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Tuesday, May 4, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. Africa Command conducting exercise with Morocco and Senegal

CAIRO — The U.S. military has been preparing for a major security exercise in North Africa.


U.S. Africa Command has completed arrangements for a maritime counter-insurgency exercise in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2010. The exercise, titled Phoenix Express-2010, would team U.S. personnel with Morocco and Senegal.

"Multilateral exercises like Phoenix Express are an important part of the U.S. Naval Forces Africa Maritime Supporting Plans and the International Military Partnering Lines of Operations," U.S. Navy Capt. Martin Beck, commander of Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa, said.

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Officials said Phoenix Express would focus on interdiction and counter-insurgency missions. Since April 19, they said, Morocco and Senegal have been training for the exercise with the U.S. Navy's Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team in Rota, Spain.

"The FAST Marines are working with our Spanish host to help train and prepare our North African partners for maritime security operations, which is key in our combined readiness to address the security challenges we face at sea," Beck said.

The United States has sought to enhance maritime security capabilities of its North African allies. Officials said Africom has been facilitating exercises and training to Morocco and other regional states, including the use of air operations to battle illegal immigration as well as narcotics and weapons trafficking.

During the current training course, scheduled to end on May 7, the U.S. Navy helped teams from Morocco and Senegal in live-fire, helicopter rope suspension techniques, close quarters battle, and marine martial arts. They said the U.S. Navy envisions participation by Morocco and other allies in joint maritime security patrols in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean.

"We want to ensure we are providing exceptional support to our warfighters," U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Mosk, commander at the base in Rota, Spain, said.

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