New Commander of Submarine Forces NATO Named

Rear Admiral Matt Zirkle, United States Navy, relieved Rear Admiral Bob Kamensky, United States Navy, as Commander, Submarine Forces NATO (COMSUBNATO) and Deputy Chief of Staff, Submarines, for NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), at an informal ceremony in Northwood, UK on January 16.

During nearly two years in command, Rear Admiral Kamensky led COMSUBNATO during a major expansion of NATO submarine operations. COMSUBNATO is the Alliance’s command for all submarines assigned in support of NATO operations and exercises, including boats from both NATO and non-NATO partner nations.

As one of MARCOM’s Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Rear Admiral Kamensky also represented MARCOM at numerous key Allied and partner port visits and led several change of command ceremonies of Standing Naval Forces. He also provided leadership for the U.S. element of the MARCOM and NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA), as well as Sailors from Commander Submarine Group EIGHT Representatives based in Northwood.

COMSUBNATO, manned by about 30 officers and petty officers, with representatives from all 13 submarine operating NATO nations, is responsible for development of submarine related policies, plans, doctrine, tactics and procedures.

More importantly, COMSUBNATO is NATO’s only submarine operating authority, responsible for operational tasking and waterspace management of all assigned submarines. Additionally, COMSUBNATO serves as an “honest broker” to deconflict submarine operations within its area of responsibility.

Over the past two years, COMSUBNATO has held operational control of over 40 submarines from 6 different countries supporting Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. The command has also executed three major sumbarine intensive exercises involving 14 submarines from 10 nations.

In the past year, the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO) was consolidated to a single location in Northwood, providing cost savings and improved mission capability to global submarine search and rescue operations.

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Press release, Image: MARCOM