national objectives of each country. This requires individual nations to fully understand how CMF can operate effectively.
Cdre Warrender said: “It was an honour to host the Chief of Defence Staff during his recent visit to the CMF HQ in this extremely busy theatre. I am really proud of what we achieve out here and senior visitors such as General Houghton further demonstrate the importance of operations in this region and the value of our friendships with our Gulf partners.”
CMF is the world’s most successful maritime counter terrorism enterprise, continuing to set records in heroin and hashish seizures on the high seas, thereby denying terrorists vital funding. Commanded from its Headquarters in Bahrain and comprising 31 contributing nations, CMF executes its vital mission through three Combined Task Forces across nearly 3.2 million square miles of ocean bordered by 21 countries.
CMF was created post 9/11 to help counter the threat from international terrorism but the mission was later expanded to include counter piracy operations. When it comes to combating piracy or terrorism, no single nation or navy could possibly have enough ships or aircraft to cover the entire area. Operating within international law, CMF achieves results by working together, pooling resources and actively supporting regional maritime forces patrolling their own maritime environment.