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Category Archives: James G. Foggo III

Dynamic Security: NAVEUR-NAVAF Blazes Trail Reflecting on Past, Preparing for Future

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley
Naval Force Europe-Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

Each day the U.S. Navy faces a fluctuating security environment in the waters that touch the European and African shores. A resurgent Russia is becoming more aggressive as it projects power in the North Atlantic and Arctic while; as of late, elevating their posture in the Black Sea. At the same time, China is bidding to advance regional influence in Africa.

Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-A) and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, has looked back 2018 and discussed operations including Trident Juncture, the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War and first ever Dynamic Force Employment (DFE) with USS Harry S. Truman; Operation Inherent Resolve, contributing to the demise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); and operations in the Arctic Circle in the context of great power competition, potential threats to the national security or to the security of U.S. allies and partners.

“We are entering an era of power competition as Russia and China continue to advance their global military capabilities in support of their national interests,” said Foggo. “Right now we maintain the military edge, and it is important for us to keep that edge. Part of maintaining that military edge is our presence, being there when it matters most.”

Simultaneously, acts of terrorism by violent extremist organizations continue to be a real threat. Joint and naval operations with ally and partner nations advance U.S. national interests in the pursuit of security and stability through Europe and Africa.

This past April, CNE-A/U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F) Sailors and Marines assisted British and French allies in responding to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria. As part of this overall joint and coalition mission, the Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) launched Tomahawk missiles from the Mediterranean Sea.

“Violent extremism; this is a real threat across the European and African theaters,” said Foggo. “We will continue dismantling networks of terrorist organizations in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.”

Naval operations in the European and African theaters have seen a steady increase in recent years.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 3, 2018) An EA-18G Growler, assigned to the “Rooks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, is the first jet to launch from the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) for Truman’s 2018 deployment May 3, 2018. As the Carrier Strike Group 8 flag ship, Truman’s support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) demonstrates the capability and flexibility of U.S. Naval Forces, and its resolve to eliminate the terrorist group ISIS and the threat it poses. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Juan Sotolongo/Released)

 

Aggressive Resurgence

With the growing manifestation of Russia in northern waters — reestablishing military bases closed since the Cold War; increased submarine operations in the North Atlantic — and their increasingly hostile and irresponsible behavior in the Black Sea, CNE/ C6F has continued to witness unsafe interceptions by Russian military forces, challenging the norms that have existed in Europe.

“It is very important that as this dynamic emerges that we learn and respond to that as a nation,” said Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, during a visit to Naval Support Activity Naples. “We are entering a maritime era. The responsibilities for naval forces — the United States Navy and navies of our allies and partners — has never been greater.”

As the Sailors assigned to the region adapt to the ever-changing challenges, they can be proud of the trails they have blazed being the first to successfully demonstrate Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ DFE concept in the C6F area of operations: agile forces that keep our adversaries guessing.

“The National Defense Strategy makes clear that we must be operationally unpredictable to our long-term strategic adversaries, while upholding our commitments to our allies and partners,” said Foggo.

Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG) deployment to the European theater was in execution of the DFE concept. The CSG’s deployment began in April and became highly unpredictable when the carrier and a few of its strike group ships remained in the Mediterranean Sea instead of transiting to the Middle East as expected. The CSG then returned to its homeport in Norfolk in July after completing three months of combat operations and cooperative exercises and engagements with NATO allies and partners in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic.

NORWEGIAN SEA (October 30, 2018) Amphibious assault vehicles, assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, disembark the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) October 30, 2018. USS New York (LPD 21) is participating in Trident Juncture 2018. Trident Juncture 18 is a NATO-led exercise designed to certify NATO response forces and develop interoperability among participating NATO and partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Lyndon Schwartz/Released)

 

During the strike group’s initial arrival to C6F, it proceeded to the Eastern Mediterranean and completed air strikes at targets in Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, contributing to the demise of ISIS. Following this, the strike group moved to the Adriatic Sea, and its air wing participated in Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018. The first time an aircraft carrier supported this exercise from the Adriatic Sea.

