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CJTF-HOA Co-hosts Maritime Security Conference in Kenya

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070912-20
Release Date: 9/12/2007 2:45:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mary Popejoy

MOMBASA, Kenya (NNS) -- Nearly 150 military and civilian personnel representing the maritime safety and security sectors of regional governments came together Sept. 4-7 to attend the 2nd annual East Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (EASWIO) Maritime Security Conference and Port Security Seminar in Mombasa, Kenya.

The conference was hosted by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in Mombasa, the Kenyan Department of Defence, and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

Topics discussed included maritime security and coalition efforts, regional maritime safety and security situation, maritime economics and environment, and port security.

“This unique collection of regional leadership will provide an enhanced understanding of issues impacting both safety and security and will facilitate an increase in dialogue towards developing comprehensive regional solutions,” said Rear Adm. James Hart, commander, CJTF-HOA.

According to U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, maritime security is as important as it has ever been, and it cuts across borders and is transnational, which requires one and all to play as a partnership of nations.

“Maritime security is a complex problem that requires a holistic solution with participation and support from economic, political, and security sectors,” said Ranneberger. “The solution must include improving governance and strengthening national economies, which serves as the foundation for stabilizing and facilitating sustainable management of the regions national resources.”

Strengthening maritime security is an important goal that represents the convergence of multiple national interests such as maritime security, safety, peace and prosperity.

“We will do better as a team than we will ever do alone,” said Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, commander, NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces. “What we seek is a lawful maritime order where proper maritime activities can proceed at a pace that it becomes a predictable, reliable part of the world and indeed beyond this part of the world.”

The team concept allows inter-agency and inter-governmental agencies to come together and share their policies, programs and ideas.

“This is a great opportunity for people from different countries to bring different ideas to the table, discuss possible solutions and develop a plan to work toward a common goal when it comes to maritime security,” said Seychelles Capt. Wilton Ernesta, maritime administration.

Simon Mulongo, director of Eastern African Standby Brigade Command, whose main focus is land-related security programs, found the maritime briefings informative and educational.

“It has been an eye-opener in the area of the maritime strategy for the water,” said Mulongo. “I’ve learned a lot from the presenters who have given us a lot of invaluable information on maritime programs, policy and activities.”

Maj. Gen Benon Biraaro, chief of Strategic Planning and Management Unit, Peace Support Operations Division of the African Union (AU) specifically mentioned challenges of maritime security and safety and the AU’s vision for the future.

“The challenges we face with maritime security are the need for port security, the need to fight, and if possible, eradicate piracy, enforce compliance with international convention on maritime safety and security, and establish a Coast Guard network,” said Biraaro. “It is important to have cooperation and coordination with Africa, its allies and our partners in solving the wider threats of maritime security because to achieve our end goal, we must work together and find the best solution.”

According to Cosgriff, in a changing world with both old and new challenges, working with our friends on issues of security and stability to this vital region helps everyone understand better what lies ahead.

“It is important to collaborate in a venue like this because sharing ideas and launching initiatives are logical next steps in improving our understanding of, and advancing solutions to, maritime-related challenges,” said Cosgriff. “It also demonstrates a willingness to work together to counter those who wish to exploit for political, ideological or criminal reasons the region’s maritime domain. The collaboration lays a strong foundation, and it will need to be strong as this is a commitment of years, not days.”

With maritime security at the forefront of everyone’s mind, Cosgriff was pleased to see so many people from so many different places eager to learn more about maritime security and how they can help improve the collaboration between many agencies and countries.

“I commend each of you in advance for investing the time, energy and thoughts to helping move forward together as partners committed to improving awareness of the risks and opportunities in the maritime domain,” said Cosgriff.

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