Multinational Amphibious Task Force (MNATF)
Combined Amphibious Force Mediterranean (CAFMED)
In addition to other efforts to improve national reaction forces, NATO has created the Multinational Amphibious Task Force (MNATF), designated the Combined Amphibious Force Mediterranean (CAFMED) until late 1999, in order to accelerate and coordinate the Alliance's response to potential crises in its Southern Region. These MNATFs are high readiness, multi-purpose forces, task organized by mission, and supported by many NATO nations. They include Special Operations and Reconnaissance Specialists and are able to respond to the full spectrum of possible missions, from supporting humanitarian relief efforts to full-scale combat operations.
Unlike STANAVFORLANT and STANAVFORMED, MNATF is not a permanently-constituted formation. Instead, in the event of crisis it would assemble a force up of to division size (tailored to the requirements of a particular contingency) from an on-call pool of British, Dutch, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, and US amphibious assets.
Established on 09 May 1973, the UK/NL landing force is a lightly-equipped unit which is quickly deployable and which operates independently. The UK's 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde) Royal Marines links up with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (RNLMC) to form the UK Netherlands Landing Force (UKNL LF). The UK/NL/LF is primarily destined for the execution of amphibious operations/landings and prolonged land operations. With the growing emphasis on the problems of Southern Europe, the UK/NL/LF has also become available to Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean (CAFMED, when not needed by SACLANT.
The creation of a Spanish-Italian Amphibious Force (SIAF) started in 1994, and in 1996 an agreement was signed by the General Staffs from both countries. The SIAF is not an standing amphibious force. It is activated on call by common agreement and it will normally be under CAFMED (under NATO Command), EUROMARFOR (as WEU) or to accomplish any International Organization requirement (OSCE, UN, etc) or respond to any national (Italian or Spanish) military requirement. Although this is not a standing force, there is a permantent Officers and NCO's exchange between both forces.
In May 1995 NATO countries conducted a fully integrated amphibious exercise in an air, land and sea training environment for the first time in an 11-day exercise, called Destined Glory '95. It took place in the western Mediterranean south of Sardinia and includes more than 20 ships and thousands of troops from the NATO countries of Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, UK and the US. Throughout the exercise naval forces from the seven participating nations mixed and exchanged resources. Extensive cross training and exchange of personnel among the units was also be an integral part of NATO's annual spring naval exercise. One of the major goals of the exercise was to strengthen NATO amphibious capabilities in the southern European theater by practicing the recently developed the Combined Amphibious Force Mediterranean concept. Along with the integration of NATO forces, the exercise will accomplish this goal by providing a realistic training opportunity in a broad spectrum of naval skills. The CAFMED concept, which is already supported by many NATO nations, is designed to ensure swift delivery of troops anywhere in NATO's southern region littoral area.
Exercise "Destined Glory 97" (DG 97) took place in the western Mediterranean, the Gulf of Cadiz, and southern Spain, from 07 to 20 April 1997. Exercise DG 97 was the Southern Region's first major exercise to be held in Spain. The exercise, under the direction of the Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces Southern Europe (COMSTRIKFORSOUTH), was designed to improve the NATO's ability to carry out multinational amphibious operations, thus improving the capabilities of the Combined Amphibious Force Mediterranean (CAFMED).
Destined Glory 98 (DG 98) took place in the Western Mediterranean, the gulf of Cadiz and southern Spain from 05 to 22 May 1998. This multi-force exercise involved maritime, air and amphibious forces from France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. DG 98 was designed to improve the southern region's capability to carry out combined, joint operations of an amphibious nature, thus improving the inter-operability of the Combined Amphibious Force Mediterranean (CAFMED). The nine nations, which contributed to the exercise with a total of 34 ships, 15 fixed wing aircrafts, 39 helicopters and approximately 2800 troops, worked together to accomplish many military objectives, including practising force generation, deployment, re-deployment, integrated communications, and amphibious, land, sea and air activity. They also tested their theater command and control systems and electronic warfare.
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