Russia’s re-emergence as a strategic challenge and how NATO is going to respond to it was the center-discussion at the Surface Warship Summit in Bucharest, Romania, held January 26-28.
Speaking at the summit, Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone CB CBE, Commander of Allied Maritime Command, said: “The combination of adventurist Russian behaviour, their lack of openness and clarity and a very aggressive new Maritime Doctrine has changed the way we (NATO) are thinking and behaving.”
Johnstone added that the war-driven immigration to Europe, the Daesh in Syria, a worsening economic picture and many other issues posed security threats that the Alliance has to look out for.
He added that the 2% spending pledge, which is upheld by only 5 of the 28 member states as the wall Street Journal reported, would keep the Alliance upfront and give it basic tools it needed to function.
Counting on the deterrence factor of an aircraft carrier, the Admiral noted that the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers would soon become available as they are expected to enter service by 2020.
Explaining what has, so far, been done in response to the issues, Johnstone said that the Standing Groups of the maritime forces were improving: “A few years ago the SNMGs were focused on constabulary duties and driven by a schedule that was very difficult to alter if needed. Today that has really changed – the SNF is focused on core mandates, on effective and robust training, strategic signaling of Alliance resolve.”
Concluding his speech, the Admiral called on the participants to consider numbers and capacity an essential value in the discussions and explained “that the spread of high end weapon systems to hostile state and non-state actors makes even the most benign area now potentially hostile”.