Operation Active Endeavour began on October 2001 following the invocation of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, in response to the terrorist attacks against the United States of 11 September 2001, to help detect, deter and protect against international terrorist activity.

The operation is under the overall command of Joint Forces Command (JFC), Naples, and is conducted from the Allied Maritime Component Command Naples, Italy (CC-Mar Naples) through a Task Force consisting of a balanced collection of surface units, submarines and maritime patrol aircraft deployed in the Mediterranean.