United Kingdom takes command of NATO Task Group from Germany
30 Jun 2017
SOUDA - Crete, Greece - On the 30th of June the UK took command of the Standing NATO Maritime
Task Group 2 (SNMG2) at a ceremony at Souda Bay Naval Station on the Greek Island
Rear Admiral Axel Deertz (German Navy) has been in command
of the Task Group for six months and has handed command to Commodore James
Morley (Royal Navy). During the ceremony
HMS Duncan also took over the role of Task Group flagship from FGS Brandenberg.
The Task Group is made up of ships from a number of
different NATO nations and has three main roles. The first role is to remain at a very high
state of readiness should a reaction be needed to a military or humanitarian
crisis. It can never be predicted what events or emerging threats may arise but
the Task Group would be the first on call and ready to respond. To do this the
Task Group conducts a series of exercises that are designed to ensure that the
group has a good understanding of its capabilities. The Task Group is then able
to operate as a combined, effective NATO force.
A second role for the Task Group is to deter illegal
migration. Traffickers are exploiting migrants by selling them the idea that
the journey to Europe by sea is easily
achievable. This is not the case as the
Mediterranean and Aegean seas can be as dangerous to cross as the Atlantic or
Pacific. To deter illegal migrant trafficking, the Task Group is working with
the EU Border Force, Greek and Turkish coastguards.
Third, the task group will conduct a series of engagement
visits to partner nations to reinforce friendships and to support NATO Allies.
During these visits NATO is able to share ideas, train and improve security at
sea. All nations have the right to use
the high seas, the Task Group seeks to protect this right.
During Commodore Morley’s time in command the Royal Navy
will also command a further NATO Task Group responsible for mine
countermeasures. This other group will be commanded from HMS Enterprise. By
taking command of SNMG2 in HMS Duncan, the UK will command two of the four
NATO maritime groups. This demonstrates
the United Kingdom’s significant contribution to NATO and its commitment to the
collective defence of NATO nations.