Leaders of the U.S. and British navies agreed on a shared vision for closer cooperation Dec. 11, the culmination of a yearlong effort that will build on a long-standing maritime partnership over the next 15 years.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and his counterpart in the United Kingdom, First Sea Lord Sir George Zambellas, signed a combined strategic narrative that articulates a shared vision for deeper cooperation between the U.S. Navy (USN) and the Royal Navy (RN).
"The United States and the United Kingdom rely on our navies to project power in critical regions and to protect the freedom of navigation that underpins the global economy," said Greenert.
The narrative, titled "Combined Seapower: A Shared Vision for Royal Navy-United States Navy Cooperation," is the culmination of a yearlong effort by a RN-USN study group formed in September 2013 to identify opportunities to enhance ties.
"The narrative provides a strategic vision to sustain and enhance cooperation between our two navies so that we can provide forward presence and be where it matters, when it matters," Greenert said.
The U.S. and U.K. navies share a common naval heritage and legacy of collaboration since the first half of the 19th century. More recently, a combined RN-USN destroyer squadron staff completed a nine-month deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility in April. Royal Navy personnel were part of a staff that served aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and supported the sea combat commander for the strike group.
RN sailors also train aboard USN aircraft carriers as the Royal Navy constructs aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the lead ship of her class. The United Kingdom currently has 15 pilots training in U.S. Navy units. The two navies also work closely on countering piracy, supporting disaster relief efforts, and fighting terrorism globally.
The narrative builds on these collaborative efforts and includes the following five features that will characterize the RN-USN partnership going forward: interoperability and mutual technology investment; combined aircraft carrier operations; force and capability planning; officer exchanges; and collaborative force management.
"This combined narrative represents a new and exciting opportunity for our two nations to build on shared national interests through the value of credible seapower," said Zambellas. "It is a powerful statement of our shared maritime ambition, it cements our maritime leadership, and it delivers an even deeper partnership between our navies, to the mutual strategic and operational advantage of both the U.K. and U.S."
The narrative represents a strong commitment by the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy to work together to achieve shared economic and security interests in the 21st century. This cooperation will ensure that the U.S. and the UK remain leaders in the increasingly important maritime domain.