Strengthened Egypt, U.S. Ties Help Combat Dangers at Sea

November 29, 2021

By Ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen and Vice Adm. Brad Cooper

Egypt Defense Expo 2021 highlights the promise and potential of the U.S.-Egypt partnership and Egypt’s growing leadership in regional security. For more than 40 years, U.S.-Egypt defense cooperation has been a fundamental component of our strategic partnership and future military-to-military inter-operability will only make us stronger.

2021 was an historic year for the relationship between our two great navies and our collaboration in the area of maritime security. Egypt joined the U.S. Navy in eight naval exercises. In July, we attended President Sisi’s inauguration of the new Egyptian Navy base on the Mediterranean Sea; and in August, with Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed, Commander of the Egyptian Naval Force, we celebrated the first visit of a U.S. Navy warship to the Berenice Naval Base on the Red Sea.

At the November 8-9 U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C., we reaffirmed our steadfast commitment to bilateral defense cooperation to meet current and future challenges, including in counterterrorism and border and maritime security. Egypt reaffirmed its commitment to active participation in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the largest multinational naval coalition in the world. This reinforced the successful completion of the 32nd U.S.-Egypt Military Cooperation Committee and Egypt’s hosting of Bright Star 2021, which advanced defense and maritime security cooperation and improved how our naval forces work together to interdict shipments carrying illegal cargo.

We will continue to strengthen bilateral ties between our navies to promote regional security, stability, and prosperity. Ninety percent of the world’s trade travels by water, and Egypt is critical to many trade routes. Egypt’s contributions to safeguarding against smugglers, traffickers, and pirates is crucial to global commerce.

Other opportunities on the horizon will enable our navies to deepen already strong ties. The U.S. Navy recently formed a new task force for integrating unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into our operations at sea. This will enhance our ability to monitor regional maritime activity in cooperation with our international partners. Egypt will take a leading role in the upcoming International Maritime Exercise (IMX) in January 2022. IMX 22 will be the largest naval exercise in the world, with more the 60 nations and international organizations participating in waters surrounding the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian Ocean. Egypt will lead a multinational task force in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden during the exercise.

The United States and Egypt are maritime nations. Our security is forever tied to the sea and for that same reason it is also tied to each other, and we must remain committed to advancing our maritime security cooperation together, as partners and as leaders.