Norway has deployed one staff officer to the Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain.
Since 2013, Norway has contributed with one staff officer in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in Bahrain. In addition to being the Norwegian Senior National Representative (SNR) at the US Naval Base National Support Activity Bahrain, the Norwegian representative has a central position in the organisation's headquarters as head of "Engagement and Regional Cooperation".
The Norwegian officer is responsible for short-term and long-term engagement activities for the management. Consultation on strategic communication and preparation of talking points are included in the work tasks. The staff consists of personnel with international backgrounds who collaborate across the nations to achieve CMF's goals.
Combined Maritime Forces is a United States-led coalition consisting of 33 voluntary countries from all continents of the world. The organisation was established in 2001 with the aim of combating the threat from international terrorism in the maritime domain. Today, about 90 per cent of all international trade transport takes place by sea. It is therefore of great importance for the stability of the world economy that civilian shipping can pass unhindered through international waters.
CMF's main tasks today are to work against terrorism (through, among others, preventing various types of smuggling), preventing piracy, promoting regional cooperation and working for a safe maritime environment. The organisation also has the opportunity to contribute in the event of environmental crises and humanitarian crises.
The area of operation covers the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin, the North Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and large parts of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
The task forces
The organisation is led by a headquarters (Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters), and comprise three task forces: the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, CTF 151, and CTF 152.
CTF 150 fights terrorism at sea. In practice, this is about working towards preventing terrorist organisations from obtaining income from the smuggling of drugs and weapons.
CTF 151 aims to combat piracy. This force works closely with the EU Naval Forces and their operation Atalanta, which has the same mandate and mission. CTF 151 primarily patrols the internationally established transit corridor through the Gulf of Aden, Bab Al Mandeb and into the Red Sea, as well as along the east coast of Somalia to ensure freedom of navigation and to protect global maritime trade.
CTF 152 is responsible for maritime security operations in the Persian Gulf. This force was established in 2004. Today, it primarily consists of vessels from the Gulf countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. American and British vessels support this force. The maritime activity of CTF 152 is primarily about capacity building. By sailing, practicing and training together, the goal is to strengthen cooperation between the Gulf countries in the maritime domain.