Returning to the European theater for the second time as part of its DFE, the strike group headed north of the Arctic Circle to conduct sustained operations, something that hadn’t occurred in decades, giving the U.S. Navy the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to adapt and operate anywhere, but also substantiate that its forces can be “strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable.”

“Russia has renewed its capabilities in the North Atlantic and the Arctic in places not seen since the Cold War, so it was imperative that the strike group operated in a region we haven’t in decades,” said Foggo.

The Harry S. Truman CSG’s DFE is a change to recent strike group deployment metrics and is just the start of what’s to come in the power competition.

“It is important to mention, while we remain unpredictable to our adversaries, the defense strategy clearly states that we will challenge them with our partners and allies,” Foggo continued. “This year’s NATO exercise Trident Juncture did just that. We proved that we can come together at a moment’s notice to defend against potential threats to our security or to the security of our allies and partners.”

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Oct. 15, 2018) A P-8A attached to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 receives fuel from a 100th Air Refueling Wing tanker Oct. 15, 2018. The Tridents are deployed to the U.S. 6th fleet area of operations in support of maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the 100th Air Refueling Wing//Released)

 

Trident Juncture was the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War, and demonstrated that NATO is ready to defend and deter across the alliance by testing its ability to conduct a major collective defense operation, from troop training at tactical level to command of large forces. The exercise included 50,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, around 250 aircraft, 70 ships and 10,000 vehicles.

Speaking to the U.S. military contribution to the exercise, Foggo said, “When you look at the contribution of those ships, those Marines, all the personnel in support, and then the personnel that are here in Europe that are Americans who were part of Trident Juncture, it’s almost 18,000 service embers, 140 aircraft, eight ships and 900 vehicles. Absolutely impressive.”

Other successes of note included the introduction of a new strategic military capability – the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 completed the first operational aerial refueling for the P-8A Poseidon; increasing the range and time on station for these aircraft to conduct patrols. The four forward-deployed guided-missile destroyers at Naval Station Rota, Spain, continued their routine patrols throughout the theater, operating in the Black Sea, the north coast of Africa, the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, and participated in key exercises in the Black Sea, Sea Breeze and Breeze.

Stronger African Partners

China established their first overseas base in the Horn of Africa country of Djibouti, near Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. military installation in Africa. China has used economic influence to advance its security interests in the region and continues to expand its reach across the continent.

“There are some indications of (China) looking for additional facilities, specifically on the eastern coast … so Djibouti happens to be the first — there will be more,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command, during a congressional hearing in March.

GULF OF GUINEA (March 26, 2018) A visit board search and seizure team from the Ghanaian special boat service secure a target vessel during exercise Obangame Express 2018, March 26. Obangame Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released)
GULF OF GUINEA (March 26, 2018) A visit board search and seizure team from the Ghanaian special boat service secure a target vessel during exercise Obangame Express 2018, March 26. Obangame Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released)

 

U.S. military forces reassured African partners by focusing on security and counterterrorism efforts. Military exercises like the “Express Series,” and open discussions such as the Africa Combined Force Maritime Component Command (CMFCC) course, a weeklong flag level course hosted by Foggo and facilitated by the Naval War College, helped to increase military proficiency and foster dialogue.

During the CMFCC course, CNE-A hosted representatives from 28 nations including 16 African nations, nine European nations, two North American nations and one South American nation.

“We are assisting our African partners so that they can enhance their maritime security, improve their defense capability, and promote stability and counter violent extremists and piracy using the tools and the infrastructure they have in their countries,” said Foggo. “Of the 55 countries in Africa, 38 are coastal countries, so the maritime domain plays a key role in the overall security and stability of the continent. We are helping African maritime nations to solve African problems — African Solutions to African Problems.”

The Express exercises — Cutlass, Obangame and Phoenix Express — are sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by CNE-A/C6F. They are designed to improve regional cooperation, Maritime Domain Awareness, information sharing between maritime operations centers, responsiveness of maritime assets, adherence to the rule of law, and counter-proliferation interdiction capabilities in order to disrupt illicit trafficking and counter piracy.

