The Navy’s 5th Fleet in Central Command established a new task force, known as Task Force 59, on Sept. 9 that integrates AI technology and unmanned systems with maritime forces.

The 5th Fleet’s geographical region makes it an “ideal environment for innovation,” according to the Navy’s press release. The 5th Fleet’s area spans nearly 2.5 million square miles of water and 21 countries.

“The bottom line on why we’re doing this is so that we can develop and integrate unmanned systems and AI as a means to do two things,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said in the release. “One, enhance our maritime domain awareness, and two, increase deterrence.”

Task Force 59 will rely on regional and coalition partnerships to succeed, according to Cooper. He also appointed Capt. Michael D. Brasseur as Task Force 59’s first commodore.

Brasseur is a maritime robotics expert and served as a founding member of the NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative.

“It’s an honor to be named commander of this historic and innovative task force,” Brasseur said. “As we continue to adapt and implement cutting edge technology, I fully expect our talented team will enrich and enhance the 5th Fleet mission.”

Brasseur will oversee the task force’s staff of experienced operators, “including directors for unmanned systems; unmanned exercises; task force integration; cyber, AI and space; and partnership opportunities.”

The task force is scheduled to be put to the test next year at the International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 22. IMX 22 will bring together more than 60 nations and international organizations to collaborate and share expertise on maritime operations.

Task Force 59 hopes to “demonstrate the resiliency and scalability of human-machine teaming technologies” and share how technology can enhance maritime operations.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.