The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Commanders Conference took place in Bahrain on 6 September 16.
The bi-annual conference has brought together senior military representatives from CMF nations to apprise them of CMF’s achievements over the past six months. The conference also provided the opportunity to assess and discuss the operational effectiveness and potential future development of CMF capabilities.
In his opening remarks, the Commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Admiral Donegan United States Navy, highlighted the unique nature of CMF as a partnership and the complexities of the operating area. He stressed the inherent strengths of CMF and the importance of building trust between members to maintain the CMF mission.
Vice Admiral Donegan reinforced the importance of carrying out Maritime Security Operations and highlighted the fact that conflict in the region is rife and it would take the collective efforts of CMF and those it works with to stop these conflicts from spilling over into the maritime domain.
Vice Admiral Donegan highlighted some of the successes of the three Combined Task Forces (CTFs) that make up CMF. He referenced the weapon and drug seizure successes of CTF 150 over the last six months, with warships from the UK, Australia and France involved. He pointed out that piracy is still suppressed due to the efforts of CTF 151 and other international actors in the region. He also drew attention to the training serials carried out by CTF 151 and CTF 465 of the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR). Finally he recognised the maritime security efforts of CTF 152 and the exceptional regional engagement being carried out in the Arabian Gulf.
In conclusion, Vice Admiral Donegan summed up by stressing the unique nature of CMF: “One of CMF’s strengths is that it is a flexible and agile collective of like-minded nations. We should be proud of all we’ve accomplished, but we have much more to do and that requires adaption and evolution.”