February 7, 2022: The 11th edition of Exercise Cutlass Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, was officially launched in Seychelles today by Commander David Caffrey, the Executive Officer of Naval Reserve Component for NAVAF, and Lieutenant Colonel Jean Attala, the Commander of the Seychelles Coast Guard. This year’s exercise will last for 11 days.
Exercise Cutlass Express is AFRICOM’s largest naval training exercise in the Indian Ocean, bringing together U.S. forces and regional partners to share their expertise and experience. The exercise is designed to improve regional cooperation in support of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, maritime domain awareness, information sharing between maritime operation centers, maritime interdiction, adherence to the rule of law, and counter-proliferation interdiction capabilities in order to disrupt illicit maritime activity and strengthen safety and security in the region.
“The solution to transnational threats is multinational cooperation. And that is exactly what I see before me today, several nations and organizations gathered in a common cause. I am proud to be a part of this collaborative exercise. The effort and teamwork we will see on display the next two weeks is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our forces,” Commander David Caffrey said at the launch ceremony.
“This year, Cutlass Express will be combined with U.S. Central Command’s International Maritime Exercise (IMX) and will comprise 33 partner nations. We are extremely excited to be bringing together so many partner nations to practice operations that will contribute to the safeguarding of the waters of the Western Indian Ocean. Each participating nation has worked hard during the planning stages for this exercise, and now we get to see all this hard work pay off. The global maritime domains will be the direct beneficiaries of these efforts.,” said, Lieutenant commander Matthew Kohlmann, Office of Security Cooperation Chief at the U.S. Embassy.
In the East Africa region, Exercise Cutlass Express 2022 will involve 14 participating, including Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the United States. Rwanda and Sudan are also participating in the training for the first time this year. From Seychelles, officers from the Seychelles Coast
Guard and Seychelles People’s Defense Force will be among the participants of this year’s
training. From Mauritius, more than 90 officers from the National Coast Guard, as well as VBBS (Visit Board Search and Seizure) teams, will be participating in this year’s training in Seychelles, Bahrain, and Kenya.
The year’s exercise will include an in-port training period, as well as at-sea scenarios and a senior leadership symposium. The exercises will test the ship’s abilities to conduct maritime interdiction operations by boarding teams against simulated suspect vessels, detecting illicit activity, and follow-on evidence collection procedures. The scenarios will test tactical proficiency of participating nations to counter illicit trafficking but are also meant to promote information sharing and overall cooperation that will lead to sustained and enhanced maritime security and stability.
Contact: U.S. Embassy Media Office | PortLouis_Press@state.gov