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The Role of Allied Naval Forces and Allied Maritime Command after Warsaw 2016



Secretary General, Madame Chairman, General, distinguished Members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Defence and Security Committee, good morning.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak with you today on the role of my Command and of NATO navies in fulfilling the mandate set by our political leaders at Warsaw.

I am privileged to join you as you consider the Report on NATO maritime power that Ms Moon and her team have drafted.  I find it a most useful statement of our current challenges and it acts as the portal for the issues that I would like to talk about this morning.  The Report comes at a critical time in the life of maritime NATO, following one of the most operationally-focused years for the Standing Naval Forces and Alliance navies that I can recall.

It is vital that the legislatures of the Allies – the representatives of the peoples of the Alliance and of our Partners – understand the contributions of ships, sailors and maritime HQs to Alliance security as well as to the challenges we face.

As the Report emphasises, NATO is indeed a Maritime Alliance: the seas and oceans connect us.  They allow for trade and communications – including the internet via underwater cables. It is an area of cooperation, competition and potentially conflict and a domain where the Alliance holds a strategic advantage, at least for now.  It is also an area of manoeuvre, opportunity, trade, resource and stability for NATO and partner nations. 

As you stated, the Navies of the Alliance are indeed being asked to do more with less - now is the time to reverse that trend.  That said, there have been positive developments and I hope to highlight some of those.

I don’t only talk here in terms of ships and capability – though this is important – but peace and stability comes from understanding, listening and diplomacy.  The sea and mariners are bizzarely good at this.  But when tensions rise security and the return to stability often comes from our ability to move quickly and with Authority.  Maritime capabalities – Navies – give you decision makers this option, this tool set.  And I would just ask you to judge in your countries whether you have the resilience and sustainability to offer this speed of reaction with authority and credibility

With this as an opener – lets make three quick capping points – which I will develop as I go on.

- The first is to re-iterate that Allied Maritime Command is now busy and focussed, forged by the three tasks of maintaining the Standing Naval Groups, delivering running operational tasks and Commanding live operations all from a Maritime Operations Centre in North London.  We are busy but we recognise the need for improvement and are on a very challenging journey ourselves to make ourselves better - to adapt an improve in stride - ;  if we are to be successful with no extra resources we are going to need to remove the constraints and restrictions that challenge us - the NATO Functional Review is most welcome in this context.  You should be proud of this drive to offer you – our governments – efficiency and value for money.

- Secondly, the Allied navies make a vital contribution to security in all the Strategic Seas of the Alliance.  // We are providing strategic anticipation – indications and warnings - of Russian naval movements and intent in the Atlantic. //  We are in the Aegean supporting efforts to stem the flow of illegal migrant trafficking.  //  We are in the Mediterranean with Operation Sea Guardian, // (our new flagship Maritime Security Operation designed to deliver operational authority and credibility AND designed to act as a vehicle for EU/NATO engagement and for the integration of partners and partner nations. .  // and…..We are increasingly present and structured the Baltic and Black Sea to engage and train with our Allies as well as our key partners there.   // …….And everywhere we think assurance and how to project deterrence.

- Third, there has been a renaissance in the link between NATO and Allied Navies (your Navies) over the past year.  We are better connected, more fused than we have been in years.  The Warsaw demand to pull together the totality of Alliance maritime power in a crisis and their approval of the concept of Allied Maritime Governance has sparked new thinking and a new enthusiasm for ways to better to pool our formidable naval strength. // This is a maritime alliance on the move and becoming increasingly energised by its progress.  You have been very generous in offering me some time to speak – so I hope I can be informative and I will try to be interesting.


Let me first address the role of my Headquarters in Northwood, UK. 

MARCOM is your Standing Operational Maritime Component Command and the Principal Maritime Advisor to our Supreme Allied Commander.  

I command NATOs four Standing Maritime Groups as well as Operation Sea Guardian. Counter Migration activity in the Aegean and of course the last days of Operation OCEAN SHIELD off the Horn of Africa (but not in any ways the stopping of interest in the security of the waters just outside the NATO area of responsibility).

In addition, we conduct extensive naval activities that support Maritime Situational Awareness, we support NATO’s deterrent posture and strategic messaging and deepen partner relations and capabilities.  Finally, we have a key role in training and exercises of Allied warships and in operational experimentation and we are the Requirements Authority in the maritime domain for training and exercising.
Where once we had several maritime headquarters with the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic as the premiere maritime command, those functions are now carried out by my Headquarters, albeit in a very much leaner fashion. 

