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Home : Press Room : Transcripts
SPEECH | July 17, 2020

On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters Episode 20: FINAL PODCAST - Change of Command

LT DIXON: Welcome to the 20th and final episode of "On the Horizon Navigating the European African Theaters." In this episode, we'll take you to the change of command ceremony for Admiral James G. Foggo III where you will hear remarks from the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Europe Commander and U.S. Africa Commander and others. And now we'll take you to the ceremony.


EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our next speaker the United States Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite.

SECRETARY KENNETH J. BRAITHWAITE, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: Any man who may be asked what they did to make their life worthwhile I think can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, “I served in the United States Navy.” Those are the words of my boyhood hero, the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A naval officer himself, highly decorated for his service in the South Pacific during the Second World War He epitomized leadership and Jamie Foggo followed in his wake. An incredible leader, I've watched Admiral Foggo over his 39 years lead from the front.

Taking care of his sailors and placing their interests first. He's an incredible mentor. I watched as a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1984, a freshman or what we like to say at the Naval Academy, a plebe, the lowest form of life. When Jamie Foggo was a First Class Midshipman in the great class of 1981. He set the example for me and my classmates of what it was to be a United States Naval Officer and he is an incredible friend. He has been my friend and my mentor for many years now. I would not be where I am today if were not for my friendship with Jamie Foggo.

Jamie has been superbly qualified to serve in this role. He had served here many times in the past. Several tours that I wasn't aware of until he toured me around the harbor last night and told me of his time here as a young Lieutenant Junior grade, and then successive tours as a Deputy Commander of 6th Fleet, as the Commander of Submarine Group 8, as the Commander of the 6th Fleet the Chief of Naval Forces Europe. Last night I asked him and his wife, Cindy, what their plans were because I was pretty sure they were going to go native and stay here. Jamie has been a consummate diplomat. In the history of the United States Navy, we as naval officers were first called to be diplomats.

The father of our Navy, who Jamie and I were talking about this morning, John Paul Jones – sorry, Air Chief Marshal -- he was the one who in command of the U.S. Ranger off the coast of France on Valentine’s Day of 1778 received the first salute from a foreign nation, the nation of the Kingdom of France. Years later, another naval officer by the name Commodore Matthew Perry opened up Japan to the world in 1854. Jamie Foggo has traveled Europe, has visited all the heads of state. I know as the former Ambassador to Norway what his efforts meant to that nation.

He is a diplomat. And although this maybe the apex and the end of his career, I am hoping and praying for the United States of America that Jamie will continue to serve and perhaps become an ambassador. Because I could think of no one better suited to serve in that role. But I've also learned in my 31 years of naval service that it takes more than the individual who is in uniform. It takes the person at their side, their wingman, their shipmate and that would be Cindy, who has been by Jamie's side for 37 years. Who has sacrificed repeatedly, who has put her life aside in his service to our country. She, ladies and gentlemen, is an incredible patriot a dedicated individual and a loving wife.

Jamie, you're a lucky man. When one chapter ends, a new chapter begins. I have known Admiral Bob Burke for several years. I did not have the good fortune to serve with him but I've come to know him by something we hold dear in the Navy called our service reputation. Bob is a leader. He has served at several levels of high command. Most recently as our Chief of Navy Personnel and as the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and my loss for him coming here is Jens Stoltenberg's and General Wolters and General Townsend's blessing. And with him comes his bride, Dr. Barbara Burke, who again is a proud Navy wife who set her career aside to help him in his and to support him.

And Barbara, the United States of America thanks you for that. It is these two people that will lead our naval forces forward and I could not be more pleased as the 77th Secretary of the Navy to be able to know that this flank is buttoned down tight. Jamie, Cindy, you have served our country well. You have gone places we've asked you to go that have not always has been as nice as Naples. And on behalf of our country, we thank you for your service and your dedication and your honor, your courage and your commitment in all that you have done to serve our sailors and our great nation. I'm a baseball fan and in the great words of a very sophisticated individual, the great Hall of Famer Yogi Berra who once said. I'm glad I served in the Navy. God Speed, Jamie. Fair Winds and Following Seas.  


EMCEE: Mrs. Cindy Foggo will now be awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award by the Honorable Braithwaite. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the presentation of the award.

EMCEE: For distinguished public service in support of the United States Navy, the Department of Defense and the nation from October 2017 through July 2020. Mrs. Foggo's extraordinary spirit and selfless dedication from October 2017 through July 2020 made a positive impact on the Navy. She was at the forefront of fostering a climate of trust in cooperation serving as (inaudible) at Naval Forces Command Naples. A devoted advocate for Navy families, she reached across the globe making an enduring contribution to over 30,000 sailors and family members. Committed to developing and strengthening relationships with the U.S. and foreign dignitaries, she led the effort of inclusion and understanding in every effort of her interaction with ambassadors, heads of navies and key leaders from around the world.

Her wisdom, tireless energy and diplomatic (inaudible) made a lasting impact. Additionally she led the information campaign to present civilian and Congressional leadership with efforts in support of the best medical care for our personnel overseas. Which became absolutely essential during the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 in Italy and the European theater. By her superior leadership, wise judgment and deep devotion to duty, Mrs. Cynthia L. Foggo reflected great credit upon herself and upheld the highest traditions of the Department of the Navy. Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite, Secretary of the Navy, June 22nd, 2020.


EMCEE: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander United States European Command General Tod D. Wolters.


GENERAL TOD D. WOLTERS, NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE AND UNITED STATES EUROPEAN COMMAND: Secretaries, Ambassadors, Chiefs of Defense, Chairmen, Fellow Flag Officers, distinguished guests, gracious, gracious Italian hosts and most importantly to all the warriors that represent JFC-Naples, United States Navy-Europe and United States Navy-Africa, it's very nice to be in your company. Let me take a second just to thank the wonderful band, our international band and our Navy band and I'd like to pay thanks our international color guard and most specifically to whoever the technical wizards are who have put together this ceremony from a live and virtual perspective. A job well done. I'd also like to extend our condolences to all who still suffer from COVID-19.

And as importantly, I'd like to thank the great nation of Italy for all that they've done to lead from the front, across the globe to teach us all how to recover from this pandemic and to prepare for a second wave. Today we have the opportunity to close the career of 39 years of a masterpiece from Admiral Jamie Foggo. And just for a second I'd like to talk on a personal level about Jamie. If you say his name about three times, the first thing you realize is has there ever been a greater name for a Sailor. He was born into the Navy. His name is Jamie Foggo III and when you take each one of those syllables and you say them over and over again. For many of us who grew up watching TV shows about ornery captains at the front of the deck working through fog and working through lightening and working through thunder. It was somebody like Jamie Foggo in the front who made it right.

He's a legend. Just as General Townsend pointed out to all of us. I'll give you one quick example of what he's done for all of us over the course of the last 36 months. Jamie Foggo was the Commander in charge of the largest European exercise that's been conducted since the end of the Cold War. And he spent the majority of his time during that exercise off the coast of Norway, but here's the impact. That Trident series exercise delivered deterrence and peace in the Barents, in the Arctic, in the center portion of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Western Mediterranean, in the European southern hub, in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Black Sea and in the Baltics and extended outside of our AOR, into Iraq and into Afghanistan.

As a NATO military leader in charge of the largest exercise, he not only deterred off the coast of Norway but he impacted the entire region. Jamie Foggo is comprehensive defense and shared deterrence in all domains, in all regions, in all functions. A miraculous performance in a masterpiece career of 39 years and the number of lives saved as a result of his command are enormous. Jamie, as great as you are there's somebody that's just a little bit better on stage today. That's your bride of 37 years and as of this point you will officially be dispatched to her control. She has administrative control, operational control and tactical control of Jamie Foggo from this point beyond.

Truth in living for the last 37 years, thank goodness for all of us. Cindy's had that control over Jamie and facilitated his success bur more importantly than all that Cindy is what you've done for the most critical command and control mode that exist in security apparatus. That's the family. You facilitated Jamie's success. You facilitated the kids’ success and you've taken care of all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines that you've ever come in contact with. And from a grateful nation and from a grateful NATO, we wish you and Jamie the calmest of seas and the bluest of skies as you press back west. Thank you for your dedicated service to freedom. Congratulations.


Like all good militaries, when you say goodbye to one commander, the next commander better be a little bit faster, a little bit smarter, a little bit stronger. If you have a good system that's what will take place. And because Admiral Bob Burke has been coached for several years by his predecessor, that's exactly what's going to take place in the transfer of control to NAVEUR, NAVAF and JFC-Naples. Bob Burke, without a doubt, is the single happiest person in all of this formation because he's just come from duty as the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. in an environment that is not near as fun as what we have here today. Seventy-eight degrees, clear skies, Naples, Italy, versus Washington, D.C. Look at the smile on Bob Burke's face and it tells it all.

