US-led maritime training task force established in Middle East

This comes weeks after US said it would increase defensive capability in Gulf after increase in Iranian threat

The launch of the US-Led Combined Maritime Forces task force to help train navies for a multinational partnership in the Middle East.
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The US-led Combined Maritime Forces established a new task force on Tuesday to train partner navies and improve maritime security in the Middle East.

A ceremony was held at the US Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain that commissioned the Combined Task Force 154.

“Our navies are at their very best when we train, operate and work together,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US Fifth Fleet and CMF.

An increase in Iranian threats in the region has played a major role in this.

“Establishing CTF 154 demonstrates our deep commitment to strengthening and expanding partnerships through new training opportunities that will enhance regional maritime security,” he said.

The CTF task force will lead multinational maritime training at locations across the Middle East and is set to enable training without ships or aircraft.

Participants from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UK and US began arriving Sunday to attend courses on first aid and vessel boarding procedures.

“I am excited to lead an international team in this important work,” said Capt Oliver Herion, CTF 154's first commander.

“Collectively, CMF has tremendous experience and expertise with critical skills, tools and relationships,” he said.

CTF 154 will host training events around five core areas – maritime awareness, maritime law, maritime interdiction, maritime rescue and assistance and leadership development.

Each training opportunity will be tailored to meet partner requests ranging from basic to advanced levels.

“Focusing our efforts to facilitate training for the multinational partnership will refine our skill sets and reinforce our ability to operate together,” said Capt Herion.

“We are ‘Stronger Together’ and ‘Ready Together.’ That is what CMF is all about.”

The CMF is the largest multinational naval partnership in the world, with 38 nations committed to upholding the international rules-based order at sea.

In recent weeks, US military has said it will work to increase the defensive posture in the Gulf region following Iran's seizure and harassment of commercial shipping vessels.

In the past two years, Iran has harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged commercial vessels, according to US officials.

Updated: May 23, 2023, 9:11 AM