U.S. Navy Partnerships: An International Maritime Force

“The Combined Maritime Forces mission is important from both a national and international perspective. Continuing to develop our collaborative and interoperable maritime security role in the region is crucial.”  - Royal Navy Commodore Simon Ancona, Combined Maritime Forces Deputy Commander

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) was established in February 2002 and is a naval partnership consisting of 26 nations. CMF’s mission is to promote security, stability and prosperity across 2.5 million square miles of international waters in the Middle East, which encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. It is comprised of three combined task forces (CTF) — 150, 151 and 152 — conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

CMF is commanded by U.S. Navy Vice Adm. John Miller, who also serves as Commander, U.S Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet. The deputy commander is Commodore Simon Ancona, Royal Navy, who also serves as the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander (UKMCC). CMF is co-located with U.S Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain.

Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 (Maritime Security)

  • CTF 150’s mission is to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements.
  • Pakistan is currently in command of CTF 150. It has previously been commanded by the U.S., the U.K., Australia, France, Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Spain.

Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 (Counter-piracy)

  • CTF 151 was established in January 2009 to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy; protect maritime vessels of any nationality; and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all.
  • The task force encourages use of the internationally recognized counter-piracy ‘Best Management Practices,’ version 4 (BMP4), issued by the shipping industry, which provides shipmasters and their crews the best possible methods of avoiding pirate attacks.
  • All activities and operations of CTF 151 are performed in conjunction with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR). CTF 151 also works closely with regional partners to ensure commercial shippers can operate freely while transiting through the region’s international waters.

Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 (Gulf Maritime Security)

  • CTF 152 operates in the Arabian Gulf. It conducts MSO in conjunction with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners in order to prevent destabilizing activities. 
  • Kuwait is currently in command of CTF 152. It has previously been commanded by Bahrain, UAE, U.S., U.K., Australia and Italy.

Facts & Figures

  • The pirates’ operating area extends east from the Somali coast towards the west coast of India, or approximately 2.45 million square nautical miles.
  • In 2009, 45 vessels were reported as pirated. That number decreased to 22 vessels in 2011.
  • Some CMF nations complete four to six months of duty commanding one of the three CTFs. Others provide a senior naval representative to represent their country at CMF.