While others consider more ambitious strategies and other HQ permutations,  we in MARCOM like to stretch our particular elastic by working more closely with elements of the Nato Command Structure and the NATO Force Structure. //  We call this the Maritime Enterprise.

In particular, I am wedded at the hip to  Vice Admiral Chris Grady - Commander of the US 6th Fleet and also Commander of Striking Force NATO // and I am very proud of the five rotational on-call Maritime Force Headquarters provided by certain maritime nations.  Chris and I, along with the HRF(M) Commands, regard ourselves as something of an engine room //  determined on friendship, operational focus and improvement.

I am privileged to work with an extraordinary staff that is a credit to the Allies and Partners who support it. //  Under the leadership of SACEUR General Scaparrotti we have also built a very close relationship with my counterpart NATO service commanders, //  Lieutenant General Darryl Williams of Allied Land Command  // and General Tod Wolters of Allied Air Command.  // Together we are working to create a truly joint approach to NATO capabilities and responses.  //Again it feels full of energy and refreshing.

I joined MARCOM with the following priorities – to Focus on Operations (because we need to!), // to change our behaviour so everything is focused on this operational delivery, // to think entirely different about the operational relationship that NATO has with Allied and Partner navies. //  We exist to add value to navies and to Allies - NATO does not exist for itself.  // To work in partnership with everyone – we have no spare resources for competition within the Alliance or with our partners.  // Finally, to better integrate the maritime voice within NATO so our populations understand what we are doing. // That is why I so grateful to be here with you today.  I work to and for you – delivering your will and intent.
At the Warsaw Summit, the Heads of State and Government set out their commitment to Alliance security in the Strategic Seas of the Alliance.  They emphasised the need for Alliance navies to provide deterrence, strategic foresight and to project stability. 

As I pursue this agenda for SACEUR General Scaparrotti, I have five main concerns as the maritime commander: // the Russian challenge and its 360 degree complexity - perhaps not a big enemy but certainly a big problem; //  what I term the Syrian complex; // the uncertainty in the region surrounding the Black Sea; // the complex instability of the Southern Mediterranean, in Libya, // and finally and as important as any – the re-definition and understanding of the Atlantic.  Let me just work through these, though perhaps not in this order.  I will try and combine threat and geography where I can.

Russia and the North Atlantic

So first – Russia – and slightly separately the Atlantic.  NATO’s concerns over Russia and its behaviour were well stated at Warsaw and I just need to touch on them from my perspective.   This Russian challenge is omnidirectional, // from close flypasts of Allied warships in the Baltic to the most assertive submarine activity we have seen in the Atlantic since the Cold War; // the build-up of forces in the Black and Baltic Seas // and the Kuznetsov Carrier deployment in the Mediterranean.  // Their actions have an impact on maritime and human security, as Aleppo can attest.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, NATO is again focused on a  Russia that, through her desire for a new world order and her adherence to the principles of escalation dominance and not  escalation control, challenges our collective defence and alters the security paradigm. //  The Russian deployment to Syria and elsewhere has extended their area denial capabilities to the Eastern Mediterranean, Black and Baltic Seas.  //  Through the deployment of extensive missile and submarine networks Russia has endeavoured to create zones of exclusion that challenge legal and historic freedoms of navigation.

As we all know, the Russian Navy is recovering from its collapse in the early 1990s. //New ships and especially submarines, new capabilities such as the Kalibr land attack cruise missile on their Kilo-class submarines and Grigorovich DDGs, along with better trained crews mark this recovery. 

Of course, Russia has the right to build and sail vessels and aircraft within the limits of international law, as do we.

There is no intent on our part to harass or exclude any nation's naval assets from international waters.

And I stress there is no intent to get back to a Cold War and we do need to find a way to talk to Russia, and not cast her as the ‘enemy’.

But as stated at Warsaw, we also need to be prepared to meet any challenge in an unpredictable future.

We need presence, posture and activity that deters provocation and adventurism today. We need to be credible and understand deterrence in this new age.. 

Over the past year, Allied Navies and MARCOM have been maintaining oversight of Russian Navy movements in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. 

