NATO Maritime Command leads four Standing Maritime Groups (two destroyer/frigate groups and two mine countermeasures groups) which are multinational, integrated maritime forces made up of vessels from Allied countries. These vessels are under continuous NATO command to perform a wide range of tasks ranging from deterrent presence and situational awareness to exercises and the conduct of operational missions. These groups provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability both in peacetime and in crisis. They demonstrate Alliance resolve and foster solidarity, as well as enhance the Alliance’s relations with Partner nations through visits and exchanges.
These four groups comprise the core of the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) to the NATO Response Forces (NRF), providing timely maritime support to NATO operations in a contingency. Additional forces could be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus.