Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) have continued conducting operations under the overarching Maritime Express construct during the group’s second semester deployment, say the Alliance.

First discussed in April 2018 at the MARCOM hosted Maritime Operational Commanders Conference, Maritime Express saw its implementation in 2019 during SNMG1’s first semester deployment.

“The concept is a twin-tracked approach bringing an increased emphasis on actively integrating Allied nations in SNMG operations directly or through associated support under national or NATO operational control”, according to a release from NATO.

“The overarching principle of Maritime Express is that it’s not an exercise in its own right,” said Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Logan, SNMG1 Staff Operations Officer.

“It’s more of a theme and policy for the Standing Maritime NATO Group deployment. By deploying, SNMG1 is going to areas near NATO Allies, whereby the units, whether civilian or military, are available for us to interact with,” he continued.

“This is different from us staying in the areas we would normally operate in, such as the eastern side of the Atlantic, and expecting others to come to us.”

The second track of Maritime Express is actively identifying opportunities for more joint and civilian interaction by taking advantage of the inherent flexibility and agility of maritime forces.

“For NATO, Maritime Express is meant to look into other options of using the standing naval forces,” said Danish Navy Cmdr. Peter Jansberg, SNMG1 Staff Planning Officer.

“It also allows us to look at opportunities to exercise together, while also improving relationships and developments between the countries and the Standing NATO Maritime Groups, ships and units. The biggest benefit here is that NATO can get closer together and spread the message to a further audience than just NATO and MARCOM.”

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