News: Annual Maritime Commanders Meeting reaches new heights
NAPLES, ITALY - The annual Maritime Commanders' Meeting took place in Rome, Italy, from April 15-18, with an unprecedented level of attendance in terms of national representation. "This event has grown every year and this edition gives me particular satisfaction as we have arrived at 37 nations, plus 18 NATO and numerous civilian organizations, said Vice Adm. Rinaldo Veri, commander of Maritime Command Naples and co-host of the event with Adm. George Zambellas, (U.K. commander in Chief Fleet and commander of Allied Maritime Command, Northwood )and Vice Adm. Giuseppe De Giorgi (Italian Commander-in-Chief Fleet).
"One of the working themes of this meeting is maintaining, developing and growing relationships, and the working basis for that is visible in the room today in the shape of so many attendees discussing topics of concern to all. I don't really want to single out the presence of any one nation but I would point out the presence this year of the Chinese Navy for the first time, and it gives me great personal satisfaction to welcome Rear Adm. Hasan Ali Bushnak the Libyan Chief of Naval Operations."
The opening day was marked by the presence of the Italian Defense Minister, the Honourable Giampaolo Di Paola whose references to the fact that security issues in the maritime domain are shared by all nations - the land-locked and the sea-going - and that no nation can go it alone in combating those issues were particularly poignant given that the minister was until recently Chairman of NATO's Military Committee.
The working title of MARCOMET 2012 was “Maritime Operations within the Framework of the New NATO Command Structure” and “Maintaining, Developing and Growing Relationships.”
Specifically regarding maritime aspects of the new NATO Command Structure, Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, commander Joint Force Command Naples spoke of Maritime Domain Awareness as being the essential foundation for security at sea and that he views the transition to the new Command Structure as an opportunity to create a new command culture. The idea of NATO Transformation as an ‘opportunity’ was echoed by Adm. Zambellas who in his presentation on the future unified Maritime Command rallied all to the concept that the work that has already started, and will be done in the coming months and years, will be fundamental in shaping NATO Maritime Operations over the next decades. He described the NATO maritime commanders as being on the cusp of an opportunity to deliver “agile Alliance Maritime Forces, potent command and control, precise and accurate advice, and operational effect across the entire Joint Battle Space.”
Topics briefed and discussed at MARCOMET 2012 included 'NATO's views on relationships', 'NATO's emerging maritime security developments and its evolving operational requirements,' 'commercial shipping concerns and practices', Maritime Situational Awareness', and 'civil contribution to Maritime Situational Awareness.' Rear Adm. Bruce Williams, previously Chief of Staff at Maritime Command Naples, gave a detailed briefing on the EU Common Security Defense Policy from his new position as deputy director general EU Military Staff.
A very detailed analysis of historical and current trends in piracy was given by Mr. Cyrus Mody, assistant director of the International Maritime Bureau. The topic was developed further by a Chinese view of multinational cooperation in counter-piracy given by Rear Adm. Jianguo Guan, deputy chief of Staff of the Chinese Navy's South Sea Fleet. The messaging in both these briefings emphasized the message repeated throughout the two days of MARCOMET that where maritime security is concerned no country can go it alone and that it is a shared problem.