On March 22-23, the annual conference of fleet commanders and operational commanders of naval forces of the North Atlantic Alliance and partner countries was held at the NATO Allied Maritime Forces Command in Northwood. The meeting of key personnel responsible for conducting naval operations was attended by Commander of the Maritime Operations Center – Commander of the Maritime Component Vice Admiral Krzysztof Jaworski.
The conference was an opportunity to discuss in detail the state of NATO naval forces and also plans to strengthen cooperation and coherence of operations.
The main topic of discussion was deterrence and defense in the context of Ukraine’s experience and their application to future naval operations. Conference participants discussed the experiences of individual navies and their adaptation to the ever-changing maritime security environment, as well as the importance of strengthening international naval forces to enhance the effectiveness of the NATO Maritime Forces Command (MARCOM) crisis response system.
The meeting was opened by MARCOM Commander, Royal Navy Vice Admiral Mike Utley, who said that the unity of NATO’s naval forces provides the necessary personnel, ships and aircraft required for the defense of the Alliance. The conference also emphasized the determination to adapt to conducting multi-domain operations in a changing theater of operations and ensuring that adopted tactics, techniques and procedures remain consistent. Discussions also included the use of landing forces in support of naval operations, the automation of the command process, and the conduct of ongoing operations conducted by NATO naval forces such as Operation Sea Guardian or the activities conducted by the Alliance’s standing ship teams that make up the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), part of the NATO Response Force (NRF).
MARCOM is the supreme command of all NATO naval forces, and its commander is the Alliance’s chief maritime advisor. Like its land and air counterparts (LANDCOM and AIRCOM), it works closely with the Joint Forces Command (JFC) and reports to the Supreme Command of Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE).