U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet
January 3, 2023

Cohesion at sea: Maritime deterrence and defense throughout 2022

In the Baltic Sea, Estonian troops and U.S. Marines rehearse amphibious assault drills, storming the beach and quickly seizing objectives in concert as the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge patrols the horizon.

Farther south, in the Mediterranean Sea, a French Navy Rafale lands aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush during multicarrier operations comprising Bush, the FS Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, and ITS Cavour CSG.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the Officer of the Deck on the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford looks out at the Canadian, Danish, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish ships in company during Silent Wolverine, an exercise designed to test the carrier’s capabilities through integrated high-end naval warfare scenarios during its first overseas deployment.

Through combined evolutions like these, NATO Allied and partner maritime forces exhibited unparalleled cooperation and interoperability throughout 2022. From the High North to the Mediterranean, and in nearly every body of water in between, these navies and coast guards embarked on a banner year of sustained, uncompromising strength and vigilance throughout the European theater.

“Our Allies and close partners like Finland and Sweden have never been more unified than we are today,” said Adm. Stuart Munsch, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. “Our interoperability at sea delivers true warfighting advantage for NATO….”

The ships of the Harry S. Truman carrier strike group, including the Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen, kicked off 2022 with a bang and set the pace for the year to come with port visits to Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and Türkiye. Deployed to the NAVEUR-NAVAF area of operations in December 2021, the HSTCSG remained in the region until August 2022, flying hundreds of sorties in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing and other missions, safeguarding the integrity of Allied airspace before turning over these duties to the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group.

The HSTCSG, along with other Allied and partner maritime forces, came under NATO command and control for…Neptune Strike 22.1 and Neptune Shield, in January and May, respectively. Neptune Strike 22.1 marked the first time since the Cold War NATO assumed command and control of a U.S. carrier strike group.

Photograph: U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet