Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Bryan Blair
MANAMA, Bahrain – More than 150 multi-national military leaders representing 33 partner nations were onboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain to attend the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) annual Maritime Security Conference, March 7.
Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces hosted the partner-nation representatives to discuss the importance of teamwork and alliances in combatting and deterring potential threats in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
“Collaboration is key to accomplishing our shared goals of maritime security and stability in the region,” said Malloy. “A forum such as this conference allows Navy leaders from across the region and the globe to gather and share perspectives – identify common threats and shared opportunities, and then coordinate activities which will optimize our collective strength and maximize our effectiveness as we operate at sea in the Middle East.”
The objective of this year’s conference was for multi-national leaders to actively communicate about challenges, solutions and ultimately, the way forward in maritime strategy. The members were dispersed into working groups, which assisted in streamlining the discussion topics.
“Collectively we operate in one of the most challenging and complex maritime environments in the world. Ships that operate here face threats in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean,” said Malloy at the beginning of the conference. “The CMF is the vehicle we use to promote legitimate commerce, deter conflict and maintain regional stability.”
Royal Navy Commodore Steve Dainton, deputy commander of the CMF, was also in attendance and echoed the sentiments conveyed by Malloy.
“As a community, we all need to be in this together and building a network of like-minded people will be essential to future success,” said Dainton. “Your individual contributions undoubtedly provide legitimacy to the organization.”
CMF is comprised of three Combined Task Forces (CTFs), CTF 150, which is responsible for maritime security and counter terrorism operations, CTF 151, responsible for counter piracy operations and CTF 152, responsible for maritime security and counter terrorism with the Gulf and building cooperation between Gulf Cooperation Council nations.
CMF is a unique multi-national collective of 33 like-minded nations, dedicated to promoting security and free flow of commerce across 3.2 million square miles of international waters in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf. CMF’s main focus areas are disrupting terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment for all.
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.