For the last 20 years, the U.S. and Djibouti have developed a partnership that is vital to the security, stability and prosperity in the region. Year after year, the two countries work together in military exercises, key leader engagements, educational events, and sports competitions strengthening relations every step of the way.
Positioned in the Gulf of Aden, a strategic international trade route, Camp Lemonnier and CJTF-HOA value partnerships that enable and sustain maritime security. Cutlass Express is an annual multi-national exercise designed to increase capabilities and improve regional cooperation between the United States, Djibouti and other partner nations to counter illicit maritime activity. The 2023 iteration focused on multiple shore-based and at-sea training events along the eastern coast of Africa to counter sea-based illicit activity by detecting and disrupting illicit trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing, as well as search and rescue situations.
Another sea-based exchange, Exercise Bull Shark, is a naval crisis response and personnel recover training event that incorporates academic instruction and a full-scale tactical exercise that puts those lessons into action. Operational concepts covered in Bull Shark include visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, medical tactical combat casualty care, squad movement, laws of the sea, and survival, evasion, resistance, and escape.
We share a common interest with Djibouti and other African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets. In order to ensure we meet these shared interests, CJTF-HOA and other Camp Lemonnier tenant commands train with our Djiboutian and regional partners to operate seamlessly.
CJTF-HOA’s interoperability efforts don’t end with exercises or maritime operations. The Task Force coordinates with Djiboutian forces to share best practices in all domains. One such example was a collaboration with the Djiboutian Air Force to establish a sheet metal shop for aircraft repair. Providing equipment and hands-on training on how to do basic sheet metal repairs with common techniques and procedures, CJTF-HOA helped FAD put into practice the skills needed to conduct flush patches and shooting of rivets, which are basic repairs to aircraft surfaces. FAD members were also given the opportunity to visit the CJTF-HOA maintenance facility and visit with U.S. service members and observe some the equipment and aircraft on the flight line. [QJTMUCAU(1]
CJTF-HOA and Djibouti also partnered to expand electronic infrastructure capabilities through a five-day Cyber Defense Engagement course encompassing network creation using Windows servers, email system creation, file exchange and web server maintenance. These skills were tested through a capstone project that focused on file exchange and web page creation. These systems and practices are the standard across the globe, making it easy for Djibouti and other partners to collaborate on cyber security in the future.
In addition to military operations, CJTF-HOA and Camp Lemonnier service members routinely go out into the local community to engage with the local population in their off time through volunteer events and organized engagements with entities like Civil Affairs. Whether establishing a library, reading to children or participating in regular English discussion groups, the U.S. is committed to finding ways to help the people and future of Djibouti.[QJTMUCAU(2]
For more than 20 years, CJTF-HOA and Djibouti have worked in concert to promote stability in the Horn of Africa, through a variety of training exercises, knowledge exchanges and local volunteering initiatives. We would not be able to help maintain security in the area without the cooperation of our Djiboutian partners whom we actively listen to and work with to pursue our shared goals of stability, security and prosperity in the region. We look forward to many more years of cooperation and collaboration.
CJTF-HOA conducts operations in the Horn of Africa, out of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti to enhance partner nation capacity, promote regional stability, dissuade conflict, and protect U.S. and partner interests. Camp Lemonnier is an operational installation that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where and when they are needed to ensure security in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.