Eye to the Future

As the year comes to an end and a new one begins, CNE-A/C6F aims to maintain dynamic security in the theater by building enduring relationships in NATO and beyond, continuing DFE and demonstrating high-end interoperable warfare capabilities with allies and partners during exercises Formidable Shield, BALTOPS, and Sea Breeze.

CNE-A/C6F, headquartered in Naples, oversees and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Editor’s note: “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters,” Foggo’s official podcast is available on Sound Cloud, iTunes, Stitcher.com and Spreaker.com.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/12/21/dynamic-security-naveur-navaf-blazes-trail-reflecting-on-past-preparing-for-future/ U.S. Navy

Ally Island Stands Watch over the North Atlantic

Adm. James FoggoBy Adm. James G. Foggo III
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples

There is no NATO without the North Atlantic. Strong presence in this key region assures NATO’s collective security and Iceland is central. As I recently said in my second podcast, “On the Horizon,” the operational reality is that should conflict arise, whoever can exert control over this region can either protect or threaten all of NATO’s northern flank. Defense of the North Atlantic is thus synonymous with the sovereignty and security of the alliance.

The security of the North Atlantic has been a focal point that predates NATO’s establishment. I recently had the privilege of speaking at a commemoration ceremony honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of the Atlantic – the longest continuous battle of the Second World War. Over 2,775 merchant vessels were sunk over 68 months, totaling 14.5 million tons – that’s over 40 ships a month. It finally ended when Grand Admiral Donitz ordered his U-boats to cease all hostilities and return to base on May 4, 1945.

KEFLAVIK, Iceland (Oct. 17, 2018) A U.S. Marine assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) posts security at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland, during Exercise Trident Juncture 18. Trident Juncture training in Iceland promotes key elements of preparing Marines to conduct follow-on training in Norway in the later part of the exercise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Menelik Collins/Released)
KEFLAVIK, Iceland (Oct. 17, 2018) A U.S. Marine assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) posts security at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland, Oct. 17, 2018, during Exercise Trident Juncture 18. Trident Juncture training in Iceland promotes key elements of preparing Marines to conduct follow-on training in Norway in the later part of the exercise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Menelik Collins/Released)

 

While visiting Iceland, I also witnessed the first field exercise of Trident Juncture 2018. Trident Juncture will take place primarily in Norway, but the activities got underway early in Iceland. The main phase will begin Oct. 25, bringing together around 50,000 personnel from all 29 allies, as well as partners Finland and Sweden, and 65 ships, 120 aircraft and 10,000 vehicles. U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit kicked off Trident Juncture 2018 events in Iceland last week. The Marines from the amphibious assault ships USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) conducted a simulated air assault at the Keflavik Airport.

These events gave me the opportunity to reflect not only on the criticality of this region, but to also reflect on the importance of our allies and partners, particularly Iceland.

The Strategic Importance of the North Atlantic

When examining the Battle of Atlantic, it is clear that although adversaries and allies have changed, the strategic importance of this body of water endures. During WWII, Germany dropped leaflets over the United Kingdom proclaiming “Britain’s losing the Battle of the Atlantic means Britain’s losing the war.”

Although propaganda generally distorts the truth, the leaflets in this case were accurate, as the war effort depended heavily on supplies that were transported by sea: food for Britain, shipbuilding materiel for the U.S. and fuel and ammunition for tanks and fighters in the North Africa campaign. They wreaked havoc amongst the convoys that were a lifeline for the British population and the war industry. The seas were crucial to success or failure of the Allied effort.

The tables turned in May 1943, when the Allies began to attack and sink German U-boats with higher precision and greater regularity, severely debilitating the enemy’s control over the region. Success was only possible because of the high number of Allied ships, submarines and aircraft working together and out of necessity. These units developed new tactics and honed innovative new capabilities which ultimately strengthened the alliance. While many factors contributed to the Allies’ victory, control of the North Atlantic proved to be among the most critical factors.

