MANAMA, Bahrain –
In a brief Q&A, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, shares his thoughts on International Maritime Exercise/Cutlass Express 2022, the largest multinational naval exercise in the Middle East that commenced Jan. 31.
Q: What is new for International Maritime Exercise 2022 compared to the previous iterations?
A: Well, most notably on IMX-22 there are two big features that make it different from previous iterations. Number one, this will be our biggest exercise that we conduct with over 60 nations participating. The second feature is with 10 nations providing nearly 80 unmanned platforms this will be the largest unmanned maritime exercise in the world.
Q: Why is it important to have a high level of international representation?
A: We are always going to be at our best when we are working with, by and through our international partners.
Q: Why partner with U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa to combine IMX with Cutlass Express?
A: Partnering across fleets is just as important as partnering with our international allies to make this exercise successful and ultimately increase our capabilities.
Q: What do you hope partner nations take away from the exercise?
A: Here at NAVCENT we emphasize four “ships”: partnerships, relationships, friendships and leadership, and we want everyone to walk away with a stronger sense of that. We also want everyone to walk away with an increased interoperability.
Q: What are you personally looking forward to the most?
A: Since this is the largest unmanned exercise in the world, I am most excited about the opportunity to flex 14 different training scenarios and ultimately, as we look towards the future, transition those training scenarios into real-world operational capability.