Organized by NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM), the conference serves as a platform for operational fleet commanders to openly discuss maritime issues and enhance collaboration across the maritime domain through increased cohesion of effort while providing value back to individual national navies.
In light of COVID-19 pandemic, all discussions were carried out remotely this year to minimize unnecessary risks and exposure. Titled 'Defence and Deterrence: the next steps in multi-domain integration of maritime forces', the conference focused on operationalising the current NATO Military Strategy for the next two years. Cross-domain interoperability in all warfighting domains – air, land, maritime, cyber and space – has been identified as one of NATO's priorities for the years to come.
In the current climate we can't risk ceding the strategic initiative to our adversaries
"In the current climate we can't risk ceding the strategic initiative to our adversaries. NATO must respond, and not in a reactive way with boutique solutions, but in a measured, enduring way that increases our responsiveness, builds coherence and offers greater reliability, greater agility and delivers better effect across the breadth of SACEUR's AOR and beyond.", said Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tim Radford, during his keynote speech at the conference on Wednesday.
On the first day of the conference, MARCOM took the opportunity to update naval leadership from across the Alliance on how NATO is using the ships, aircraft, submarines and sailors contributed by the nations to support collective defence over the last 12+ months. Steps on how Allied efforts could be improved, and where these opportunities could be found, were also discussed.
Our commanders are developing new military strategies and ways of working to carry out NATO's military priorities and approach to current and future threats
"As the vast majority of NATO area of responsibility is bound by maritime, there are considerable opportunities for us to lead a deeper multi-domain integration within the Alliance. Our commanders are developing new military strategies and ways of working to carry out NATO's military priorities and approach to current and future threats. Forums such as these bring together current military thinking as we face a more unpredictable world and deal with the consequences of a changed security environment," said MARCOM Commander Vice Admiral Keith Blount.
Fleet commanders also provided feedback to MARCOM on activities and operations. MARCOM staff officers will use their feedback to help shape the planning for the next year to build a year of agility further enhancing NATO's maritime readiness, capability and effectiveness in face of any potential threats.