U.S, Egypt, Jordan Conduct VBSS Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Neal Blair, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | March 30, 2017

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Patrol Force Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) Maritime Engagement Team (MET) and naval forces from the Arab Republic of Egypt and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan conducted a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain, March 12-23.


The exercise strengthened partnerships by sharing and enhancing skillsets essential to maritime security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. These partnerships serve as the foundation of a strong and enduring presence in the region while ensuring the free flow of commerce.


"PATFORSWA annually participates in over 70 maritime exercises and engagements. VBSS engagements like this two-week maritime boarding operations exercise between the U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Jordanian and Egyptian Navies are crucial to strengthening our partnerships and building mutual maritime capabilities,” said Cmdr. Alain Balmaceda, deputy commander of PATFORSWA. “Through these types of engagements, we are better able to work with each other to ensure maritime security and the free flow of commerce in the region,"


Per the USCG MET syllabus, the engagement “is designed to share a variety of practical scenarios concentrating on boarding procedures, defensive tactics, boarding team communications, maritime tactical egress tactics and procedures, judgmental use of force, decision-making and tactical combat casualty care.”


"We sincerely enjoyed sharing knowledge and experiences with our Jordanian and Egyptian counterparts during this two-week engagement," said U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd Class Michael Deane. "As part of the MET, I am fortunate to be an integral part of our mission in strengthening regional partnerships and increasing tactical proficiency in VBSS operations."


Originally established as the Middle East Training Team in 2005, the MET has grown and evolved to respond to an ever-changing VBSS mission landscape. By way of a highly-capable training team and a state-of-the-art facility, the MET provides U.S. Central Command partner nation forces with the tools they need to support coalition partners. 


PATFORSWA’s mission is to command, train, equip and provide mission-ready Coast Guard forces to conduct maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. 5th Fleet's area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The area is comprised of 27 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.