NATO Maritime Command Changes Leadership
NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom – Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) conducted a change of command ceremony May 20 at Northwood Headquarters in the United Kingdom to mark the change of senior leadership at the command.
General Tod D. Wolters, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, presided over the ceremony as Vice Admiral Keith E. Blount, CB OBE FRAeS assumed Command of Allied Maritime Command from Vice Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone, KBE CE who led NATO’s only standing Maritime Component Command since October 2015.
Vice Admiral Johnstone reflected on his time at MARCOM, noting, "We’ve changed the very heart of NATO. At MARCOM and right across the maritime enterprise, we now focus on operations.” Continuing on, he highlighted that working together, Allied navies produce an incredible force of ships, submarines and aircraft on active tasks for NATO, providing a present and capable force for the defense of all Alliance members.
During Vice Admiral Johnstone’s tenure, MARCOM, through collaboration with Allied Navies, and by building a network of maritime stakeholders, led operations and exercises across the region that have both demonstrated and sharpened the credible capability of NATO and its Allied Navies. The diverse staff of MARCOM, in concert with the maritime network, helps NATO to anticipate issues and work to address them.
As part of the NATO Command Structure Adaptation, MARCOM is being augmented, reorganized and empowered to lead robust maritime operations theatre-wide, The new MARCOM is always NATO’s Maritime Theatre Component Commander (MTCC) and when called upon and serves as a Maritime Component Commander (MCC) for specific operations. MARCOM has been recognized as the central hub for NATO maritime operations, playing a key role in the Alliance’s deterrent posture at sea, commanding NATO’s maritime forward presence, coordinating Allied maritime assets and expanding the agility and usability of the Standing Naval Forces. Over the last three years, MARCOM has driven the reform of Standing Naval Force deployments, increasing flexibility and adaptability in ship schedules to meet the emerging and often short-notice requirements of NATO and Nations.
Vice Admiral Blount is assuming command at a transformative time for MARCOM and NATO and will lead MARCOM as it takes on full operational capability as NATO’s Maritime Theater Component Commander.