In a brief Q&A, United Kingdom Royal Navy Commodore Adrian Fryer, deputy commander of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander, shared his thoughts about his new role as deputy commander of CMF.
Q: How does it feel to return to Bahrain?
A: It’s been less than seven months since I was last here as the commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) Sentinel, and it’s great to be back again as the deputy commander of CMF, working in this rich professional environment. Bahrain is an amazing country with lots of opportunities and always provides a warm welcome. The geographic location of CMF headquarters here is perfect for a number of reasons: host nation support from Bahrain is superb, co-location with NAVCENT [U.S. Naval Forces Central Command] is ideal, and the ability to have so many of CMF’s personnel here, both in the headquarters and in the task forces, is fantastic. It’s also great to return to see so many familiar and friendly faces!
Q: Can you tell us about CMF’s mission and priorities?
A: Combined Maritime Forces is an enduring global maritime partnership of 34 willing nations aligned in a common purpose to conduct maritime security operations to provide security and stability in the maritime environment. Our area of interest spans from the northern part of the Arabian Gulf, through the Gulf of Oman into the Indian Ocean, across to the coast of Tanzania, up to the Gulf of Aden, through the Bab al Mandeb and to the northern part of Red Sea, a large and important maritime area that includes two of the world’s most important maritime chokepoints. Our mission is to support maritime security and promote freedom of navigation within the region. We do this by conducting counter-terrorism operations, such as counter-smuggling – whether that’s of narcotics, weapons or other illicit cargo – counter-piracy; and reassuring regional partners through gulf security operations. A key part of this includes using our collective experience to help teach, train, mentor and build capacity of our partners in the region.
Q: What are you most looking forward to achieving?
A: First and foremost, it’s maintaining the continued success of CMF. 2021 was CMF’s most successful year in terms of drug seizures and I’m sure we can build on that and do even better in 2022. I want to build on that success, establishing and growing partnerships and cohering maritime security efforts in the region. CMF’s success is not just about the amount of illicit narcotics we have interdicted, it’s also about formulating strong maritime partnerships, relationships and friendships that provide stability and security in the maritime environment to enhance global prosperity in the region. It’s about building capacity with our partners and keeping the maritime chokepoints in the region open for business. Outside of CMF, and with my other hat as head of the UK Maritime Component Command, I am looking forward to a year of successful operations of HMS Montrose and our mine countermeasures force that has operated and provided a service in the region for 15 years. But ultimately, learning and understanding the various cultures of the many different nations which I am privileged to work with every day is a great opportunity.
Q: What do you think is CMF’s greatest strength?
A: Without a doubt, CMF’s greatest strength is its people. The partnership of sailors, marines and coastguardsmen from 34 nations, assisted and supported by armies and air forces, makes CMF the global leader in maritime expertise. Alternating commands of the Combined Task Forces adds another layer of coalition building. As of right now, Pakistan commands CTF 150, Jordan commands CTF 151 and Kuwait commands CTF 152. The combined expertise of these force elements working together as a headquarters makes us stronger together.
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