Coast Guardsmen on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Spencer (WPG-36) watch the explosion of a depth charge which blasted a Nazi U-Boat's hope of breaking into the center of a large convoy, April 17, 1943. The depth charge tossed from the 327-foot cutter blew the submarine to the surface, where it was engaged by Coast Guardsmen. Ships of the convoy may be seen in the background. (Official U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)
Coast Guardsmen on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Spencer (WPG-36) watch the explosion of a depth charge which blasted a Nazi U-Boat’s hope of breaking into the center of a large convoy, April 17, 1943. The depth charge tossed from the 327-foot cutter blew the submarine to the surface, where it was engaged by Coast Guardsmen. Ships of the convoy may be seen in the background. (Official U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

 

Unsung Hero

The unsung hero in the Battle of the Atlantic was Iceland and the generosity of its citizens. Officially neutral, the Icelanders allowed American, British and Canadian servicemen and women to be stationed on their shores and to have ships, submarines and aircraft operate from Icelandic airfields and ports. Keflavik and Hvalfjordhur became important bases for anti-submarine forces.

Allied aircraft based in Iceland were critical to the campaign to protect the vital North Atlantic sea lanes of communication as they scoured the seas for U-Boats that stalked and engaged Allied assets with deadly efficiency. Ultimately, about half of all successful U-boat engagements were carried out by shore-based aircraft, many departing from Iceland.

Strategically located, Icelanders kept watch over the Atlantic. Tens of thousands of Allied servicemen were welcomed as honorary Islanders, treated with familial hospitality and after six years, the Allies prevailed.

NATO’s Three Ds

Iceland hosted the famous Reykjavik Summit, which would eventually lead to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty in 1987. Prior to the Battle of Atlantic commemoration, I had the opportunity to visit the Hofdi House. This is historic location where President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Mikhail Gorbachev met in 1986 to discuss critical topics of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and human rights. As I sat in President Reagan’s chair from 1986, I thought about how it is important for countries to discuss differences and address possible situations that could make the region, and the world, a better and safer place for everyone. Dialogue also helps to reduce the possibility of a miscalculation between countries, possibly preventing military conflict.

NORTH SEA (Oct. 12, 2018) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, observe flight operations on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)
NORTH SEA (Oct. 12, 2018) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, observe flight operations on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)

 

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the NATO alliance is about three Ds: deter, defend and dialogue. And the alliance allows our political and military leaders to participate in such dialogue with other countries from a position of strength. One example of these three Ds is the symbol of my headquarters, the Lion of Saint Mark’s from Venice; I’m very proud of that. The lion holds a sword, the sword is to defend. The lion’s paw is on the book of peace; deterrence. But you have to have dialogue, and we do.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joseph Dunford and the Commander of U.S. European Command Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti have had an ongoing dialogue with Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov. There’s been some tense moments and I think that dialogue is good to defuse and to avoid mistakes and miscalculations.

The U.S. Navy participates in annual Incidents at Sea (INCSEA) discussions with the Russian Federation Navy. We have a dialogue and it’s professional. And that’s the way it should be and we should continue that. So deter, defend and dialogue. We must not be any other way as it is critical to avoid mistakes and miscalculations that lead to military confrontation.

As we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic in Faxa Bay, Iceland, aboard the Icelandic Coast Guard Vessel Thor, we could see the Hofdi House. This was done purposely by the Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs. This provided a great historic perspective as we commemorated the longest battle of WWII, it sent the stage for Trident Juncture and the future for the NATO alliance.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (Oct. 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, delivers remarks during a commemoration ceremony for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic in Reykjavik, Iceland, aboard the Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Thor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (Oct. 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, delivers remarks during a commemoration ceremony for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic in Reykjavik, Iceland, aboard the Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Thor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)

 

Conclusion

From the Battles of the Atlantic to the Reykjavik Summit to today, Iceland is at the center of the geopolitically critical North Atlantic. Iceland is a trusted and long-time ally, and an outstanding founding member of NATO. To the Icelandic people, thank you for your hospitality to me and all the NATO soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. It was a magnificent visit and crucial to communicate we are stronger together. Takk!

