North Atlantic Council highlights importance of maritime security in visit to NATO Maritime Command
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen together with the Chairman of the Military Committee and Ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council discussed naval operations and the future of maritime security during a visit to NATO’s Maritime Headquarters at the Northwood base in the United Kingdom on Thursday (13 February 2014).
“In the Mediterranean, NATO ships continue to patrol and to monitor shipping for terrorist activity. We also conduct counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, in cooperation with the European Union and other international actors”, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. “In both theatres we continue to protect our people and our shared interests by overcoming threats and helping to keep shipping lanes safe”.
The Secretary General and the Ambassadors received operational briefings from Vice-Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command. They were also briefed on the work of the European Union Naval Forces Headquarter and the United Kingdom’s Joint Forces Command which are also located at the Northwood base. Thursday’s working visit highlighted the importance of maritime security to the Alliance.
Secretary General Rasmussen stressed that naval forces have a key role in maintaining NATO’s readiness to deal with future security challenges, including the threat posed by ballistic missiles. “In the future, maritime forces will only become more important. Just a few days ago, the first of four American Aegis ships arrived in Spain as part of the US contribution to our developing NATO missile defence system”, the Secretary General said. “I would like to see more Allies from this side of the Atlantic upgrade their ships’ radars as well as making other contributions”.
NATO currently has two major maritime operations, its counter-piracy mission Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa and the counter-terrorism mission Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea. These operations, which are being commanded from NATO’s Maritime Command in Northwood, will be reviewed in the coming months as the North Atlantic Council prepares the agenda for the Wales Summit in September.