NATO's Maritime Frontier: A View from NATO's Maritime Command

January 17, 2018 - 2:00 pm

1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

NATO's Maritime Frontier:
A View from NATO's Maritime Command

VADM Clive CC Johnstone, CB CBE, Royal Navy
Allied Maritime Command

ADM Mark E. Ferguson III, USN (Ret.)
Former Commander
US Naval Forces Europe;
US Naval Forces Africa; and
Allied Joint Force Command Naples

Please join the Atlantic Council for a conversation with Vice Admiral Clive CC Johnstone, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command on "NATO’s Maritime Frontier." The event will take place on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Atlantic Council’s headquarters.

Sea power was a critical part of NATO’s deterrent posture throughout the Cold War. But after the fall of the Berlin Wall the focus on sea power and the maritime domain for deterrence and European security gave way to expeditionary capabilities aimed at asymmetric threats further abroad. Since 2007 that picture has changed in several ways: a resurgent Russian navy with new capabilities and a robust deployment program in the North Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas, and a desire to showcase these capabilities for strategic effect in exercises like ZAPAD-17. The NATO maritime challenge is also now wider and more complex, with illegal migrant trafficking, terrorist and insurgent use of sea routes, threats to merchant shipping, and transnational trafficking in arms across the maritime domain. As a result, revitalizing NATO sea power is now recognized as a priority, with Alliance efforts to improve NATO’s maritime posture and emphasize maritime command and control in the ongoing discussions about NATO command structure adaptation.

In a conversation with retired Admiral Mark Ferguson, former Commander of US Naval Forces Europe, Africa, and NATO’s JFC-Naples, Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone will provide an update on NATO’s naval operations and exercises, the evolving security environment and the return of the Russian navy, MARCOM's role in enhancing deterrence, NATO cooperation with EU missions, the range of maritime challenges across Europe, and will discuss the way forward in reconstructing Alliance sea power to respond to competition, deter aggression, and to project stability.

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevators) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 

VISITING THE COUNCILMetro and parking info 


Vice Admiral Clive CC Johnstone, CB CBE, Royal Navy is the Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command. He is NATO’s principal maritime adviser and has operational Command of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces. A graduate of Shrewsbury School, Durham University and Britannia Royal Naval College, Vice Admiral Johnstone has deployed to most points of the compass with the Royal Navy and has served as Navigator, Fighter Controller and Principal Warfare Officer in ships ranging from Minesweepers to Aircraft Carriers.  He has been engaged on operations in the North Atlantic, Caribbean, the Gulf and Indian Ocean, the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.  He also served in HM Yacht BRITANNIA during an appointment that culminated in the handover of Hong Kong. At sea, he has commanded HMS IRON DUKE (a Type 23 Frigate) and HMS BULWARK (an amphibious assault ship and the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Flagship), undertaking operations in the Northern Gulf, Horn of Africa and off Lebanon.  He was awarded a CBE for an extended Gulf Deployment and the evacuation of British Nationals out of Beirut. Ashore, he has worked in procurement, resources and operational planning.  In more senior positions he has had roles in personnel strategy and leadership of the Naval Staff (in London).  In 2008, he was selected to be Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup and then latterly General Sir David Richards.  Promoted Rear Admiral in July 2011, Clive Johnstone served as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Training) and Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) through to April 2013. He became Assistant Chief of Naval Staff in May 2013 prior to assuming Command of NATO Allied Maritime Command in October 2015. A defining theme in Flag rank has been the projection of a considered maritime voice in the National and NATO defense and security debate, linking across boundaries with partners of all forms, friends and allies.
Admiral Mark E. Ferguson III, USN (Ret.) is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as Commander, US Naval Forces Europe; Commander, US Naval Forces Africa; and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. Admiral Ferguson previously served as the 37th Vice Chief of Naval Operations from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he served as the 55th Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training & Education). He also served as Chief of Legislative Affairs and Assistant Commander for Distribution, Navy Personnel Command. Over his career, Admiral Ferguson has operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets in ships ranging from destroyers to aircraft carriers. His assignments include duty aboard USS South Carolina (CGN 37), USS Fife (DD 991) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), as well as command of USS Benfold (DDG 65) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 18. In addition to various staff assignments focused on manpower and legislative affairs, he served as a special assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe during Operation Allied Force. His flag assignments included service as the Navy’s chief of legislative affairs and chief of naval personnel. From August 2011 until July 2014, he served as the 37th vice chief of naval operations. He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and holds a master's degree in computer science from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also completed a National Security Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. He retired from active duty on July 1, 2016.