Bilateral Partnership on an Even Keel - The Integration of Swedish and Dutch Forces in EU Naval Force Operation Atalanta 2015


  • David Harriman
  • Kristina Zetterlund

Publish date: 2015-09-16

Report number: FOI-R--4101--SE

Pages: 71

Written in: English


  • European Union
  • EU
  • CSDP
  • Operation Atalanta
  • the Netherlands
  • Swedish Armed Forces
  • maritime security
  • peace support operations
  • Horn of Africa
  • Somalia
  • piracy
  • Pooling och Sharing


In 2015, the Netherlands and Sweden provided a joint contribution to the EU's counter-piracy military mission EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta. During their three-month deployment to the area of operation, Swedish troops and enablers - including two Combat Boat 90 assault craft and two AW109 helicopters - were stationed on board the Dutch warship HNLMS Johan de Witt, which also hosted the Force Headquarters (FHQ) led by a Swedish Admiral. This kind of cooperation, in particular having a tactical headquarters led by one nation and the flagship led by another, was quite unique. In general, the integration was considered to have been successful - to some extent surprisingly so. This report describes and analyses the planning and execution of the fusion of Dutch and Swedish forces, identifying key lessons that may be of value in similar future collaborations. National regulations and procedures, command and control structures, preparatory training and exercises, the chosen level of integration and personal mindsets are among the issues discussed.