Yesterday, I visited the Northwood Headquarters of NATO and EU NAVFOR near London to discuss the contribution of the “big three” multilateral naval operations in the fight against piracy to the Lessons Learned Project for the Contact Group. The Lessons Learned Project is a collaboration between Cardiff University, the EUISS, OBP and IPA tasked to capture the experience of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, to draw lessons from this experience, and ask whether the success of the Contact Group can be replicated to address other problematic situations. Further information is available here.
The meeting was very productive and there a promising prospects that NATO, EU NAVFOR and CMF will feed their experience on military coordination into the Lessons Learned Project. The way that operations are organized in the Gulf of Aden and the broader Western Indian Ocean and navies from around the world collaborate to prevent piracy is one of the most fascinating part of counter-piracy. Through mechanisms such as SHADE, the IRTC, MSCHOA, and the Mercury system international navies not only are successful in stopping piracy, but have found a unique way of military coordination making counter-piracy a truly global effort. Understanding how this cooperation works and how it could be replicated in other situations will be a major component of the Lessons Learned Project.