Guest Contributor | May 11, 2021 | 0
Local navy’s ability tested through U.S. Africa Command sponsored exercise
The Namibian Navy joined 31 nations during the 8th Obangame Express multinational maritime exercise from 21 to 29 March.
The U.S. Africa Command sponsored the exercise bringing together African, European, South American, and U.S. Forces to enhance cooperation and expertise in maritime security operations.
The purpose of the exercise was to test multinational maritime forces in a broad range of naval operations in order to increase capability and capacity, as a collective whole, for Gulf of Guinea nations to deter piracy, illicit trafficking, and other maritime threats.
During Obangame Express, senior naval leaders participated in a three-day senior leaders’ symposium which was co-hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa and the Armed Forces of Gabon from 26 to 28 March in Libreville, Gabon.
The symposium was designed to provide a forum for senior leaders to discuss common maritime challenges and opportunities to enhance international maritime security. Although presentations and panel discussions took up the bulk of the symposium, a key part of the symposium included a war-gaming tabletop practical exercise that served as a capstone project.
The Namibian Chief of Naval Operations, Rear Admiral Alweendo. Amungulu, found the symposium and war-gaming scenario to be very beneficial.
“This has been the first time I’ve participated in this symposium and it was quite eye opening, especially the organization of the community of West African and Central African States.” Amungulu added that the presentation “Building Capacity within the Maritime Domain Awareness Construct” was very helpful.
“We’re in the process of establishing our own maritime domain awareness centre so when I go back I’ll be better able to bring the stakeholders together and able to speak the same language,” said Amungulu.
Lt. Col. John Lacy, U.S. Defense Attaché to Namibia, stated, “U.S. Naval Forces Africa appreciates the Namibian Navy’s participation in the Obangame Express exercise for the second consecutive year, and hopes for continued, and even increased, participation in future years.”
There were five Namibian Navy participants, including one ship rider aboard the Brazilian Navy ocean patrol vessel (OPV) AMAZONAS. The others were stationed in the Maritime Operations Centers (MOC).
Obangame Express falls under the international collaborative maritime capacity-building program Africa Partnership Station (APS) as part of a phased approach to building capacity with our African partner nations. The United States Embassy stated the U.S. Government continues to support the Namibian Government of Namibia to protect its vast coastline.
Caption: Namibian Rear Admiral Alweendo Amungulu (third from right) joined senior naval leaders as they work through a war game scenario during a senior leadership symposium in exercise Obangame Express 2018 on 28 March in Libreville, Gabon. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg).