Exercise Phoenix Express
Host Location: North Africa Littorals (Mediterranean)
Summary: Exercise Phoenix Express, led by US Naval Forces Africa (NAVFORAF), is an at-sea maritime exercise focused on the Mediterranean Sea, designed to improve cooperation among participating nations. An annual exercise which began in 2005, Phoenix Express was part of the larger Express Series exercises, designed to test skills obtained from participating in bilateral and Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiatives. The exercise involved European and North Africa nations, with participants not necessarily remaining the same from year to year. Participants have included, but are necessarily limited to Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States. African nations from outside the immediate exercise region, such as Senegal, have also participated in Phoenix Express engagements.
Annual Phoenix Express engagements could occur in various locations in the Mediterranean Sea, sometimes concurrently. Exercises were coordinated with shore-based operations centers as well and could also include ashore events such as conferences. Phoenix Express had a primary focus on improving capabilities to detect, deter, and otherwise disrupt illicit trafficking in the region. This included trafficking in illicit narcotics and human trafficking. In the 2011 iteration of the exercise, engagements were conduct in support of the aims of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), designed to stop WMD proliferation by promoting proactive information sharing and enabling development of capabilities and authorities to enable coordinated action. PSI-endorsing country of Morocco conducted a boarding to interdict a shipment of simulated dual use components on a target ship.
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