Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED / SNFM)
NATO maintains standing maritime Immediate Reaction Forces in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) is organized and operates along similar lines to STANAVFORLANT, with destroyers and frigates provided by Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
STANAVFORMED is an operationally ready NATO Immediate Reaction Force established in 1992, under the operational control of Commander Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe (COMNAVSOUTH). It typically consists of eight warships, normally destroyers and frigates, from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Spain. Each nation has one ship continuously assigned to the force. They train and operate together as a collective unit under the commander, Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe.
STANAVFORMED is part of NATO's Immediate Reaction Forces (IRFs) and as such its primary mission is to deploy rapidly to areas of tension and crisis. By definition as an IRF, the Task Force is trained to conduct a wide-range of maritime operations. These capabilities are regularly tested in exercises throughout the Southern Region. It is ready to respond to any crisis in NATO's area of interest, although its primary area of operations is the Mediterranean. Within STANAVFORMED, coordination, cooperation, and inter-operability are all significant aspects of operations in this multi-national organization. STANAVFORMED counterparts join to conduct a variety of surface warfare operations.
Cross-Pollination, or cross-polling for short, is an exchange of Sailors serving aboard the ships of Standing Naval Force Mediterranean. It's an opportunity the multinational force has to learn how each other does business. In the process it is a chance for personnel to build relationships with counterparts on other ships. All STANAVFORMED ships participate in cross-polling. Ships are encouraged to exchange personnel of all ranks. The exchanges are normally of personnel with equal qualifications. Non-matching exchanges are common between ships as long as they can be accommodated.
STANAVFORMED is part of NATO's immediate reaction forces. It is made up of vessels from various Allied Nations training and operating together as a collective whole. During the past five years it has participated in all NATO's maritime activities in support of the embargo against the former Yugoslavia. In particular, from June 1993 STANAVFORMED participated in operation Sharp Guard in the Adriatic Sea until it was completed on 19 June 96 after the embargo had been either terminated or suspended.
STANAVFORMED was integrated from July 21, 1993, into a Combined Task Force together with the ships of STANAVFORLANT and the Western European Union Naval Force (WEUCONMARFOR), conducting Operation "Sharp Guard" in the Adriatic Sea. Together they monitored and enforced compliance, with United Nations Security Council resolutions that prevented unauthorized shipping from entering territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and all arms from entering former Yugoslavia.
NATO's Mediterranean Standing Naval Force (STANAVFORMED) visited ALBANIA for the first time on 8-10 July 1998 when four of her units will be in the port of Durres. At that time, STANAVFORMED was comprised of ITS Espero (Italy), SPS Canarias (Spain), HS Macedonia (Greece), and TCG Karedeniz (Turkey) which visited Durres, and of FGS Rheiland Pfalz (Germany), HNLMS Van Speigk (the Netherlands), HMS Cardiff (United Kingdom) and USS Kauffman (United States), which at the same time visited the Italian port of Bari. The visit of STANAVFORMED was part of the NATO effort to promote security and stability in the region and allowed the NATO force to know and get known in this important port at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. It was approved at the NATO Ministerial meeting held 28 May 1998 among the initiatives taken by NATO to enhance and supplement PfP activities in both Albania and FYROM.
In February 1999 STANAVFORMED was on station in the Adriatic Sea in response to the developing situation in the Kosovo region of Yugoslavia. This presence was critical to the accomplishment of STANAVFORMED's mission as an immediate reaction force for NATO.
NATO ships visited Nouakchott, Mauritania on 2 - 5 April 2001 when two units from NATO's Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) moored at the port of L'Amitie, Nouakchott. The visit, which was the first in Mauritania by STANAVFORMED, allowed the NATO Force to foster dialogue, co-operation and mutual understanding as part of NATO's ongoing "Mediterranean Dialogue" Programme. The Commander of the Force, Rear Admiral Gino Bizzari, ITN, exchanged calls with local civil and military authorities.
NATO ships visited Casablanca, Morocco, 12 - 15 April 2001 when seven units from NATO's Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) moored at the port of Casablanca, Morocco. The visit allowed the NATO force to foster dialogue co-operation and mutual understanding as part of NATO's ongoing "Mediterranean Dialogue" Programme. The Commander of the Force, Rear Admiral Gino Bizzari, ITN, exchanged calls with local civil and military authorities. Crews of the ships took the opportunity to exchange professional experiences gained during recent training. A program of briefings and ship tours for Moroccan and local embassy officials was arranged and involved Moroccan Navy Officers, Defence Attaches accredited to Rabat, Embassy staffs and local schools. A cultural program allowed the crews to visit some of the highlights of the city of Casablanca and the surrounding area.
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