5 Dec. 2000
on the European Amphibious Initiative
Secretary of Defence of the United Kingdom
Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary, has agreed to a European Amphibious Initiative
with France, Italy, Holland and Spain. Mr Hoon, and his European counterparts,
signed a Declaration of Intent at a NATO meeting in Brussels today.
Mr. Hoon said:
"The UK's amphibious forces have worked with Allies for many
years, particularly the Dutch. This Initiative will enhance that co-operation,
and improve our contribution to both NATO and Europe. By working together
better in peacetime - through closer liaison, and more combined training
and exercising - our amphibious forces will operate more effectively
in actual operations. This is where multinational defence co-operation
really makes a difference: the whole is greater than the sum of the
Currently, although amphibious forces often operate together, procedures
can differ. This initiative will allow more rapid and effective deployment
of amphibious forces for NATO or European-led operations, where NATO as
a whole is not engaged, it involves working better with our Allies and
helping them to work better with us.
- The UK's amphibious forces comprise 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines,
the Assault Ship HMS FEARLESS and the Helicopter Landing Ship HMS OCEAN,
supported by other specialist shipping, helicopters, air defence units,
artillery and mortar units, logistics and other combat support units.
- No additional funding is required, and the Initiative places no additional
load on the United Kingdom's Amphibious Task Group.
- The United Kingdom already enjoys a close relationship with European
nations in amphibious matters: the United Kingdom/Netherlands Amphibious
Force (UKNLAF) has been in existence for 27 years. This initiative will
pave the way for UKNLAF to operate in a more coherent and efficient
manner with the amphibious forces of other European nations.
- Participating nations have agreed that compatibility with the US
Navy and the US Marine Corps continues to be a fundamental requirement.
Greater interoperability between European amphibious forces should make
that vital trans-Atlantic link easier to maintain.
- Each of the five participating nations has a substantial amphibious
force, and employs broadly similar doctrine. The Initiative will be
taken forward by the five but, in due course, it may be opened to other
European nations who are able to contribute.
- For further information, please contact Libby Green at the Defence
Press office on 020 7218 5109.
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