Exercise Phoenix Express has become the latest US military-led exercise to be cancelled, following Exercise Obangame Express 2020 and Exercise African Lion 2020.
The US military’s Africa Command on 17 March said that after careful consideration with exercise participants and the host nation, Exercise Phoenix Express 2020 has been cancelled for force protection considerations.
The decision not to proceed with the exercise comes in response to the global effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), while minimizing exposure of US and partner nation service members to this virus.
“US Africa Command will continue to evaluate and adjust the scope of its activities as necessary to ensure force health protection and prevent the spread of the virus.”
Africa Command said the US routinely exercises with partners in Africa to build enduring relationships and combined capacity to ensure the safety and security of the regional maritime environment. Phoenix Express, originally scheduled for 5-18 April in the Mediterranean Sea, is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities in order to enhance efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea and territorial waters of participating North African nations.
Planning continues for the exercise in 2021.