EU-NATO Cooperation in Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA): Advancements and Limitations

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The intensity, proliferation, and dispersion of maritime activities and actors during the 2000s and 2010s increased the pertinence and difficulty of Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA). The EU and NATO acknowledged the challenge, and steeped their efforts in advancing MSA. They did it individually and in cooperation with each other. Through extensive review of policy and technical documentation this article analyzes how the EU and NATO engage in MSA, the extent of their cooperation, and the limitations of their interinstitutional cooperation in the field of MSA.
This article argues that the EU and NATO developed doctrines, structures, and mechanisms in the four key elements of the MSA process: surveillance and data collection, data fusion and knowledge development, coordination and knowledge dissemination, and management and improvement of MSA structures. Collectively the organizations advanced in mutual information sharing, consultation, and building of capacities and capabilities. They developed formal, ad hoc, and sectoral formal structures to this end. Nonetheless the most relevant mechanism for the advancement of MSA within EU-NATO relations after the Warsaw Summit of 2016 were informal, but sanctioned, regular staff-to-staff exchanges in the several areas linked with MSA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34
Number of pages1
JournalMaritime Interdiction Operations Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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