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/10/22/ally-island-stands-watch-over-the-north-atlantic/ U.S. Navy

Transatlantic Brücke: Bright Future Leaders for the Bundeswehr and NATO

By Adm. James G. Foggo III
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa

“How do we engage in dialogue and deter and defend?” asked the 18-year old German midshipman. This question was asked of me during the week of August 13th, when I was invited to speak with students at the Leadership Academy in Hamburg, Führungsakademie, and midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Flensburg, Marineschule Mürwik. I was impressed by both groups – these leaders are some of the best and brightest, and I know the armed forces of the alliance will be in good hands

There is an immense tradition of military academic thought in Germany, just think of Carl von Clauswitz and Otto von Bismarck. The Bundeswehr has boldly embraced history and looks to the future. As I stood in front of the impressionable young midshipmen in Murwik, these words were on the wall behind me – Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit: Unity and Justice and Freedom. This is the opening line from the German national anthem. Our transatlantic alliance works to create this vision every day-a Europe whole, free and at peace. The midshipmen, and all members of the German Armed Forces, embrace the concept of Citizen Soldier, Innere Führung. Being a citizen comes first.

FLENSBURG, Germany (Aug. 17, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, delivers remarks to midshipmen at the German Naval Academy in Flensburg, Germany, Aug. 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)
FLENSBURG, Germany (Aug. 17, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, delivers remarks to midshipmen at the German Naval Academy in Flensburg, Germany, Aug. 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)

 

This is the power of our defensive alliance. The armed forces of our 29 allied nations train, man and equip to protect our populations. We work to protect the citizens of our homelands and the homelands of our allied sisters and brothers. This demands ethical and professional service as well as competent and compassionate leadership.

On the trip to Germany, I also made a visit to Berlin where I was delighted to meet U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell and Chief of Defense General Eberhard Zorn. It was particularly inspiring to meet with friends and key Allies next to the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall. Later that afternoon, Vice Adm. Rainer Brinkmann, Vice Adm. Hubertus von Puttkamer, Lt. Gen. Dieter Warneke, and I discussed the past, present and future. I must admit, I was envious of admirals Brinkmann and von Puttkamer’s early command experience on “Schnellboot” prying the waters of the Baltic Sea. We agreed that we can all do well to study the lessons of history to chart our way forward as a credible, defensive alliance. In particular, The Rules of the Game by Andrew Gordon discusses lessons learned during the battle of Jutland. We can learn from the approaches to tactics, strategy, and readiness even though this epic battleship battle occurred over a century ago.

BERLIN (Aug. 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, right, and retired German Adm. Hubertus von Puttkamer pose for a photo during a visit to Berlin. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)
BERLIN (Aug. 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, right, and retired German Adm. Hubertus von Puttkamer pose for a photo during a visit to Berlin. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)

 

As Sixth Fleet commander I wrote “Our Wake is the Fleet’s Path” during BALTOPS 2016. NATO had to face the real challenge of Mines in Misrata, Libya during Operation Unified Protector. As operations officer (J3) for the Joint Task Force, I had the very real challenge of neutralizing mines. Minesweeping is a cornerstone capability of NATO maritime forces: keeping the sea lines of communication open. In this key capability, German Navy contributes significantly to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups (SNMCMG). The alliance depends on keeping the seas open for commerce for all nations.

POTSDAM, Germany (Aug. 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, left, and German Army Lt. Gen. Erich Pfeffer, commander, Joint Forces Operations Command, tour the Grove of Remembrance in Potsdam, Germany, (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)
POTSDAM, Germany (Aug. 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, left, and German Army Lt. Gen. Erich Pfeffer, commander, Joint Forces Operations Command, tour the Grove of Remembrance in Potsdam, Germany, (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)

 

Lt. Gen. Erich Pfeffer walked with me through the harrowing Grove of Remembrance outside his Joint Forces Operations Command in Potsdam. This serene site memorializes the service and sacrifice of German Armed Forces in theaters of deployment, including Afghanistan and the Balkans. Since 1955, more than 3,200 civilian and military members of the Bundeswehr lost their lives in the course of their service to their country. Many of these missions were under the NATO flag.

