The annual event was designed to foster open discussion to strengthen cooperation and cohesion of effort across the NATO's maritime domain.
A key element of this year's conference was discussion about deterrence and defense of Allied nations particularly in the frame of the Alliance's current posture. Participants discussed ways to improve enhanced vigilance coordination in addition to roles and missions of NATO's maritime forces, including Operation Sea Guardian.
It is our responsibility to deter aggression at sea, and we must do it together as one, unified Alliance. Collaborating, as we did during this conference, is critical to greater understanding, cohesion, maritime awareness, and demonstrates the collective unity and readiness of our maritime forces.
Commander, MARCOM Vice Admiral Keith Blount kicked off the conference. His staff led case study presentations from recent operations and facilitated discussion on information sharing, and collaboration to strengthen NATO's maritime response.
"As the maritime operations hub for NATO, MARCOM enacts the decisions made by NATO's 30 member nations," Blount said. "It is our responsibility to deter aggression at sea, and we must do it together as one, unified Alliance. Collaborating, as we did during this conference, is critical to greater understanding, cohesion, maritime awareness, and demonstrates the collective unity and readiness of our maritime forces."
NATO's four standing maritime groups are committed to the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). In 2021, the groups conducted 21 high-end training exercises, more than 11,000 hours of patrols in the Aegean Sea, spent 286 days in the Baltic Sea, and 99 days in the Black Sea. The team conducted eight historical ordnance disposal operations identifying and neutralising 73 mines and 27 other pieces or ordnance. Operation Sea Guardian included 28 direct support and 187 associated support ships and submarines that worked together to provide continuous maritime security operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
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 is constantly in close coordination with the Joint Force Commands (JFC) and answers directly to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).