News: Dutch Commodore leads Combined Task Force 150
By Photographer's Mate 1st Class Curt Cooper
ABOARD FS VAR, Djibouti " Royal Netherlands Navy Commodore Hank Ort relieved French Vice Adm. Jacques Mazars as the commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 during a handover ceremony aboard the French ship FS Var, Dec.12 while in port in Djibouti.
CTF 150, established near the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, is currently comprised of naval forces from Germany, France, Pakistan, and United States. The coalition members conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in and around the Arabian Gulf, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, parts of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
Ort, the first Dutch commodore to lead CTF 150, said he is honored to take the helm and looks forward to working with such a large international coalition and stressed the importance of teamwork among the partners.
"I started out as a submariner and although that is a very small team the art of teamwork remains the same, even if you translate it into the larger context of an international coalition," he said. "One of the big advantages of a large coalition is that all the different contributors bring their own strengths to the game, and I aim to make full use of those to make the mission a success."
Royal Navy Commodore Simon Williams, deputy commander of Combined Forces Maritime Component Command explained the importance of CTF 150.
"The mission focus has seen a subtle shift from choke point protection for high value shipping to MSO and things such as maritime crimeâ?¦as part of the mission set," he said.
MSO sets the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.
Mazars found the balance of activity in such a large theater of operations to be the greatest challenge he faced while in command of CTF 150.
"The theater is a large one. It begins at the Suez Canal, goes up to the Straits of Hormuz and extends down to Mogadishu. It is a lot of square kilometers and we have to deal with all that is going to happen," said Mazars.