HAMBURG, Germany (Aug. 17, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, poses for a photo with a German Navy Sea King Helicopter Crew, in Hamburg, Germany. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)
HAMBURG, Germany (Aug. 17, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Itlay, poses for a photo with a German Navy Sea King Helicopter Crew, in Hamburg, Germany. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. William Eucker/Released)

 

Overall, the trip to Germany was an inspiring one. I told the midshipmen that I may see some of them during Exercise Trident Juncture, where the Bundeswehr will deploy over 8000 soldiers, sailors and airmen to Norway with over 240 tracked vehicles and 13 transport ships. This is our message to all audiences: We are Stronger Together. #WeAreNATO Wir. Dienen. NATO.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/08/21/transatlantic-brucke-bright-future-leaders-for-the-bundeswehr-and-nato/ U.S. Navy

Faslane Fit to Fight: Great visit on the Clyde!

By Adm. James G. Foggo III
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa

This past week, I had the honor of spending time with one of our country’s top maritime allies, the Royal Navy. Our relationship with the United Kingdom and specifically the Royal Navy is built on our mutual commitment to maintaining sea control and protecting freedom of navigation for all countries. And once again, our alliance is called upon to enforce these internationally held beliefs as Russian seeks to threaten stability and maritime security in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Faslane, Scotland. Clyde is essentially the home of the U.K.’s ballistic submarine fleet and thereby has served a critical role in our strategic deterrence mission during the Cold War and beyond. Faslane, with its strategic location that includes easy access to the North Atlantic, has been supporting U.S. Navy submarine forces, as well as our surface fleet, for many decades.

Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, left, shakes hands with Royal Navy Rear Adm. John Weale, Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines and Rear Admiral Submarines, during a visit to Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde in Faslane, Scotland, Aug. 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy/Released)
Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, left, shakes hands with Royal Navy Rear Adm. John Weale, Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines and Rear Admiral Submarines, during a visit to Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde in Faslane, Scotland, Aug. 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy/Released)

 

As a submariner, it was a thrill to return and see our partner’s impressive submarine fleet. I had the opportunity to meet with various leaders, including my good friend Royal Navy Rear Adm. John Weale, who serves as Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines and Rear Admiral Submarines.  I had the chance to tour both ballistic and attack Royal Navy submarines and came away impressed not only with the UK’s submarine capabilities, but also with the dedication and skillset of Royal Navy sailors.

FASLANE, Scotland (Oct. 1, 2017) Sailors raise the brow of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) as the ship departs Faslane, Scotland, during exercise Formidable Shield (FS) 2017. FS-17 is a U.S. 6th Fleet-led, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO-conducted exercise designed to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defense environment using NATO command and control reporting structures. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amy M. Ressler/Released)
FASLANE, Scotland (Oct. 1, 2017) Sailors raise the brow of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) as the ship departs Faslane, Scotland, during exercise Formidable Shield (FS) 2017. FS-17 is a U.S. 6th Fleet-led, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO-conducted exercise designed to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defense environment using NATO command and control reporting structures. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amy M. Ressler/Released)

 

The U.K. has provided critical support to our Navy and our NATO allies during operations and exercises that have strengthened our partnership, enhanced our interoperability and maintained the freedom of the seas. As I already mentioned, Faslane’s secluded yet strategically located base allows easy access to the North Atlantic making it a critical base for supporting anti-submarine warfare in the area. This enables U.S. aircraft, surface ships, and submarines to work in concert with our Allies and partners to maintain a common defense against increased Russian submarine activity.

Notably, Faslane has supported a number of U.S. Navy warships in recent years. Since July 2017, 13 warships and numerous submarines have visited Faslane. More importantly, Naval Base Clyde is also close to the Hebrides Range, which allows it to support various high-end warfare exercises.  Building on past exercises – UK-lead Joint Warfare and the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum-led At Sea Demonstration 15 – we took Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO exercise Formidable Shield (FS) 2017 to new heights… literally and figuratively!

