Personnel from the Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) have conducted a familiarisation visit to HMNB Devonport to expand their knowledge of how the Royal Navy and Royal Marines operate.
SJFHQ was established under the last Strategic Defence and Security Review and is a new deployable, operational 2* Joint Headquarters intended to command Joint Forces in response to a crises or contingency worldwide.
SJFHQ personnel come from all three Services and the purpose of the visit to HMNB Devonport was to widen the experience of SJFHQ staff from the Army and the Royal Air Force in particular, so they can better appreciate the significant contribution the Navy can play in any future operations. This will help them to plan more effectively and understand how the Royal Navy can best be utilised in SJFHQ-led Joint operations.
The team spent two days at HMNB Devonport, facilitated by various sailors and Royal Marines, where they received briefs, with a healthy dose of personal experience at their heart, from some of the Royal Navy personnel within SJFHQ. The briefs covered a range of topics, from naval intelligence to amphibious operations and from naval logistics to the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship. They toured HMS Bulwark to learn about its considerable capabilities and travelled in Offshore Raiding Craft for a coxswain demonstration from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines. After a briefing from the Flag Officer Sea Training (South) team, the SJFHQ team split into groups to visit two vessels currently undergoing FOST training and assessments. The first group travelled to HMS Duncan and watched her crew on an air assault exercise, while the second watched a damage control exercise on Norwegian frigate HNOMS Otto Sverdrup.
Captain Peter Olive RN, Assistant Chief of Staff (Operate Branch), SJFHQ said:
“Our visit was enormously valuable to the team, especially those from the Army and RAF. It has really brought the Royal Navy to life for the staff and helped them to understand more about the challenges of maritime operations, as well as the enormous benefits maritime power can provide to any future deployments.
"Everyone here at HMNB Devonport and on HMS Bulwark, HMS Duncan and HNOMS Otto Sverdrup has been extremely helpful and accommodating, so thank you to them.”
SJFHQ also has embedded staff officers from the UK’s partner nations in the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) - the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - and the Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, several of whom took part in the visit. The visit to HNOMS Otto Sverdrup therefore also provided an opportunity to see a JEF partner nation in action.
Lt Col Nick Morton RA, SJFHQ, said:
“As a Joint Headquarters, it’s essential that we all have a good understanding of the capabilities and specialisms of each of the three branches of the Armed Forces, not just our own. Visiting Devonport has really helped me to develop and embed my knowledge of the Royal Navy and the reality of how it operates.”
Photo 1: SJFHQ personnel on board HMS Bulwark
Photo 2: Lt Col James Fuller, RM, briefs SJFHQ personnel on the capabilities of HMS Bulwark
Photo 3: SJFHQ personnel ready to experience a ride on Offshore Raiding Craft, courtesy of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines