Home Middle East US Navy sets up another task force in the Middle East

US Navy sets up another task force in the Middle East

Combined Task Force (CTF) 154
US Navy graphic showing the areas of responsibility of its task groups in the Middle East

The US-led multinational partnership, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), has established a new task force aimed at boosting operational capabilities to enhance maritime security in the Middle East.

During a ceremony at US 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain on May 22, leaders commissioned Combined Task Force (CTF) 154.

The new staff is CMF’s fifth task force after standing up CTF 153 in April 2022 for maritime security in the Red Sea.

CMF’s other task forces include CTF 150 that focuses on maritime security in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean; CTF 151, which leads regional counter-piracy efforts; CTF 152, dedicated to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf; and CTF 153 in the Red Sea.

CTF 154 will lead multinational maritime training at locations across the Middle East, enabling more CMF partner-nations to participate in training opportunities without ships or aircraft, particularly during courses that are facilitated ashore.

“Our navies are at their very best when we train, operate and work together,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and CMF. “Establishing CTF 154 demonstrates our deep commitment to strengthening and expanding partnerships through new training opportunities that will enhance regional maritime security.”

The new task force is commanded by a US Navy captain who will build and lead a multinational staff. Another nation will assume command as early as this fall.

CTF 154’s core staff will be augmented by CMF partners during key training opportunities such as the task force’s inaugural event, Compass Rose. This week, CTF 154 is hosting Compass Rose in the Kingdom of Bahrain. More than 50 participants from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and United States began arriving Sunday to attend courses on first aid and vessel boarding procedures.

“I am excited to lead an international team in this important work,” said Capt. Oliver Herion, CTF 154’s first commander. “Collectively, CMF has tremendous experience and expertise with critical skills, tools and relationships.”

CTF 154 will frequently organize training events around five core areas: maritime awareness, maritime law, maritime interdiction, maritime rescue and assistance, and leadership development. Each training opportunity will be tailored to meet partner requests ranging from basic to advanced levels.

“Focusing our efforts to facilitate training for the multinational partnership will refine our skillsets and reinforce our ability to operate together,” said Herion. “We are ‘Stronger Together’ and ‘Ready Together.’ That is what CMF is all about.”

The US Navy describes CMF as the largest multinational naval partnership in the world, with 38 nations committed to upholding the international rules-based order at sea.