On 12 January 2016, the NCI Agency General Manager, Mr Koen Gijsbers welcomed Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) to the NCI Agency in Brussels. The visit provided opportunity to discuss current NCI Agency support to MARCOM and explore ways of improving interoperability in the Maritime Domain.
The visit started with the Signature of the 2016 Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the NCI Agency and MARCOM ensuring an agreed level of CIS support throughout the year.
The main focus of meeting was NCI Agency support to MARCOM in Operationalizing the Maritime Strategy. Vice Admiral Johnstone explained his vision for the future of MARCOM and ambition for CIS to enable greater situational awareness in conducting NATO Maritime operations. He emphasized that by improving information management he can stretch MARCOM in how it conducts exercises and interacts with Nations and the NATO Force Structure.
The Agency was keen to support Vice Admiral Johnstone and highlighted that its engagement with Nations and the NATO Force Structure is most effective if done in partnership with the Operational Community as seen by the example of Agency engagement with the Graduated Readiness Forces (Land) in partnership with Allied Land Command, Izmir.
The NCI Agency presented its perspective on future operationalization of the Maritime Strategy in the context of the current review the Standing Naval Forces and its desire to support MARCOM in the development of the 'Ships Available At Sea For NATO Tasking (SAVANT)' concept, which facilitate the seamless integrations of ships from any NATO Nation or approved Partner Nation into a NATO-led operation at any time. In terms of practical support, the Agency provided an update on AirC2 & BMD Naval Air Ops Integration and Command and Control Projects with a Maritime Focus, including support of the Maritime C2 Information System (MCCIS) until it is replaced through Project TRITON. During the Agency presentation on Infrastructure Services with Maritime Focus, there was an important discussion on how the Agency's Mission Information Room might be used to support SAVANT and solutions currently under development that might help Vice Admiral Johnstone to communicate more easily with his opposite numbers in the national Maritime Headquarters.
The visit set the foundation for a strong partnership between MARCOM and the NCI Agency with both parties agreeing to work closely together to find innovative solutions to support Vice Admiral Johnstone's vision for the future of MARCOM.