NAPLES, Italy (NNS) — In the second edition of the podcast “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters,” Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, discusses Dynamic Force Employment, NATO’s largest exercise, and recent efforts to enhance security and stability throughout Europe and Africa.
Following the initial podcast, this episode focuses on Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG) return to Europe, how the U.S. Navy and NATO are addressing challenges in Europe, and the upcoming NATO exercise, Trident Juncture 2018. He also discusses the 23rd International Seapower Symposium and the Black Sea Conference.
Harry S. Truman CSG returns to Europe
In the opening segment, Foggo started the discussion emphasizing the security situation in which our naval forces are operating within saying that, “From our perspective, the security environment has changed dramatically over the last few years.”
As the security environment changes, the U.S. Navy is also adjusting to the changing environment. As the Navy addresses these changes, one thing remains the same, presence. “It’s really our presence that reassures our allies and partners that we’re here for them, and that we’ll be here when and where it really matters.”
During the segment, Foggo pointed out maritime forces are able to adapt and project power. “As security situations change, our naval forces are much better postured to deal with and defend and maintain stability and security. And if necessary, defeat any threat.”
Harry S. Truman CSG is one of the naval forces that Foggo mentioned as the carrier returned to the European theater. The strike group returned Sept. 16, 2018.
“A great example, the Harry S. Truman Strike Group’s return to the European theater. I couldn’t be happier about that,” said Foggo. “The aircraft carrier and its air wing, a guided missile cruiser and guided missile destroyers, are operating in the North Atlantic. It really showcases the flexibility of the United States Navy to operate where and when it needs to be in support of our allies and partners in the theater, as well as in support of our United States national security interests.”
Addressing challenges throughout Europe and Beyond
Foggo explained how the U.S. Navy and NATO are addressing regional challenges stemming from a more aggressive Russian military, and how exercises are meant to improve interoperability between our allies.
“Russia has renewed its capabilities in the North Atlantic and the Arctic in places not seen since the Cold War” said Foggo. “And I remain concerned about the potential for miscalculation.”
However, he is confident that NATO and the U.S. Navy is up to the task. “The United States and NATO forces are pretty capable and postured force, ready to deter if necessary, and defeat any aggression that we face. The NATO alliance’s purpose is to do just that. To deter first, and defend and defeat if necessary, second.”
Foggo illustrated what it would look like when answering the call to an Article 5 being invoked by NATO. Article 5 is “to assist our allies in the restoration of sovereignty through defense and deterrence. NATO’s actions have been and will be defensive, transparent and proportionate to the threat,” said Foggo.
Exercise Trident Juncture 2018
This segued into the upcoming exercise Trident Juncture 2018, which is NATO’s largest exercise in two decades with more than 30 ally and partner nations participating.
“Trident Juncture 18 is going to test our ability to plan and conduct a major collective defense operation. Thirty allies and partner nations providing 40,000 troops, and all the equipment that goes along with that. There is 70 ships, 120 aircraft, 10,000 vehicles involved in this,” said Foggo. “And those numbers are growing every day.”
Trident Juncture is designed to ensure that NATO forces and partners are trained, able to operate together, and ready to respond to any threat from any direction. NATO allies and partners routinely conduct exercises to test tactics and procedures, develop best practices and identify areas for improvement.
“Trident Juncture 18 is a valuable platform for us to work with partners and exchange best practices and work together as an alliance to address crises.” said Foggo. “Collective defense has become a more prominent feature of NATO exercises due to the changes in the security landscape, particularly with regard to the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.”
This year’s exercise will be hosted by Norway and will focus on answering the call for help by a NATO ally during a simulated Article 5 scenario. In addition the exercise will include the use of Swedish and Finnish participation and airspace.
Security, order and prosperity
In the next segment of the podcast, Foggo talked about the International Seapower Symposium.
“The conference brought together more than 100 nations and 95 heads of service. We discussed maritime strategy, ways to innovate, the best use of limited resources, amongst a host of other topics,” said Foggo. “While there I was able to meet one on one with 25 different bilateral heads of services from some of the countries in Europe and many of the countries in Africa.”
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson hosted the event in Newport, Rhode Island, from Sept. 19-21. The theme of the symposium was ‘Security, Order and Prosperity.’ The biannual conference provides naval leaders the chance to exchange experiences, lessons learned and ideas.
“The event is really special because the symposium is a rare opportunity to have a gathering of these naval leaders, and this year the CNO programmed in a number of breaks to give us a chance to talk to our counterparts in other nations. I took full advantage of that,” he said.
We are stronger together
In the final segment, the topic was the Black Sea Conference held in Naples, where Black Sea allies and partner nations came together to discuss challenges and solutions in creating a stable and secure region in the Black Sea.
Foggo provided context about the conference. “Adm. Johnson used to do these here in Naples in 2003-2004, bringing together leadership and diplomats to have a very heavy discussion about security matters, regionally focused throughout the theater.”
Senior leaders from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States discussed shared challenges and reinvigorated their mutual commitment in the region.
“The main purpose was to bring leadership together to discuss all the challenges that we face and how we can cooperate better together and identify opportunities that lead to a more stable and secure region in the Black Sea,” said Foggo.
Foggo ended the segment by saying, “We are stronger together. And I think the Black Sea Symposium demonstrated that we can do this.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, conducts the full spectrum of joint 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.