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Coalition forces complete Goalkeeper III Exercise.

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ 5th Fleet Public Affairs

Coalition forces, led by Royal Bahrain Navy Brig. Gen. Abdulla Saeed Al Mansoori, commander, Task Force (CTF) 152, conducted Exercise Goalkeeper III (GKIII) in the Arabian Gulf, May 12-14.

The three-day exercise focused on maritime security operations (MSO) and provided coalition forces an opportunity to work together and exercise their ability to locate and track various contacts, conduct visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations as well as command and control functions. GKIII included partners from Bahrain, New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S. and other regional countries.

Al Mansoori said GKIII gave coalition navies an opportunity to improve interoperability and training proficiency.

"We are working together, continuing operations that counter illicit activities in the maritime arena to create a lawful maritime order," explained Al Mansoori, who oversees all maritime operations in the central and southern Arabian Gulf region.

"Coalition maritime forces conduct maritime security operations under international maritime conventions to build security, which promotes stability and global prosperity in the maritime environment and complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations," he continued.

Units participating in GKIII included Bahraini Navy frigate RBNS Al Manama (FPBGH 50), Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana (F 111), amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4), guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), members of Commander, Destroyer Squadron 9 and various U.S. maritime patrol aircraft.

According to Capt. Jim Loeblein, commander of Task Group 152.0 and Destroyer Squadron 9, the exercise's key event was coalition team members handling command and control of a specific vessel of interest that could pose a threat to one of the coalition nations in the Gulf region.

The exercise allowed coalition boarding teams to board the vessel of interest, locate and take control of a person of interest and practice the procedures for turning him over to Coast Guard ships.

Loeblein said that building security is not the only advantage of these exercises.

"While helping to build regional security, exercises like GKIII also allow us to maintain our open sea lanes. This is a very important area of the world for merchant traffic and regional Navy traffic, and exercises like this allow us [to] build confidence in our regional partners and provide a combined opportunity to provide security."

Loeblein said the exercise was a tremendous success noting GKIII was the most complicated exercise CTF 152 has conducted to date.

"I'd like to see more coalition member states participating. I think the more you get involved with bilateral and multinational exercises, the more it improves the ability of the coalition and regional partners to work together towards a common security objective," Loeblein said.

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Al Mansoori assumed command of CTF 152 March 4, marking the first time coalition forces have been commanded by a Gulf nation. He said coalition initiatives like this have added to improved cooperation efforts within the region.

"I believe Bahrain's leadership of CTF 152 has been very successful and has improved cooperation in maritime security within the region," Al Mansoori said. "The 20-plus members of the coalition all work together seamlessly. We are proud of the work we have accomplished while leading CTF 152."

Editor's Note: British Royal Navy Commodore Peter Hudson became the new CTF 152 commander June 5.
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Title Annotation:Focus on Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group: NASSG participates in coalition maritime security operations exercises designed to strengthen regional partnerships and promote global prosperity
Publication:CHIPS
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Words:560
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