Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- Coalition representatives from Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK, Albania and the United States joined together at a ceremony at U.S. 5th Fleet's base in Bahrain to celebrate the opening of a new command center for the joint Strait of Hormuz maritime security initiative, Coalition Task Force Sentinel.
“Today, we reach two significant milestones in the standing up of the CTF Sentinel headquarters under the International Maritime Security Construct and the introduction of the CTF’s first appointed commander, Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey,” said Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.
The Trump administration has recruited international partners for the new task force in response to the attacks on tanker shipping in the Gulf of Oman earlier this year. The partnership's mandate is to "deter malign activity, promote maritime security and stability, and ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce" in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb and the Gulf of Oman.
In a statement, Vice Adm. Malloy cited mine attacks on international shipping, attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the downing of a U.S. drone and seized international shipping - all events that the U.S. has attributed to Iran - as recent examples of the threats that the coalition will counter.
To carry out the coalition's mission, large naval vessels like frigates and destroyers (designated "Sentinels") watch over critical choke points, while smaller patrol craft and corvettes ("Sentries") patrol the transit lanes in between. In addition, airborne surveillance assets monitor the flow of traffic through the highest risk areas. The newly-opened command center will be a hub to collect information from participating navies and from partners in industry, which in turn will inform the coalition's naval operations.