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) fires a standard missile 3 during exercise Formidable Shield 2017. Formidable Shield is a U.S. 6th Fleet led, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO-conducted exercise which will improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defense environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) fires a standard missile 3 during exercise Formidable Shield 2017. Formidable Shield is a U.S. 6th Fleet led, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO-conducted exercise which will improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defense environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released)

 

This past October, FS 17 was the first demonstration of NATO’s smart defense concept: ships serving as air defense units protected naval ballistic missile defense units in an integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) environment. Ships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States all participated in a live-fire IAMD scenario, defending against a subsonic anti-ship cruise missile threat. This exercise was an incredible step forward in demonstrating the NATO ballistic missile defense umbrella and highlights our shared commitment to defend our allies against the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

In a few months, we will be back in the “neighborhood” for one of our most sophisticated, largest, multi-mission, NATO exercises Trident Juncture, where we are anticipating more than 40,000 troops and over 30 NATO member and partner countries, along with 70 ships and about 130 aircraft. The purpose is to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to a threat from any direction. We couldn’t successfully execute such high-end warfare exercise without the support of the citizens of Faslane and the professionals at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde. It was truly an honor to visit Scotland, I appreciate all that Scotland does for the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy and NATO ships, submarines and aircraft.

As I’ve said before, NATO is not looking for a fight. But rest assured, we are ready to defend those ideals that we hold paramount to maritime security and regional stability. Our naval strength is as strong as our partnerships, and our partnership with the Royal Navy is ironclad; we are truly stronger together. I look forward to working with the Royal Navy as seeing the White Ensign on Royal Navy warships and submarines on the horizon is always a welcome sight.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/08/09/faslane-fit-to-fight-great-visit-on-the-clyde/ U.S. Navy

Past, Present and Future Links with Spain

By Adm. James G. Foggo III
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa

A young, tenacious immigrant and mariner from Spain arrived on our shores before we were a country. He joined the revolutionary cause as a naval officer in the South Carolina Navy and was quickly given his own ship to command. During the Siege of Charleston in 1780, a cannonball broke his arm, and he was captured. After a prisoner exchange, he volunteered to fight alongside General Washington. Ultimately, he helped the United States earn its independence. He settled in the new country and started a family. His name: Jordi Farragut, born in Minorca, Spain.

Besides giving our country selfless heroism, unwavering patriotism, and irrefutable courage, Farragut and his Scottish-Irish-American wife Elizabeth also gave us their son, who would become our first admiral and a U.S. Civil War hero: David Glasgow Farragut. And Minorca – besides giving us Jordi Farragut – gave us our base at Port Mahón for our Mediterranean Squadron (the predecessor of U.S. 6th Fleet) and a floating naval school (the predecessor of the U.S. Naval Academy).

For this reason, my trip to Minorca was to celebrate the strong historical links between our great countries. Along with my friend and Chief of the Spanish Navy, Adm. Gen. López Calderón, we attended events organized by The Legacy aimed at celebrating the naval bond between our two countries. We also hosted our friends aboard USS Donald Cook. The Legacy’s website aptly capture the spirit of this past weekend: “encourage and promote ties between the two countries based on the cherished relationship that has united us since before the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.”

I had the opportunity to personally thank the Commanding General of the Balearic Islands, as well as Adm. Gen. López Calderón for their unflinching support to the security of Europe, the collective defense of NATO and to the United States.

MINORCA, Spain (June 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, right, and the Chief of Staff of the Spanish navy Adm. Gen. López Calderón pose for a photo with USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in the background before a commemoration ceremony honoring the 150-year legacy of Adm. David Farragut. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley/Released)
MINORCA, Spain (June 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, right, and the Chief of Staff of the Spanish navy Adm. Gen. López Calderón pose for a photo with USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in the background before a commemoration ceremony honoring the 150-year legacy of Adm. David Farragut. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley/Released)

 

Our conjoined naval history began with the Farragut family and Minorca, but over the past 200 years it has continued to strengthen and expand, particularly after we became NATO allies and shared common strategic national security goals that paved the way for Spain to welcome our Sailors and ships in Rota and our service members to the Morón Air Base.

