Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1
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SNMCMG1 is the oldest of four the NATO groups operating in the international arena. It was formed in the Belgian port of Ostend on 11 May 1973 as Standing Naval Force Channel (STANAVFORCHAN) and was under direct command of NATO's Allied Command Channel (ACCHAN). The purpose of the appointment of the standing squadron was primarily to ensure the safety of navigation and approaches to ports in the English Channel and in Belgium and the Netherlands. In the event of a conflict with the Warsaw Pact the squadron would have operated in the North Sea and Channel. Originally the squadron consisted of mine countermeasure ships of the Belgian Naval Force, German Navy, Royal Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy. Two more countries (Denmark and Norway) joined the squadron in year 2000. Subsequently, the operating area of the squadron was significantly expanded, and the name changed into Mine Countermeasures Force Northern Europe.
Defining new threats and increasing the spectrum of tasks led the team to becoming a global-scale group, which could operate in almost every corner of the world. Changes in the nature of the Group and the subsequent change of name to NATO Response Force MCM Force Northern Europe were approved at the NATO summit in Prague in 2002. In the same year the group was joined by the ships from new members of NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
The unit's name has changed twice since. In January 2005 that was: Standing NRF Mine Countermeasures Group One, and exactly one year later: Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, which is the name used currently. As the Group consists of ships of different nationalities its command rotates annually.
There are four NATO standing maritime naval Groups. Two of them - SNMG1 and 2 (Standing NATO Maritime Group One and Group Two) bring together a large surface vessels like destroyers and frigates. The other two, SNMCMG1 and 2, are composed of minehunters and minesweepers. Groups designated as "One" operate on the waters off northern Europe, and those named "Two" operate in southern Europe. All teams are now able and prepared to operate beyond their designated area.
The main mission of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 1 is: "To provide NATO with continuous Mine Countermeasures (MCM) capability for NRF and non-NRF operations and other activities in peacetime and periods of crisis and conflict".
The Group is capable of supporting anti-terrorist operations and is ready to assist in the prevention of crisis situations and conflicts at seas. Units within the group are also able to assist in Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations and non combat evacuation operations, during which civilians are evacuated from threatened areas.
As of 7 November 2019, SNMCMG1 consists of:
- "Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1)". Allied Maritime Command. Retrieved 17 March 2019.