Bob, Barbara, we wish you the best of luck. He is a weathered, experienced four star Admiral. He has been to what we say in the United States the rodeo and back. He knows what pressure is. He knows what risk taking is and he will continue to deliver the same peace that Admiral Foggo delivered for us. And Bob and Barbara, all we ask of the two of you is continue to do it the Burke way. It's been highly successful for the last three and a half decades and we know it will continue to bring great success in the future. Welcome aboard. Good to have you.


And finally to the warriors that represent NAVAF, NAVEUR and JFC-Naples, we can't thank you enough for focusing on the security environment. You've been through an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic but somehow, someway, you focused correctly to continue to put one foot in front of the other and we continue to have peace on this great continent. May God bless you all. May God bless all the wonderful nations of NATO. Thank you very much.


EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Commander, United States Africa Command General Stephen J. Townsend.


GENERAL STEPHEN J. TOWNSEND, COMMANDER U.S. AFRICA COMMAND: Good morning. Oh, you've got to be more awake than that. Good morning. There we go. As we are blessed with the great good fortune to have six different speakers today, I promise to be very brief. I'm just glad I'm going first. Ambassadors, Secretary Braithwaite, fellow generals and admirals, Jamie and Cindy Foggo, Bob, Barbara and the Burke family, to all of those at the out stations who are watching, dialing in from around the world to include Africa and most importantly to our neighbors from the Naples community and the men and women of Naval Forces Africa, Europe and JFC-Naples, thank you all for attending this ceremony where we pass the mantle of leadership of these three great war fighting organizations and recognize the accomplished career of service of Admiral James Foggo and his wife Cindy.

Over the last year, I've been learning from a master of maritime strategy and naval force employment. Jamie, it's been a (inaudible) education to have you and the NAVAF team teach me about the maritime domain and the employment of sea power. In our first commander's conference we sat down to talk about priorities and opportunities for global power of competition and I'm an Army officer, infantry officer with a Georgia public school education. Listening to Jamie talk about maritime domain awareness, sovereignty enforcement, unregulated fishing, the Mozambique Channel, the Straits of Sicily. Well I'll just say this, it was a pretty steep learning curve for me. Your insights have proven invaluable over the last year as we worked through our Secretary of Defense's blank slate and due process.

Your leadership of NAVAF has been steadfast and determined through a period of great transition and uncertainty. As we have reevaluated everything we do on or around the African continent, but also while dealing with a global pandemic the likes the world has not seen in 100 years. You know this because I've said it before, more than once. The smart (inaudible) taken and the lessons learned by our Italian neighbors and NAVAF directly contributed to fewer infections and better outcomes for others, further north in Europe, back in the U.S. and around the globe. Well done commander. Over 39 years have passed under the keel since you pinned on the gold bars of an ensign, and Cindy has been by your side for most of that time. Cindy, thanks for taking such good care of your sailor and family, but also for going above and beyond the call of duty all those years to help those at the unit, at the ship, at the base and out in the community as well. Let's give Cindy Foggo a round of applause.


Jamie, as you and Cindy trim your sails and adjust course for retirement. You remove your war helmet and you hang your sword over the mantle to be drawn again, God willing, only in the -- only in reminisce of great (inaudible) comrades and the presence of good spirit. I'm proud to have stood in the (inaudible) alongside you. To our newest teammate, Bob, Barbara and the Burke family, welcome back to Italy. Welcome to AFRICOM. With the experience reflected in your resume I think your preparation for this command has been thoroughly and complete as it possibly could be.

I am confident with you on the bridge setting the course, NAVAF will continue to advance U.S. interests in Africa and our sailors and families will be well led and in good hands. I can promise you one thing, you're not going to be bored. Today's a great day for our Navy, Jamie and Cindy, all of us here wish you blue skies, following seas and soft drop zones. Bob and Barbara, welcome aboard. Let's get underway. Thank you.


EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Commander of Allied Joint Force Command-Naples, Commander United States Naval Forces Europe and Commander United States Naval Forces Africa, Admiral James G. Foggo III.


ADMIRAL JAMES G. FOGGO III, COMMANDER OF JFC-NAPLES, COMMANDER U.S. NAVAL FORCES EUROPE AND AFRICA: Secretary Braithwaite, General Wolters, Air Chief Marshall Peach, General Townsend, General Harrigian and General Vollmer, General Farina, General Petrescu, General Floros, General Kolcaku, Admiral Cavo-Dragone, Admiral Prazuck, Admiral Jehan, Admiral Atallah, Admiral Rafinelli, Defense Minister Cuica, Ambassadors Eisenburg, Zuckerman, Talo, consul generals of many nations, our own Consul General Avery from Naples, Italy, fellow flag officers, ladies and gentlemen, buongiorno. Welcome to JFC-Naples. I want to thank all of you for coming today to honor Dr. Barbara Burke, Admiral Burke, Cindy Foggo, and myself. I know that you traveled long distances and it's even been more complicated with the coronavirus.

