Sailors from three nations assembled at the Djibouti National Navy Headquarters in Djibouti, February 27 through 29, 2012, to discuss best practices for ensuring the sovereignty of the seas around the Horn of Africa.
This was the first time the Djiboutian Navy coordinated and executed an event of this type together with the American and French navies.
In this exchange, the three navies shared best practices on building support operations and raising maritime domain awareness.
In addition, Djiboutian Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Ali Elmi Bouh, Djibouti National Navy Headquarters operations officer, said all participants discussed the ability to intervene in and take responsibility for the area of operation.
« The Djiboutian Navy is a young navy, only three years old, » Bouh said. « We want to grow and be fully operational. »
The Djiboutian Navy has numerous pre-planned responses for emergency maritime situations already documented and in place. These responses include search and rescue, illegal activity and shore incursion, U.S. and Djiboutian naval officers said.
To expand on their maritime knowledge, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Troy Hanson, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa military engagements planner, said the Djiboutians plan on using a hybrid of the U.S. and French systems to « better their understanding of what is out in their territorial waters. »
« We’re working here with the Djiboutians to help their understanding of what maritime awareness is, » Hanson said. « These are very important waters to them, and they are looking to understand the best naval practices of U.S. and France. »
« These meetings have been very helpful and very instructive to us, » said Bouh. « The Djiboutian Navy would like to have a strong ethos of maritime domain awareness fostered in this facility, and these meetings help us achieve that concept, » he said.
To keep that ethos strong, Bouh and the sailors said they would like to continue these exchanges.
« This has been an awesome experience to see the Djiboutians work with both the French as well as the U.S., working the same water space together–sharing some of our procedures–it’s been very valuable, » said Hanson.
French Navy Captain Eric Mignot, liaison officer to the Djiboutian Navy, said it’s important to work together as the Djiboutians share the same objective as their U.S. and French partners—to ensure the sea is a safe place for trade and freedom.
By U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Andrew Caya
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs