Exercise Cutlass Express 2023 kicks off in Mauritius

March 6, 2023: The 13th edition of Exercise Cutlass Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, was officially launched in Mauritius today by Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and U.S. Ambassador Henry V. Jardine. An official opening ceremony was held at the Coast Guard Training School at Le Chaland.Exercise Cutlass Express is AFRICOM’s largest naval training exercise in the Indian Ocean. It is a multinational maritime exercise designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security, and to bring together U.S. forces and East African nations, Western Indian Ocean nations, and other international partners to share their expertise and experience.Exercise Cutlass Express aims to improve regional cooperation in support of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, maritime domain awareness, increase tactical proficiency of participating nations to counter illicit trafficking and maritime smuggling, promote information sharing and overall cooperation among participating nations, enhance maritime security and sustain freedom of navigation and global commerce in this vital region.
This year’s exercise will last for 12 days from March 6 to 17 and will include an in-port preparatory phase, followed by six days of at-sea scenarios in the Western Indian Ocean. The 14 countries participating in this year’s Exercise Cutlass Express for the East Africa region include Mauritius, Seychelles, Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, Georgia, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the United States. A total of 320 representatives from the 14 countries, including 65 from Mauritius will be participating in the exercise.
Cutlass Express 2023 participants will conduct several maritime security exchanges, such as vessel queries and ship boardings, airborne maritime patrol operations, and search and rescue drills. Additionally, participants will collaborate in maritime operations center watch teams to track and report simulated suspect vessels.
In his remarks at the opening ceremony today, U.S. Ambassador Henry Jardine said, “This exercise reflects the growing security partnership between our two countries, an important step in a strong relationship rooted in our common values and heritage as democratic and pluralistic societies. As Ambassador, I hope to focus my efforts to further strengthen our relationship in the important arena of maritime security.”