Making CMF “Fleet Legal”

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Neal Blair | March 15, 2018

MANAMA, Bahrain --

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command hosted a legal working group as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Maritime Security Conference, March 14.


Legal officers and advisors from more than 12 countries participated in the working group, which hosted speakers from Combined Task Force 150, European Union Naval Force, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Criminal Investigative Service.


Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Vice Adm. Chris Aquilino spoke to the importance of these types of interactions.


"This group can get together and operate seamlessly for all the right reasons. So I continue to hold this force up as an example and beacon of what right looks like in the world," said Aquilino.

"The working groups are designed for you to have input and to make sure that we all have the same sight picture from everybody's lens.”


The working group provided an opportunity for participants to focus on a variety of legal challenges unique to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, and Capt. Shane Cooper, force judge advocate, recognized the importance of facing those challenges as a multinational unit.


“When we work together with our coalition partners we strengthen our foundation,” said Cooper. “With that strong foundation we can rely on one another to help overcome any legal obstacles and grow as a team.”


CMF is a unique multi-national collective of 32 like-minded nations, dedicated to promoting security and free flow of commerce across 3.2 million square miles of international waters in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf. CMF’s main focus areas are disrupting terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment for all.


U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.