MARCOM has been recognised as the central co-ordinating organisation for multi-national efforts combining both the Standing Naval Forces and national assets. We are more active than we have been in very many years, most recently illustrated by our efforts to maintain surveillance of the Kuznetsov Battle Group deployment to the Mediterranean. 

This effort received validation at Warsaw, which called for additional efforts to monitor, track and conduct surveillance and reconnaissance on potential adversaries to enhance our own understanding and strategic foresight.

I have a particular concern with the Atlantic submarine challenge given the shape of the Russian order of battle and because Anti-Submarine Warfare has not been a priority in NATO or Allied training for many years.

We need to be better and particularly when acting together as a multinational force conducting Theatre ASW with ships, submarines and aircraft, and soon unmanned vehicles. 

I have made this a priority of my command ….. that we support Nations maintaining NATO’s operational edge over potential adversary submarine capabilities, in command and control, communications and interoperability. 

The Atlantic

This brings me to the Atlantic. 

Nowhere is this capability more important today than in the North Atlantic.

MARCOM is not alone in recognising this challenge. 

I have had excellent conversations with the Iceland Head of Defence Arnor Sigurjonsson who has been arguing for years the strategic importance of ASW to the North Atlantic. 

The US agreement with Iceland to base P8 MPA at Keflavik to improve ASW capabilities in the North Atlantic will substantially improve our reach and is greatly welcome.

Norwegian State Secretary Oystein Bo has called for new thinking on how we secure NATO’s Sea Lines of Communication in the North Atlantic.  Norway has been a powerful voice in the new focus on Atlantic security along with Iceland, France, Portugal, the UK, Germany and Denmark.

In my own country, our last Defence and Security Review moved to invest in ASW and surface combatants, // restore our airborne ASW capabilities though P8s purchased from the US // and herald a new maritime confidence with the two Queen Elizabeth Carriers and recent announcements on our new Type 26 Frigates.  I could go on…
We are seeing this revival of interest because sea lines of communications, transatlantic reinforcement of Northern Europe and the the Baltic region and forward presence are inextricably linked to the North Atlantic.


To underpin this focus, especially our ability to operate in a challenging ASW posture, we have focussed very heavily on training.  
This summer Exercise Dynamic Mongoose tested our anti-submarine abilities off Norway.

Mongoose involved 3000 sailors and aircrew from 8 nations;

4 submarines, 9 surface ships and 4 ASW aircraft. 

We built a demanding programme to hone advanced surface and subsurface ASW tactics in deep water.  A great deal of good training and learning was achieved and we are looking at the results very carefully. 
This past October we conducted MARCOM’s major maritime exercise Noble Mariner. 

This year the exercise was fused with UK’s Joint Warrior exercise off Scotland. 

We had an opportunity to train with and against unmanned vehicles in the air, surface and sub-surface environments in the portion of the exercise dubbed Unmanned Warrior. 

The lessons we will identify Unmanned Warrior will feed into the Manta and Mongoose ASW exercise series in 2017, Mongoose being shifted off Iceland, in what I hope will be a virtuous cycle of training, experimentation and reform. 

We need to train and learn quickly – I am afraid I am not much of a fan of long term concept development.

Looking further ahead, NATO’s triennial High Visibility Joint Exercise in 2018 will be off Norway and I expect the same war fighting focus will feature strongly in the maritime programme.

The Challenge of the Arctic

If I can push slightly further north…

The North Atlantic is also the doorway to the Arctic, and so might be useful to say a few works about how the High North fits into our thinking. 

NATO does not have a formal position or policy on the High North as allies differ in their views of the matter.  These comments are thus only mine (treat them as an appetizer).

But NATO does have more than a theoretical interest as NATO’s Area of Responsibility for Collective Defence includes the territories, ships and aircraft of Allies in the North Atlantic above the Tropic of Cancer. 

That has always been considered to reach to the North Pole.

and ….Four of five littoral states are also NATO Members.

The Arctic was a contested undersea space in the Cold War.  It is still the place where Russia maintains its seaborne deterrent.  But outside the nuclear dimension, co-operation has been the watchword since the end of the Soviet Union and especially since the ice began to melt and transit became possible.
There has been an extensive network of cooperation on exploration, managing environmental risks, and search and rescue.  International law and negotiations have been the norm, not confrontation - it is vital that NATO does everything it can to support this.

