FY 2013 Copernicus Awards

R 101356Z SEP 13




RMKS/1. The Copernicus Award was established to recognize individual contributions to naval warfare in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), information systems, and information warfare. The award is sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).

2. Award criteria and eligibility. Fiscal year 2013 nominees must have made a specific, demonstrable contribution to the advancement of C4I, information systems, or Information Warfare. Contributions can be technical in nature, but may also originate from doctrinal, financial, organizational, or other dimensions of information systems. The contribution should involve exceptional initiative, leadership and insight within the nominee’s area of expertise. All Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Civil Service personnel are eligible for nomination. Up to 30 awardees will be selected. Each nominating command is limited to two nominees. No contractor or team (more than one person) nominations will be accepted. Nominations must be unclassified.

3. Nominations and presentation. The awardees will be selected through nominations from Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (including Joint/NATO) commands, afloat and ashore. Nominations must be on letterhead and submitted by scan/email (preferred), mail, or fax. Nominations for commanding officers or officers in charge must be signed by their immediate superior in command. Flag endorsements and letters of recommendation are neither required nor desired. The nomination template and additional nomination package information, as well as the most up-to-date POC information, can be found at http://www.AFCEA.org/awards/CopernicusNominations.asp. Nominations are due to the POC no later than 1 November 2013. Late nominations will not be considered. AFCEA/USNI will make final selections and OPNAV (N2N6) will announce the awardees via NAVADMIN. The annual Copernicus Awards ceremony will be held at the AFCEA/USNI West Conference in San Diego, CA and an East Coast Conference, location TBD and announced SEPCOR.

4. Point of contact is CDR Kevin Wagner, OPNAV N2N6C11, at (703) 604-6127, DSN 664-6127 or via email at, kevin.h.wagner(at)navy.mil.

5. Released by Vice Admiral Ted N. Branch, OPNAV N2N6.//

STRIKEFORNATO staff consider using HMS Bulwark as alternative command platform

STRIKFORNATO is the Alliance’s primary battle staff for integrating US maritime forces into NATO operations and replaced the old STRIKFORSOUTH (est. 1952) in 2004. The current command platform is the US Navy Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20). Utilizing HMS Bulwark (L15) as an alternative command platform would ensure operational flexibility for NATO’s maritime operations.

NATO staff take tour of HMS Bulwark

The Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO (STRIKFORNATO), Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe USN, has paid a visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark. VAdm Pandolfe took the opportunity to visit the ship while she was alongside in Lisbon as part of a multi-national exercised called Cougar 13.

The Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO, Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe USN, has paid a visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark. Pictured: (L-R) Captain Burns HMS Bulwark Commanding Officer, RAdm Lowe Royal Navy (RN), VAdm Pandolfe United States Navy and Commodore McAlpine Commander United Kingdom Task Group. Photo by L(Phot) Arron Hoare

The aim of the visit was to evaluate the use of HMS Bulwark as a future Alternative Command Platform (ACP) to the current platform of choice – the USS Mount Whitney.

STRIKFORNATO is NATO’s premier Maritime Battlestaff and the Alliance’s primary link for integrating US Maritime Forces into NATO operations.

Managed by a Memorandum of Understanding comprising 11 nations, STRIKFORNATO is a rapidly deployable, maritime headquarters that provides command and control across the full spectrum of security tasking.

As part of on going contingency planning, the staff of STRIKFORNATO are visiting as many potential ACPs as they can when the opportunity arises.

HMS Bulwark is deployed for four months on Cougar 13 as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) along with three other warships – HMS Illustrious, HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose.

The Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO, Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe USN, has paid a visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark. Pictured: HMS Bulwark leaving Plymouth. Photo by LA(Phot) Ben Shread

Captain Andrew Burns Royal Navy, Commanding Officer HMS Bulwark said:

“One of the main roles of the Fleet Flagship is command and control due to HMS Bulwark’s advanced communications suite and capacity to accommodate large numbers of personnel.

“It is therefore a privilege and delight to show the STRIKFORNATO team our facilities because it helps both of us prepare for potential contingent operations where we could be working together.”

STRIKFORNATO and the RFTG were involved in NATO Operation Unified Protector in 2011, protecting Libyan civilians from attack, and threat of attack from pro-Colonel Gadaffi supporters.

The Cougar 13 deployment will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Gulf, and Horn of Africa.

It involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world.

The Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO, Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe USN, has paid a visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark. Pictured: members of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO are shown around HMS Bulwark by the Ship’s Company. Photo by L(Phot) Arron Hoare


Map of most dangerous areas in the world due to pirate attacks

Map by Control Risks.

PHOTEX: Maersk McKinney-Møller taken from HNLMS Van Speijk

HNLMS Van Speijk hails Maersk McKinney Moller, the largest ship presently operating in the world.

Turkish Navy eyes Navantia’s F100 class frigates

Spain’s Navantia-built F100-class frigate is the base platform for the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate and the Australian Hobart-class destroyer.

Now it seems the Turkish Navy is interested… which would be in addition to its existing plans for 6 new TF2000-class frigates and 12 new Milgem-class corvettes.

Navantia’s F-100 Class Frigate Sparks Turkish Interest

Spanish shipbuilding company Navantia and the Spanish Navy have displayed the capabilities of the shipbuilding company as a designer and builder of the technologically advanced F-100 class frigates in Istanbul. The F-103 frigate “Blas de Lezo” arrived in the Turkish city on the 25th of July 2013.

The F-103 is leading the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) from June to October 2013. Members of both the Turkish Under Secretariat for Defense Industry (SSM) and the Turkish Army showed their interest in the F-100 frigates during the technical visit they had previously realized.

The admiral leading the SNMG-2, Eugenio Díaz del Río, welcomed the Turkish delegation headed by the Head of Naval Platforms of SSM, Mustafa Seker. The Spanish Defense Attaché Colonel Julián de Pablo, the Commercial Vice President of Navantia Gonzalo Mateo, the Turkish Branch Office of Navantia General Manager Jorge García Monedero and some representatives from Lockheed Martin were also present during the visit.

The five F-100 class frigates built by Navantia for the Spanish Navy are multipurpose ships equipped with the AEGIS combat system. The F-100 class frigates are capable to lead and operate a multinational maritime force as it is the SNMG-2. This operative is formed by ships of several NATO member countries and it participates in the Ocean Shield operations against piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Active Endeavour operation against terrorism in the Mediterranean.

”We would like to thank the Spanish Navy and specially the crew of the F-103 frigate the extraordinary collaboration offered during the visit”, Navantia said in a release.


Royal Navy stretched too thin, unable to meet NATO commitments

The Royal Navy has made not contribution to STANAVFORLANT since 2009 and no contribution to STANAVFORMED since 2010.

The RN is stretched too thin. It’s as simple as that. It can’t do what it’s expected to do without at least a half-dozen more destroyers, frigates and OPVs.

Royal Navy pulls out of Nato commitments

The Royal Navys Albion Class assault ship HMS Bulwark, which entered service in 2004. Picture: AFP/Getty

DEFENCE ministers have admitted the UK has been forced to pull out of key Nato naval defence groups in a sign of just how stretched the Royal Navy has become.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has acknowledged it has not provided a frigate or destroyer for Nato’s maritime group defending the North and East Atlantic since 2009.

Written answers also reveal the Royal Navy stopped providing either of the ships for Nato’s second standing maritime group in the Mediterranean since 2010.

And they show that having previously supported three of four minesweeper groups, it now provides just one minesweeper.

The revelations come just days after First Minister Alex Salmond was accused of talking down the navy, for arguing that its priorities are wrong.

In his speech last week, Mr Salmond said: “At present, what we have, we don’t need. And what we need, we don’t have.

“The navy does not have a single major surface vessel based in Scotland. It is absurd for a nation with a coastline longer than India’s to have no major surface vessels.”

The SNP said the MoD’s written answers showed the First Minister’s comments were justified and described the revelations as “shocking”.

Angus Robertson, SNP Westminster leader and defence spokesman, said: “These answers are truly shocking. The fact the Royal Navy has not provided a single vessel to the Nato maritime group responsible for the East Atlantic since 2009 is beyond belief.