In the 1960s, Rota became an important port for our submarines. Today, Rota is the home away from home for our Sailors stationed on our four Forward-Deployed Naval Forces Europe multi-mission, Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers: USS Carney, USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, and USS Ross. Our four ships are part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach. They’re able to immediately respond to any crisis in the region and participate in exercises. I consider them among my top priorities as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

Our forces in Rota are a key element to our mutual national security and maintaining stability in the region. In 2017, USS Porter, along with USS Ross, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat airbase in Syria in response to the Assad regime’s chemical weapon attack on its own civilians, thereby degrading the regime’s ability to conduct future chemical attacks from that location. In the Spring, Rota-based ships once again played a role in a combined attack to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons, research and storage facilities.

In recognition of history, it seems appropriate USS Porter is forward deployed to Spain. The ship’s namesake, Commodore David Porter, was Adm. Farragut’s foster father. When Farragut’s mother succumbed to yellow fever when he was young, Jordi Farragut asked Porter, who was a close personal friend, to watch over his son. In fact, Adm. Farragut’s birth name was James, but he changed it to David, in honor of David Porter.

Beyond graciously hosting our ships that are part of NATO’s integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capability, Spain’s direct contributions to NATO’s IAMD are noteworthy. This past October, the Spanish frigate SPS Álvaro de Bazán (F 101) successfully fired an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile during the live-fire IAMD exercise Formidable Shield.

This was the first time NATO’s smart defense concept was demonstrated with ships serving as air defense units protecting naval ballistic missile defense units. We look forward to Spain’s participation in Formidable Shield 2019.  IAMD is another top priority.

As a Southern European NATO Ally, Spain is a particularly critical partner in another of my top priorities: the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub. It is the Alliance’s bold new initiative to connect, consult and coordinate with countries across the Middle East and North Africa. It brings together willing participants to devise holistic and collaborative approaches to monitor and assess destablizing conditions that proliferate violent extremism. I firmly believe that if we can assist in stabilizing some of these regions and give people a reason to stay in their home countries, they will not feel compelled to leave. It can help prevent future refugee crises, and avoid the significant burden mass migrations can have on the economies of Europe. This is a security priority but also a humanitarian one.

While our military-to-military relationship with Spain is strong and healthy, and our commitment to NATO is rock solid, our strongest bond is simply as people coming together around similar principles and values.

The last time I visited Spain about a month ago, I was in Valencia to thank and recognize Spanish surgeon Dr. Pedro Cavadas. Dr. Cavadas and his outstanding medical team were able to reattach one of our Sailor’s right hand that was severed during an industrial accident at sea. Given the precious amount of time lost in transporting the Sailor from the submarine to Hospital de Manises in Valencia, it required an extremely talented team to move quickly to save his hand. Today, our Sailor is expected to make a full recovery.

VALENCIA, Spain (May 4, 2018) – Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, left, shakes the hand of Dr. Pedro Cavadas, a neurosurgeon at Hospital de Manises in Valencia, Spain, after awarding him the Civilian Meritorious Service Award at the hospital. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)
VALENCIA, Spain (May 4, 2018) – Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, left, shakes the hand of Dr. Pedro Cavadas, a neurosurgeon at Hospital de Manises in Valencia, Spain, after awarding him the Civilian Meritorious Service Award at the hospital. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)

 

Of course, I also can’t pass up the opportunity to highlight a personal connection with someone who is considered a hero in Spain and to the United States: Alejandro Villanueva – a decorated war hero and a pro football player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose parents are Spanish. My son went to West Point with Alejandro, and my wife Cindy and I know his parents well.  Villanueva served three tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Ranger and paratrooper. Today, he traded the battlefield for a football field.

These are the type of stories that endure, and we must never forget the links that form the strong bond between our countries and our great navies. Our relationships are strengthened by our history, our integrations today, and the engagements we are planning for the future. The U.S. Navy has a great legacy with Spain that began with a young Minorcan mariner that helped us win our independence. I am thankful this legacy continues with heroes like the Valencian surgeon who gave one of our Sailors a chance to live a normal life. Long live Spanish-American friendship!

Editors note: This blog was published June 18, 2018, on the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet website.

 

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/06/18/past-present-and-future-links-with-spain/ parcher