NATO’s naval force structure has dwindled since the end of the Cold War. Fewer units mean different operating patterns and lower levels of collective activity, which have combined to lead to the atrophy of Alliance interoperability. A resurgence of Russian activity in Central Europe and naval operations in the North Atlantic have driven renewed interest in the Atlantic maritime security environment, which had rested for many years on post–Cold War peacetime assumptions.
NATO and the United States have begun to turn the tide this year with the reestablishment of the Atlantic- focused U.S. Second Fleet and activation of the Joint Force Command Norfolk (JFC-NF). The operational and strategic success of these organizations will depend to a significant degree on improvements in Alliance integration and interoperability.
1. Tim Geehan and Douglas Wahl, “Minding the Interoperability Gap,” CIMSEC, 10 May 2017.
2. NATO, “Interoperability: Connecting NATO Forces,” 6 June 2017.
3. Myron Hura et al., Interoperability: A Continuing Challenge in Coalition Air Operations (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2000), 9–10.
4. AAP-06, NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions 2017 ed., 50.
5. “German, Norwegian Frigates Arrive in Norfolk to Join Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group,” Naval Today, 30 January 2018.
6. CAPT Jean-Emmanuel Roux de Luze, FN, “French Naval Aviation Trains with U.S. Navy,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 144, no. 4 (April 2018).
7. Eric Sayers, “Time to Launch a Combined Maritime Task Force in the Pacific,” War on the Rocks, 1 Jun 2018.
8. “Speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Munich Security Conference,” 18 February 2018.