“This lays bare the over-stretch of the Royal Navy and the past UK government’s over-riding concerns about projecting power instead of being good neighbourhood Nato partners.

“We expect that an independent Scotland in Nato would participate the same way our close friends do.”

Speaking about the groups, Nato Allied Maritime Command’s deputy commander, French Vice-Admiral Christian Canova, recently said: “They are not just a symbol but a real force doing real operations. Standing naval forces are the cornerstone of Nato’s maritime strategy, demonstrating the will and presence of the alliance”.

But the MoD said the changes to the UK’s commitment were agreed as a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review three years ago.

A spokesman last night said: “The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review removed the Royal Navy’s requirement to provide a standing contribution to the standing Nato maritime group 1.

“But, as already stated, the Royal Navy maintains a strong relationship with Nato through the Nato maritime headquarters, based in the UK, which is permanently commanded by a Royal Navy vice-admiral.”

A senior source close to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the SNP was “not being straight” with voters and under the party’s plans Scotland would only have a small navy.

The source said: “The SNP seem to forget under their plans they would only be able to afford 1.6 destroyers or frigates, half an Astute submarine and one sixth of an aircraft carrier.

“The Scottish Government’s defence budget wouldn’t allow Scotland to mount maritime tasks in the Atlantic as well as protect Scottish interests overseas. They still lack a credible defence plan.”

Scotland would need ‘shelter’ from stronger allies in any conflict with Russia, warn academics

An independent Scotland would be “at a deep strategic disadvantage” to Russia in the conflict that is expected to emerge from climate change, according to Icelandic academics.

Scotland would need “shelter” from stronger allies, which will “incur costs different from, and not necessarily lesser than” those of contributing to UK defence, legal and political experts from the universities of Iceland and Akureyri have advised.

But small Nordic states have been living with similar risks for decades while independence would allow Scotland to pursue new tactical alliances more suited to its national interests, they argue in the Icelandic Review of Politics and Administration.

Alex Salmond last week set out his vision for defence in an independent Scotland, which he said would take account of its size and future responsibilities as climate change opens up new shipping lanes and energy sources.

The academics said: “Like all Nordic states, Scotland would be at a deep strategic disadvantage vis-a-vis the main potentially problematic actor in the region, namely Russia.

“It would have less than a 12th of the population of, and far less military strength than, its nearest neighbour – the remaining UK (rUK).

“It would also be more exposed, geopolitically, than rUK to the wider Arctic zone which is expected to witness rapid development and turbulence – if not actual conflict – because of climate change.” The added small states are “disproportionately vulnerable” to external threats.


US 6th Fleet Month in Review, July 2013

Norwegian frigate takes over as flasghip of Operation Ocean Shield

The Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HMNoS Fridtjof Nansen has joined Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa.

The Nansen is the lead ship in her class of 5 multi-role frigates, built for the Sjøforsvaret by Navantia in Ferrol, Spain. The Nansen-class replaced the old (1960s built) Oslo-class frigates and are equipped with the Aegis combat system. For counter piracy operations, the frigates are equipped with 2 RIBs and a detachment of Kystjegerkommandoen naval infantry.

Norwegian frigate leads anti-pirate operation

HMNoS Fridtjof Nansen

The Norwegian frigate “Fridtjof Nansen” is the flag ship and command center for the NATO-led anti-pirate operation Ocean Shield in the Bay of Aden and off the Horn of Africa, over the next six months.The NATO force numbers altogether 700 men, and 170 of these are stationed on the Norwegian frigate.

In addition to the Norwegian contingent, there are also personnel from Denmark, the Netherlands, the Ukraine and USA.

Ocean Shield is an operation set up to combat the threat of piracy in the Bay of Aden and the Indian ocean, an area the size of Western Europe.

Even though 850 seamen were exposed to attacks from Somalia-based pirates in 2012, it was a reduction by nearly 80 per cent from the year before, when nearly 3900 sailors came under attack, the newspaper Vårt Land reports.

Today, aropund 600 seamen are held hostage by Somali pirates.