NATO Naval Chiefs focus on warfighting readiness


NATO Naval Chiefs focus on warfighting readiness

By NATO Allied Maritime Command

NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) hosted Allied nations’ fleet commanders, operational directors, and other senior leaders for the Maritime Operational Commanders’ Conference (MOCC) 2024 at its headquarters in Northwood, England, April 16-18.  

 ‘Faced with war on the European continent, the role of naval forces in NATO is pivotal’ said Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Chris Cavoli, opening the conference. ‘Your dedication to securing sea lines of communication is what connects the entire Alliance together. Your ability to safeguard freedom of navigation is what supports the foundation of our nations’ economies.’

For more than seven decades, NATO maritime forces have evolved and adapted to the ever-changing security environment of the Euro-Atlantic area to ensure maritime awareness and preparedness to defend against any aggressor. 

The theme of the conference this year, on the 75th anniversary of NATO, was ‘Enhancing maritime warfighting readiness and capability in a multi-threat and multi-domain environment”. Along with the Allied navies’ fleet commanders, commanders and key personnel from the Joint Force Commands participated, and engaged in conversations centred around four themes: moving to a command and control and force posture that is always scanning, thinking operationally and long term; the evolution of MARCOM as a warfighting headquarters; preparing for short notice contingency; and ensuring an enduring Allied warfighting advantage over any potential adversary.

Commander MARCOM, Royal Navy Vice Admiral Mike Utley, chaired the conference. “There has never been a more critical point in history to enhance the collective defense of the alliance. As the Heads of Allied Navies gathered over the last two days, we engaged in vital and fruitful discussions that deepened our relationships and strengthened NATO’s cohesion. Each Ally brings critical warfighting capabilities and unique expertise to NATO. We are better off as a collective because of the Allies’ commitment to turn these into operational advantage over any potential adversary,” said Utley.

MARCOM is the central command of all NATO maritime forces, and the MARCOM commander is the primary maritime advisor to the Alliance. Like its land and air counterparts (LANDCOM and AIRCOM), MARCOM constantly supports the Joint Force Commands (JFC) and answers directly to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).