Maritime professionals from South and East Africa, Europe, Indian Ocean nations and the U.S. met for the Cutlass Express 2016 Main Planning Event (MPE) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, between August 4 and 7.
The four-day planning event aimed to further develop exercise scenarios for partner nations, participant force offerings, schedule of events and participant manning for Cutlass Express.
“The main focus for this MPE is to have all of the Maritime Operation Centers (MOCs) work together in an orderly fashion and understand what the tactical and standard operating procedures are for real-world operations,” said NCIS Transnational Crime Unit Bahrain Special Agent Theodore Mordecai. “It is important that we pay attention to all the details so we can move forward to the Final Planning Event in an efficient manner.”
Cutlass Express, scheduled to take place in early 2016 within several exercise operational areas along East Africa, is one of four regional Express Series exercises facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet. It focus on increasing interagency capabilities in deterring counter-piracy, counter illicit trafficking, and other maritime threats in the waters off East Africa.
Lt. Hans Radegonde, executive officer for the Seychelles Coast Guard said he believes the planning event laid the groundwork for a fruitful exercise.
“This coming year, I want to be able to focus on creating a structure for our Maritime Operations Centers and getting them to operate effectively with other MOCs from regional countries,” he said.
While the final exercise scenarios are not finalized, the planning event was a success.
“The final scenarios will depend on what each host nation coast guard or navy is proficient in. Each team is unique and can provide their expertise in their primary techniques,” said Coast Guard Lt. Heidi Bevis, future operations officer and maritime engagement team supervisor. “We can all learn from one another through this exchange of ideas.”