Exercise Cutlass Express to Begin

January 27, 2017 – Maritime forces from East Africa, West Indian Ocean nations, Europe, and the United States, as well as several international organizations will begin the sixth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express, Jan. 31.

Cutlass Express 2017, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF), is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity and promote national and regional security in East Africa, inform planning and operations.

Cutlass Express 2017 (CE17) will test participating nations’ ability to respond to illicit trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing, and search and rescue situations. Maritime operations centers (MOCs) of participating nations will exercise tracking and reporting procedures of simulating suspect vessels.

The exercise will take place in the vicinity of two operational hubs: Djibouti, Djibouti, and Port Louis, Mauritius.

CE17, which is scheduled to last nine days, will include an in-port preparatory phase and three days of underway drills.

The exercise leverages The Djibouti Code of Conduct, of which 20 nations are signatory to, as a framework for exercising information sharing practices and enforcing international law of the sea.

Scenarios focused on the globally-recognized Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) will allow endorsing nations to develop capabilities to detect and disrupt the delivery of materials used to build and develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) will facilitate a 4-day senior leaders’ seminar with Cutlass Express participating nations to promote the development of national maritime strategies and the development of operational concepts and capabilities to operationalize maritime strategy.

Exercise Cutlass Express is one of three Africa-focused regional “Express” series exercises facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F). The exercise falls under Africa Partnership Station, the umbrella program for the Express series exercises and other capacity-building initiatives throughout Africa.

CE17 participating nations include Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Turkey, Canada, Uganda, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United States.