The Arctic Council has functioned very effectively in addressing issues in the High North - Indeed the Arctic Council appears to have been an effective model in many areas.  

No Ally desires to see the militarisation of the Arctic and the threat of armed conflict there is very low. That said, Russia's recent behaviour elsewhere in the world necessarily makes us cautious.
I can speak only for myself on this point, but my experience is that the Arctic is only becoming more important.

So what MARCOM will do is to maintain and improve our readiness, our responsiveness and our maritime situational awareness to respond to any challenge when the Alliance calls on us to do so, wherever that may be.

The South

Let’s move to warmer climes and the south.

Russia and all its capabilities is not the single challenge that pre-occupies us.  Indeed General Scaparrotti talks of Russians, Radicals and Refugees as his focii of effort.

Perhaps if the Russian threat is the most important then the most urgent threat to the Alliance today might come from a multitude of stimuli all sitting to the south and south-east,

This requires us to balance our efforts to strengthen the security of the Alliance in all directions.
In the Mediterranean as well as in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, failing states, poverty, civil war, terrorism and the resulting environmental, social and economic upheaval all hold our attention. 

One result has been large waves of migration and human trafficking.

Migration is such a concern that has polarised politics across Europe and reaches every country - even those seemingly well away from the challenge.

NATO has joined with the EU and other stakeholders to contribute to stemming the flow of illegal trafficking in the Aegean. 

2016 saw NATO’s first efforts to assist in stemming migrant trafficking. Following the February NATO Defence Ministers' decision to deploy SNMG2 into the Aegean, we quickly established our presence to provide maritime surveillance support to the Greek and Turkish Coast Guards and to FRONTEX.

The effort was remarkable on several fronts: we enabled and supported levels of co-operation within the Aegean to a degree most would have thought impossible.  And our efforts, joined with the EU-Turkey agreement and border control of Turkey and many South East European states, minimised migration flows across the Aegean, at least for now.

I am the first to recognise that the human dilemmas and refugee situation has not been resolved but we may have created breathing space for nations to work those issues.

Moving South, the arc of crisis from Syria, Libya, and all along the North African littoral has also given rise to a severe terrorist threat involving Da’esh as well as other terrorist or insurgent groups and deep concerns of the region’s security and stability.  Just ask the cruise liner industry.

The flow of arms and terrorist fighters from North Africa, in particular from Da'esh bases in Libya that are now under attack, could threaten further horrific attacks in Turkey and the rest of Europe as well as to established shipping lanes. 

A key part of NATO’s response to Project Stability in the South and address these challenges is the activation of our new maritime security mission, Operation SEA GUARDIAN that was announced by the Secretary General on 27 October.

Operation Sea Guardian is not a re-hashed Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR; indeed, it is a new mission based on a new operational credo and a drive to establish greater operational flexibility and effect. ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR was an Article V Counter Terrorist Mission from horror that was 911, but its age and limitations meant it was neither effective nor valued by nations.

Operation SEA GUARDIAN gives greater clarity of purpose. Its mission set has been substantially expanded to areas such as maritime interdiction which would include enforcement of arms embargoes, energy security, critical infrastructure protection as well as maritime situational awareness and freedom of navigation.

Operation SEA GUARDIAN is generated separately from the Standing Naval Forces so we can construct Task Groups fit for purpose and mature our tasking as experience, participation and expertise grows.
Finally, our rules of engagement for this new non-Art V operation are more robust than the old Art V one – something we recognize is rather counter-intuitive.

The current threats we face have encouraged the stand up of a more relevant operation with teeth if necessary.

I believe Op SEA GUARDIAN will be one of NATO's main platforms in projecting stability in the Mediterranean region and will be closely associated with the Southern Hub that  the excellent Joint force Commander Naples - ADM Michelle Howard is establishing.

I believe it can also be an effective linkage between NATO and EU security operations at sea.


We will build that NATO-EU linkage on good foundations.

MARCOM and Op Sophia have excellent links and I meet with RADM Enrico Credendino regularly and our staffs are in constant contact. 

NATO and the EU are working out how we can best compliment Op Sophia's efforts and meet EU HUREP Mogherini’s request for assistance, while keeping NATO free to train and develop warfighting skills and competence.

