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May 17 2022

NATO begins vigilance activity NEPTUNE SHIELD 22

Oeiras, Portugal – NATO is conducting vigilance activity NEPTUNE SHIELD 2022 (NESH22), which integrates high-end maritime expeditionary strike capabilities of Sea, Air and Land assets. The activities will take place in the Baltic, Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, from 17-31 May.  

In support of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, NESH 22 is the execution phase of a long series of activities known as Project Neptune, conceptualized in 2020.

As a day-to-day activity, NESH 22 will involve the participation of multiple nations. The already planned participating nations are: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

Vigilance activities like NESH22 strengthen our ability to seamlessly integrate maritime strike capabilities to support deterrence and defence.

The activity focuses on overcoming the complexities of integrating command and control of a carrier strike group, an amphibious ready group and a Marine expeditionary unit to NATO.

During NESH 22, we will conduct the handover of command and control of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and the Combined Task Force 61/2, which includes the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) from SIXTHFLT to STRIKFORNATO and the wider Alliance.

General Tod D. Wolters, Commander, Supreme Allied Command Europe (SACEUR) looks forward to the execution of NESH22 by referring to it as an establishment of the unity that NATO strives for throughout the Alliance. Gen. Wolters adds, “Vigilance activities like NESH22 strengthen our ability to seamlessly integrate maritime strike capabilities to support deterrence and defence. We continue to do everything necessary to shield the Alliance.”

Vigilance Activities are a base line, or normal day-to-day activities, occurring in all domains, and across SACEUR’s Area of Responsibility to ensure appropriate strategic awareness and force readiness required to sustain peace.

“NESH22 is an excellent opportunity for improving the capacity to coordinate with Allies in continuing vigilance in order to train for NATO multi-domain and joint operations,” Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Jörg Vollmer. “NATO’s commitment to promoting peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area is clearly expressed by the integration of our forces’ capability to rapidly respond in a time of crisis.”

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 6, 2022) The Nimitz-class air craft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducts a vertical replenishment with an MH60S Sea Hawk helicopter, as it sails the Mediterranean Sea, May 6, 2022.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Conner Foy/Released)

Quick facts:

· NESH22 allows participants to learn from each other and strengthen relationships with Allies in the region. The value of NESH 22 contributes for the success of our long-standing Alliance while improving the overall cohesion of the Alliance. It also bolster the Alliance's capability to exercise flexible command and control structures and for all members of the Alliance to contribute to collective defense of the European continent.

· NATO is committed to supporting, promoting and operating within international laws and conventions. The Alliance's actions are always defensive in nature and proportionate in posture.

· The cohesion of NATO Allies and partners on both sides of the Atlantic have kept the region free from major conflicts for 70 years.

· Previous events in the Neptune series include table-top exercises at SIXTHFLT headquarters in Naples, Italy, a STRIKFORNATO embark (2021) on board USS Mount Whitney (NEPTUNE CHALLENGE) and a vigilance activity early this year called NEPTUNE STRIKE. This vigilance activity kicked off from the Adriatic Sea, and involved missions at sea and in the air across most of Europe, supporting both Allied Joint Force Command Naples and Brunssum.

· STRIKFORNATO led a maritime force composed of two carriers, 15 ships and approximately 90 aircraft, including forces from the Harry S. Truman CSG, the Italian Navy CAVOUR CSG, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 and Mine Counter Measure Group 2. Overall, forces and personnel from 28 NATO countries participated in NEPTUNE STRIKE.

· SIXTHFLT, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

· STRIKFORNATO, headquartered in Oeiras, Portugal, is Supreme Allied Commander Europe's (SACEUR) premier, rapidly deployable and flexible, maritime power projection Headquarters, capable of planning and executing full spectrum joint maritime operations.

Story by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

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