Hank Ort (1957) is the Director of NATO's Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation in La Spezia, Italy. He was appointed in November 2013 after having retired recently from the Netherlands Navy (June 2013). He combines vast maritime experience gained in successive operational and administrative posts, with a genuine affinity for science and technology. He regularly participates as reviewer in the Netherlands Ministry of the Interior's Gateway Reviews.
In his last military position, RADM Hank Ort functioned as Chief of Staff of NATO's Maritime Command Northwood. At a time of profound changes in NATO's Command Structure he provided continuity and drive for nearly four years, to complete the change to one maritime headquarter at the helm of the Alliance Maritime Enterprise.
Prior to this international appointment he served for three years in the Netherlands Ministry of Defence as Principle Director Information and Organisation. In this job he was responsible for Defence Policy on information management, providing policy direction to the Netherlands Defence Telematics Organisation and advising on organisational change. With the advent of interdepartmental IT governance, he became the first Chief Information Officer (CIO) to sit on the general Defence Board and chair the Defence Information Board. In this period Hank Ort was involved in many IT related research projects as requirements authority, budget authority or as chair or member of the steering board (notably, with SACT, the Network Enabled Capabilities project).
Preceding this period in the MOD, Hank Ort commanded the Netherlands Maritime Force (NLMARFOR) with its expeditionary littoral capability. One of the highlights in this period was his command of the International Combined Task Force 150 in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Having joined the Navy in 1975, he served both in submarines and surface ships. He commanded multi purpose frigate HNLMS Van Nes (1996 - 97) and the submarines HNLMS Tonijn and HNLMS Tijgerhaai (1990 - 92). From 2002 to 2004 he commanded the Landing Platform Dock (LPD) HNLMS Rotterdam. During this period, the ship deployed successfully as the amphibious support platform for the initial deployment of the United Nations Mission to Liberia (UNMIL).
Prior to that, in 2000, he was attached to the European Union to participate in setting up the EU military structures in Brussels, where he went on to fill the post of Chief Executive Officer of the EU Military Staff.
Earlier periods in the Naval staff in The Hague included appointments as Deputy Director Plans, and as Staff Officer Submarines in the Department of Operational Requirements, dealing with submarine matters in general and sonar in particular and participating in various projects involving new technology as part of ship design. His original background as submariner gave him early affinity with and knowledge of acoustics, oceanic conditions and underwater propagation. For one year he served as Submarine Department Head and Instructor at the Operational School, teaching submarine long range sonar technology and user interface to prepare the first officers of the new Walrus Class.
Hank Ort is a graduate of the Royal Netherlands Naval College, completing a final Control Engineering module at Delft University of Technology (1980). He is a graduate of the RN Submarine Command Course in 1989 (SMCC 3/89) and the Defence Staff Course of 1992, followed by a postgraduate course Business Administration at Leiden University. He is married to Karin and they have one daughter. Apart from activities with his family, his favourite pastimes are jogging, reading, and enjoying classical music.