This relationship will not form in big clunky steps but a gradual growth in effectiveness - in addition to much more sensible exchanges of information we are providing logistic support and assistance - indeed - while also looking after my Task Group surveilling the Russian Task group one of my tankers refuelled the EUNAVFORMED Flagship  - the Garibaldi. 

Black Sea

Now very close to us here in this geographical and issue based journey, allow me to address the challenges of the Black Sea region.  Russian actions in Ukraine has created an instability there which if we are not careful could herald mishap or miscalculation.
The eventual stationing of six Kalibr-equipped Kilo submarines with the Black Sea Fleet changes the balanced of maritime power in the Black Sea. 
NATO has heard the call by President Erdogan to prevent the Black Sea from becoming a Russian Lake and MARCOM is working closely with the NATO Allies in the region to determine how best to ensure Allied security.  // We are very grateful to the Turkish Navy, for its leadership and support and to the valiant work being driven forward by Admiral Alexandru Mirsu the Chief of Navy of Romania.  I am aware of meetings taking place over the coming weeks to discuss the issues involved – most welcome.

Maritime forces

So, as you can see, the challenges are substantial. How can NATO and its Navies respond? The maritime enterprise is at the forefront of NATO thinking about the future.  Old hands tell me that they have not seen this much interest in maritime NATO since the Cold War. Raising our operational posture requires the right mix of available Standing Naval Forces, on-call forces and Follow-on Forces; and the correct mechanic to integrate the readiness of NATO's wider fleet as part of a comprehensive naval awareness that NATO can draw upon in a crisis or contingency. This balance with the right training is vital and with MARCOM HQ sitting as a advisor, advocate and agent.

The Alliance Maritime Strategy remains sound but it requires a new application in changed times.  We call this the Operationalization of the AMS. 

This operationalization is built  around our Standing Naval Forces. A major asset for immediate response, the SNF comprise four interoperable task groups, each with an experienced NATO commander at sea to provide real naval capability. 

Their employment provides strategic signalling of Alliance readiness and resolve while their enduring presence is fundamental to maritime integration and a tool envied by the land and air domains. The Standing Naval Forces remains the core of maritime NATO, offering valuable training in task group operations, showcasing interoperability and the commitment of Alliance members to pool resources. I am very grateful for the contribution of many Allies to the strength of the SNF, and would highlight the support of Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and especially Greece and Turkey in recent years. 

The UK has deployed its first T45 destroyer in NATO and will, in 2017 provide assets and take command of two groups at the same time.

Indeed, the Standing Forces and our recent coordinated activity are areas where European navies can be proud of carrying the overwhelming bulk of the transatlantic burden.

The new NRF mandated at the Wales Summit and confirmed at Warsaw requires a core of worked up forces operating as a team and a much larger force that can be quickly integrated during a crisis. 
To this end we are trialling a set of on-call assets that will be on short notice to join the core group over a year and who will spend two, one month periods of force integration training with the SNF.

A further mandate from Warsaw was to be able to bring the totality of Alliance maritime power to bear when necessary.  This was linked to the growing realization that NATO might find itself dealing with concurrent crisis beyond the scope of the current NRF. 

This vision drives our current efforts to build a new Operational awareness of the Alliance's collective 'fleet' from the Arctic to Atlantic to Black Sea. 

NATO needs a full awareness of what naval capabilities are out there; who is deployed and who is ready to deploy.  The readiness of the assets and their level of training and suitability for task group integration. 

All of this requires management and a common voice.  To achieve this, we have written the ‘Maritime Start Up Guide’ otherwise known as Alliance Maritime Governance – recognised as an organising principle at Warsaw -  to guide our cooperation in the broader Alliance maritime enterprise.

Under AMG we are expanding our efforts to understand Allied maritime activity and readiness to build an Alliance-wide shared operational and commercial picture of ships and assets at sea. 

MARCOM has about 50% of that picture and we need to be much better at it.  But our level of engagement with Allied Maritime Operation Centers has increased massively over the past year. 

We have coordinated dozens of national assets in surveillance activities providing NATO with Strategic Anticipation of potential threats.

That is Allied Maritime Governance in action.


Allow me to turn very briefly to training and integration. The basic maritime posture of the Alliance is strong.  It overawes any potential peer competition if (and it is a big if) the bulk of those Allied forces can be brought together quickly, seamlessly, able to interoperate as an effective fighting force. 

But size alone does not prevail – it is critical that NATO thinks clearly about its exercising, training and learning.  We do not want to find ourselves exercising heavily but not training and learning,

We need to think about today and tomorrow - developing quickly in many little steps - learning, if you like from the experiences of elite sports teams.  We need exercises that can show up weakness and test new ideas and must embrace and learn from failure. 

Although large and programmatic exercises like Trident Juncture are necessary for signalling resolve, there is a pressing need to raise skills and confidence at every level. 

MARCOM is working with ACT and other Commanders to help ramp up our training and readiness for our task groups at sea.  We are also exploring how to nest maritime training and exercises in the Mediterranean so that regional navies – such as Italy’s - are not forced to choose between operational training opportunities far away and pressing local missions.


The final area I would like to address – you will be glad this sea journey has almost reached harbor – is how to enhance NATO operational partnership in the maritime domain with our many friends around the world. 

The importance of our Partnerships runs like a thread through everything I have discussed, from the key roles of Sweden and Finland in the Baltic  Ukraine and Georgia in the Black Sea and Egypt, Morocco and Algeria in the Mediterranean. 
Warsaw made clear NATO’s desire to continue to deepen our military and political cooperation with key partners, who share our values and our security interests.

Working with the SHAPE Military Preparation Directorate and our Partner navies, MARCOM has advised the Ukrainian Navy on their rebuilding of the force; conducted a major security conference in Montenegro backed by the visit of a Mine Counter Measures Group to the same city; and has conducted ship and special forces training with the Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian and Egyptian Navies.  We maintain close links with the navies of Ukraine, Georgia, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as well as many others.

These activities are valuable and of course we only pursue partnership objectives of the partners themselves. 

But the same sea change in European security that triggered NATO adaptation also begins to call for a deeper level of operational cooperation, whether this is through the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction mechanism for cooperation, as an operational partner of Operation Sea Guardian, or information sharing arrangements or through other means.

To Conclude

I have three points:

The first relates to deterrence.  Although I had not spoken much about deterrence directly, I hope you gathered that everything we do enhances NATO’s deterrent posture. 

NATO's maritime forces have a great deal of utility to support our deterrent strategy that Warsaw showcased. 

We do possess the ability to react with great speed and great power wherever a threat may arise, to reinforce a local baseline force. Our Standing Naval Forces in theatre are forward presence.   Our wider Allied naval assets offer a strategic reserve for reinforcement as well as a grand-strategic ability to shape maritime sea lines of communication to our advantage in times of conflict.  We must think how we will harness the required capacity and capability, to balance the investment in our Standing Forces against the need to source, train and plan for the increasingly heavy end of capability required by follow-on forces.

But deterrence is more than force posture, it is also about how our forces are deployed and the activities they undertake.  Attitude as well as architecture; chemistry as well as physics.  In everything we have done other the past year –our presence, our posture, our statements and our actions – we have made it clear that crossing NATO’s borders or removing freedom of innocent passage is not an option, whether one uses Submarines, Missile Systems, tanks or "little green men”. 

Second, we need to recognise that we are part of a security architecture in transition. Things are different from where they were even in 2013.  Russia is not an enemy but it is a critical challenge on several fronts. The Mediterranean is facing unprecedented pressure from violence, trafficking, migration and war. Turkey, France and Belgium have seen horrific terrorist attacks.   I don't believe we are at peace - and don't believe we can relax in the comfort in the traditions of having phases of a military campaign. We are dealing with threats exist now and that seem to behave like water running down hill - working themselves around us and unsettling us like rocks in a torrent.

In this context, the commitments made at the NATO Summit at Warsaw are not just words. We – both NATO and the EU, organisations and nations – really need to do something about the challenges that we face.

And finally, time is critical we need to recognise this as threats work around our traditional thinking and society.  We need to be ready to respond with what we have, and to assume we will suffer from strategic surprise. 

That is why I am focused on the current readiness and agility of our forces and headquarters, ready to respond tonight if necessary.

This is a SACEUR priority and goes right back to the heart of my objectives - to focus on Operations and Operational behaviour - in every way as though we do.

Once again, please accept my thanks for the opportunity to speak with you today. 
And let me again thank the Committee for investing their time and energy in a report on Alliance naval power that I am sure will be of great benefit in getting the message out about what maritime NATO is doing and what we need to succeed. 

I am happy and answer any questions.  Thank you.

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