Combined Maritime Forces Hosts 2024 Maritime Security Conference

By From Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs | April 19, 2024

MANAMA, Bahrain --

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) hosted senior military leaders during a two-day maritime security conference held onboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain, April 16-17.

CMF member and partner nation delegates and naval leaders were among the guests attending the annual maritime security conference, hosted by the world’s largest naval partnership.

Calling CMF a “tremendously rewarding and diverse coalition,” Vice Adm. George Wikoff, CMF commander, told participants during his opening remarks their combined strengths should be channeled with purpose.

“We can all agree on the importance of maritime security throughout this region,” he said. “As Commander of the CMF, I see myself as the CEO and you are the board of directors. And as that board of directors, you tell me what we want to achieve, and it is up to me and the CMF organization to deliver.”

To that end, the conference attendees reviewed initiatives and accomplishments over the last 12 months, looked at the year ahead, and coordinated plans for enhancing regional maritime security and partnerships in the future.

Additionally, representatives from European Union Naval Forces provided updates on operations ATALANTA and ASPIDES. ATALANTA is an ongoing counter-piracy military operation off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean, established in December 2008. ASPIDES is a European Union defensive maritime security operation established in February 2024 in response to Houthi action in the Southern Red Sea.

“It’s fantastic to see so many representatives from CMF partners across the world here in Bahrain,” said U.K. Royal Navy Commodore Mark Anderson, CBE, Deputy Commander of

CMF. “The maritime security conference represents the most senior governance level for CMF and is an opportunity for our member and partner nations’ senior officers to witness the work of the teams here, including their own.”

CMF includes five combined task forces that focus on counter-narcotics, counter-smuggling, suppressing piracy, maritime security enhancement training, encouraging regional cooperation and working with other partners to strengthen maritime capabilities.

The multinational partnership is headquartered in Bahrain and consists of 43 member and partner nations whose forces operate in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean. CMF’s nations are united in upholding international rules-based order to protect the free flow of commerce, ensure regional maritime security and deter illicit activity by non-state actors.