Top US Admiral Says NATO Should Rework Maritime Strategy

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, Sept. 18, 2015Russia’s stepped up naval operations and other threats mean that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should reexamine maritime strategy, the new head of the U.S. Navy said Thursday.

Addressing the top naval officers in Europe at a meeting in Venice, Italy, U.S. Navy Adm. John Richardson, who recently became Chief of Naval Operations, said Russia has demonstrated growing prowess with its ships and demonstrated a willingness to use military coercion.

Russian submarine patrols increased by more than 50% from 2013 to 2014, Adm. Richardson said, and its fleet has increased its range.

“Their operational tempo has risen to levels not seen in over a decade,” he said in his speech in Venice. “Their proficiency is increasing.”

Russia unveiled a new naval doctrine in August, which western observers argue sets the stage for a more aggressive military posture by the Kremlin. But NATO has not updated its naval strategy since 2011.

Enough has changed with the Russia threat, with migration issues, with the rise of information systems that it may be time to take another look at the NATO maritime strategy to see if it adequately describes the problem set that we have got,” Adm. Richardson said in an interview after his speech….

Adm. Richardson in the interview said there was also growing concerns about the Russian naval build-up in the eastern Mediterranean. Russia’s military build-up, he said, “may become the defining anti-access, area-denial challenge” for the U.S.

Image: Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, Sept. 18, 2015 (photo: Glenn Fawcett/Department of Defense)