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The Americans set up an anti-piracy force: the CTF151

(B2)Competition is raging in the Indian Ocean to… fight against pirates! After the operation launched by the Europeans, the major Russian maneuvers in the region, it is the turn of the American Navy to launch “its” operation to fight against pirates.

The American HQ Bahrain has, in fact, just announced on Thursday that it has set up a specific maritime force – Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) to carry out counter-piracy operations, under the direction of the “Rear-Admiral” Terence “Terry” McKnigh. The force is expected to be fully operational by mid-January. It will include ships, aircraft and other assets from around twenty Nations participating in the combined maritime forces. This force takes over the tasks carried out, in part, by the CTF-150 – generally responsible for fighting terrorism, as part of the operation “Enduring Freedom“, but which covered a much wider area (Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman). It is the prelude to various rearrangements of US forces in external operations. To the point that one can wonder if piracy is the main objective or if the presence and control of this strategic sea is not also essential.

No reference is made, on the American side, to the European operation EuNavfor Atalanta. But if the Americans defend themselves from any competition or from copying the European operation, it is clear that it is this which serves as a model. “Some of the ships in our coalition do not have the authority to conduct counterpiracy missions,” said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). “ The creation of CTF-151 will allow these countries to operate under the umbrella of CTF-150, while allowing other nations to join in our goal of deterring, disrupting, and eventually bringing to justice criminals involved in maritime piracy events ". The States concerned could be Japan in the first place, according to initial indications, India as well.

Curious reversal of situation, just a few years ago, the emerging defense Europe drew its organizational model from NATO normally (and therefore from the Americans) and followed or took over operations initiated and carried out by NATO and the Americans. Today, it's the opposite.


(Photo: US Navy, McKnigh at the press briefing, Marine Expeditionary Force, New York, Vanderbilt Hall)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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