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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

About NATO

NATO FlagNATO Flag NATO has played a pivotal role in ending the adversarial relationship between East and West and has responded to changes since the end of the Cold War. NATO aims to further adapt the Alliance's political and military structures and develop the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTFs), whilst reaffirming that the Alliance remains open to the membership of other European countries. Through Partnership for Peace (PfP), inviting Partners to join in new political and military efforts to work alongside the Alliance have been very successful, culminating in the increase in member states since the end of the cold war. NATO remains committed to intensifying efforts against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and reaffirming the commitment to the transatlantic link between Europe, the United States and Canada.

Within this framework the Royal Navy regularly contributes to NATO operations. In addition to such operational roles, the Royal Navy maintains an ongoing commitment to four standing NATO forces, Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 1(SNMG1), Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), Standing NATO Response Force Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), Standing NATO Response Force Mine Counter Measures Group 2 SNMCMG2).

For further information about NATO visit the official website.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1)

SNMG1SNMG1 The Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 1, previously known as NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic - STANAVFORLANT, is a permanent peacetime multinational naval squadron composed of destroyers, cruisers and frigates from the navies of various NATO nations. The Force operates, trains and exercises as a group, providing day-to-day verification of current NATO maritime procedures, tactics and effectiveness.

Created in 1967, the Force has since involved a total of over 500 ships and more than 150 000 serving men and women. It participates annually in a series of scheduled NATO and national exercises designed to maintain readiness and foster interoperability. It provides a visible, practical example of Allied solidarity and transatlantic cooperation. Recent exercises have also demonstrated the capacity of the Force to undertake peace support and humanitarian operations outside the traditional area of responsibility of the Alliance, in line with NATO's policy of extending security throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.

Up to ten ships are normally attached to the force for up to six months, and command rotates on an annual basis among the nations contributing ships to the force.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2)

SNMG2SNMG2 NATO's SNMG2 was activated on 30 April 1992 under the initial name of Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) as a NATO Immediate Reaction Force, when eight allied naval units started flying the NATO flag in Naples, Italy.

In this busy area for shipping, the force can cover both, strategic shipping routes from the Far and Middle East that enter it from the Suez Canal en route to Europe, and local traffic from the Black Sea, Near East and North Africa. Warships monitor these busy shipping lanes whilst also providing a reassuring overt presence in the area. Constantly on the look out for terrorist related activity, which could include movements of arms and explosives as well as the terrorists themselves, the Ship's will be at a high alert state ready to deal with any unforeseen threat that materialises.

The Force periodically participates in Operation Active Endeavour, NATO's maritime contribution to the fight against international terrorism and has participated in NATO and non-NATO exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Nations that normally contribute to SNMG2 are Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1)

SNMCMG1SNMCMG1 Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), previously NATO Mine Countermeasure Force (North), is a permanently established multinational naval squadron that normally consists of seven mine countermeasures vessels (including a dedicated command ship). The Force conducts an intensive and varied annual programme of operations throughout the waters of Europe from the North of Norway to the Mediterranean and from the Irish Sea to the Eastern Baltic Sea. Since 1998 has also been operating in coastal waters of the United States, Canada and Iceland.

Since its inception the Squadron has demonstrated its capability to undertake its primary role as one of NATO's Mine Countermeasures Immediate Reaction Force. The multi-national force of Minehunters and Minesweepers that make up SNMCMG1 is widely regarded as the best trained, best equipped mine countermeasures unit in the world. By the very nature of the job the ships and men -around 30 officers and 200 ratings- is an immediate reaction force, always ready to carry out any mission.

Mine Counter Measures Group 2 (SNMCMG2)

SNMCMG2SNMCMG2 Mine Counter Measures Group 2 (SNMCMG2), previously NATO Mine Countermeasure Force (South) is an operational mine countermeasures capability permanently available in the Mediterranean and poised for action in peacetime, crisis or conflict. This important force normally comprises eight mine hunters/sweepers and a support ship from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The MCMFOR(S), as all of NATO's naval immediate reaction forces, operates as an integral unit whether participating in exercises or conducting real world operational missions. It is employed primarily in the Allied Forces South area of responsibility but, as required, is be available outside of the Mediterranean.