Operation ARTEMIS members deploy to eastern Africa and Indian ocean island nations for Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS 17

A soldier on board a ship observes soldiers approaching in a smaller inflatable boat.
Djibouti, Djibouti. February 4, 2017 – Lieutenant-Navy François Gaudreault observes the Turkish boarding party boat approaching the target vessel during Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS. (Photo: Master Corporal Mathieu Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)


By: Captain Colette Brake, Public Affairs Officer, Operation ARTEMIS and Combined Task Force 150

A combined team of Canadian and Australian personnel deployed to eastern Africa and Indian Ocean island nations for Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS (CE) 17 from January 30 to February 8, 2017.

CE 17 is an exercise sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa to improve maritime safety and security, promote regional collaboration, and shape security force assistance efforts. The Canadian-led, Australian-supported Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), was the lead Combined Maritime Forces organization for the exercise. The Canadian Armed Forces members at CTF 150 are currently deployed on Operation ARTEMIS. Canadian Coast Guard personnel joined the team for the exercise to bring an additional layer of expertise.

“Events such as CUTLASS EXPRESS 17 offer African and Indian Ocean island nations a unique platform to enhance their capabilities at all levels,” said Commodore Haydn Edmundson, Commander Task Force Arabian Sea and Commander CTF 150. “From the watch keepers to the senior leadership, there is a benefit for all participants. The trust and confidence generated between participant maritime security partners helps address the challenges that no one nation is capable of tackling alone. Exercises such as CE 17 aide in creating a unified approach towards legitimate use of the high seas and enhances safety for all mariners.”

Combined mentorship teams deployed to Maritime Operation Centres in Djibouti, Kenya, and Madagascar. They helped the watch keepers to practice proper procedures to effectively operate in their environment. As some of these countries are still developing their Maritime Operations Centres, the mentorship teams assisted in setting the stage for future success and enduring capabilities.

As the scenario-based training unfolded, the watch keepers assessed the situation, collaborated with other regional centres, and discussed ways to deal with maritime incidents. The joint approach to training helped the partner nations to further develop their programs and to build an enduring capability in the region.

“The Canadian Coast Guard has a long history of working with the CAF in Canada’s north and we are excited to expand this relationship to new areas,” said Jody Thomas, Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner. “Working hand in hand with the CAF, the international navies, eastern African and Indian Ocean island nations benefits us all. Maritime safety and maritime security is a global responsibility and we are honoured to have had the chance to contribute to this important process.”

CE 17 provided professional development on many levels. A Public Affairs Officer from Operation ARTEMIS/CTF 150 deployed to Mauritius as one of the lead instructors for local and regional military Public Affairs professionals at a workshop. The focus of the training was to develop effective techniques and procedures on how to inform the public of ongoing capabilities relating to maritime operations. With these new skills, regional Public Affairs professionals can inform the public about maritime operations and incidents, and grow public confidence and support for their organizations.

Senior staff from CTF 150 attended a Senior Leadership Seminar in Mauritius during the exercise. Facilitated by the United States Naval War College, this year’s theme was Indian Ocean Maritime Security “The Right Force for the Right Time at the Right Cost.”

As this iteration of the CUTLASS EXPRESS series concludes, these nations are now ready together to conduct maritime security operations in their respective areas of interest.

Image gallery

  • Soldiers and civilians share ideas during a seminar.
  • A soldier points to a computer scene while other soldiers observe.
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