STRIKFORNATO and SIXTHFLT maintain a special relationship in sharing a common Commander. As such, it is able to integrate high-end U.S., as well as other nations’, naval forces into task organized units as required by assigned missions. STRIKFORNATO may reinforce U.S. NAVEUR-NAVAF / Sixth CNE-CNA /6th Fleet with U.S. liaisons from its staff in a U.S. initiated operation to enable a seamless Hand Over/ Take Over (HOTO) to an Alliance operation, if required. In a NATO initiated operation, the U.S 6th Fleet staff will likely reinforce STRIKFORNATO with secondary reinforcements coming from the MOU nations.
The aim of the Project NEPTUNE is to establish a well-defined way ahead that will guide both staffs, to work on resolving potential issues for a successful preparation of the HOTO process, along with the necessary practical exercising of it. It also aims to establish a foundation and agreement on the procedures to integrate the STRIKFORNATO and SIXTHFLT staffs, to strengthen the relationship and cohesion between the STRIKFORNATO and SIXTHFLT staffs, and to increase awareness of the challenges and opportunities presented by STRIKFORNATO and SIXTHFLT integration.
Project “NEPTUNE” will become the foundation of a multiyear effort focused on harmonizing the two Staffs to effect HOTO to maximum effect, primarily through integration of U.S. naval and amphibious forces, in order to provide assurance, deterrence, and collective defence for the Alliance.