The Second Establishment Conference of the future NATO Center of Excellence in the field of Geospatial, Meteorological and Oceanographic support for Alliance maritime operations was held in Lisbon, between 11-13 February 2020.
The aim of this conference was to gather Nations in place to discuss and review together essential documents forming the legal basis for the future NATO Maritime Geospatial, Meteorological & Oceanographic Centre of Excellence (MGEOMETOC COE).
Official representatives from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America attended the conference. NATO command structure was represent by Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and through its operational commands, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE) and Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM).
At the conference opening session Captain Fernando Artilheiro, the Head of the Establishment Team of the MGEOMETOC COE, welcomed all participants and highlighted the relevance of the conference and the main goals to be achieved with the close cooperation of all nations and NATO entities.
HQ SACT COE Programme Development Branch Head, Colonel Francesco Pacillo, delivered opening remarks on behalf of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), he stressed the importance of collaboration among the NATO and NATO related entities regarding benefit of the MGEOMETOC COE to NATO achieving the approval of the documents and proceeding with establishment of the COE.
Minister of National Defence, Dr. João Cravinho, opened the Second Establishment Conference of the MGEOMETOC COE, welcoming all participants, during his address and reiterated the Portuguese commitment and drive to establish this NATO Centre of Excellence, focusing on Maritime GEOMETOC capabilities, as a natural reflection of Portugal interest in maritime security, particularly but not exclusively in the Atlantic. Acknowledging this conference as a particular important stage of this process, with the actual commitment of partners to the project, he prepared the stage for a fruitful discussion and review of the COE documents.
The conference was attended by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral António Mendes Calado, the Director of Communications and Information Systems at General Staff of the Portuguese Armed Forces, Brigadier General João Campos Rocha on behalf of Chief of General Staff of the Portuguese Armed Forces, among other civil and military entities.
Spain, Romania, Turkey were the first nations to formally declare their support for the COE by offering to be Sponsoring Nations.
This center of excellence will support NATO's capacity development and maritime operations, as part of the Strategic Objective of “Increasing the Armed Forces contribution to the external action of National Defense", of the General Staff of the Portuguese Armed Forces Strategic Directive for 2018-2021.