On the RSVP list today, I count at least 20 service secretaries, combatant commanders, chiefs of defense, and service chiefs. It's just incredible and you cannot know how much that means to Cindy and me. 

And what a great Naples day – perfect time for a time-honored tradition marking the change of command! I can truly say that Cindy and I have loved our time here in Bella Napoli – what a perfect capstone to our naval career that has spanned almost four decades. It has been my greatest honor to serve as Commander of Naval Forces Europe, Naval Forces Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples. It has been an incredible three years and I want to thank my teammates for such a fantastic tour.

First, on the NAVEUR/NAVAF side, I’ve served with two fantastic 6th Fleet Commanders—Admirals Chris Grady and just departed Lisa Franchetti. I said goodbye earlier this week to our Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Matt Zirkle and I’d be remiss not to mention Rear Admirals Dwyer, Tynch, Gumbleton, Houston, Kott, Baze, Lacore, Williamson, and Lindsey, who have made my job so much easier in their significant contributions to U. S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa!

On the NATO side, I’ve been blessed with two of the finest Canadian deputies ever—Lieutenant Generals Christian Juneau and Omer Lavoie right here with me today. And like my two venerable Italian Chiefs of Staff here today— Lieutenant Generals Luciano Portolano and Antonio Vittiglio who serves in that sea today. And their performance, General Vecharelli, Sir, has been nothing short of unbelievable, and I thank you for the great Italian leadership you have sent here.

My NATO Flag and General Officers from the J1 to the J9 who stand before us represent the best and brightest strategic minds of NATO.

But at the tactical level, the staffs of ALL THREE organizations, the J-Codes, N-Codes, directorates—both military and civilian shipmates—have performed nothing short of miracles for our two U.S. Combatant Commanders and the NATO Chairman of the Military Committee and the Secretary of the Navy on the DAIS here today. 

Special thanks to the entire OCOM staff, my staff from Commander Delmy Robinson and her team and protocol that put all this together. Command Sergeant Major Juergen Stark, Major (Promotable) Bill Gumabon--congratulations, Bill, Commander Johnnie Green and Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Cannes of the Italian Air Force, Sir, another great Italian officer. My Enlisted Aides, Master Chief Ferdi Garcia, back in the United States, Chief Manny Davilla who's here and CS1 Caroleeta Smith who is here today. Your incredible support has been instrumental in the achievements of our command and leading this team in the OCOM office has been my stalwart executive assistant for over three years, Captain Greg Pekari and his lovely wife Ebru who are about halfway down in the crowd there.

Thanks also to the Quartier Generale Italiano (QGI) and the Base Support Group (BSG) headed by Commander Marcello de Bonis and Colonel Antonio Galantino for their tremendous support. To Brigadier General Paolo Tarantino, I see him out there, and Colonel “Smurf” Ferramondo of the Italian Air Force, GRAZIE MILLE for your absolutely SUPERB support to both flight ops at Capo and utilization of the beautiful Air Force Academy facilities in Pozzuoli. While we were driving around last night in the commander’s barge and we went by the Air Force Academy, the Secretary of the Navy took note. Wow. What a great place to put an Air Force Academy. 

Finally to the Navy regent and Captain Todd Abrahamson who was our NSA Commander who was flying COVID samples in his spare time all over the theater and Signor Francesco Coppola of Mirabella, which is the corporation that keeps our base in Gricignano running and has done absolutely incredible things throughout the coronavirus. Thank you. The International Club headed by Carolyn Deakin who's siting back there with her husband Gary Deakin. And the MWA, I can't thank you enough for your unfailing support keeping the MWA open and the food flowing out the door and medical supplies flowing out the door. And two major food drives, a couple of tons of food to charities of the Catholic church and families in downtown Naples.

Your performance during the coronavirus pandemic was unmatched. Bravo Zulu to all of you for a job well done. We've accomplished much together and I've had the honor of being stationed in Europe as the Secretary said five times. Three times here in Bella Napoli to include Commander Submarine Group 8 and Allied Submarine South. U.S. Naval 6th Fleet Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO in Lisbon, Portugal. As you know, I am a staunch transatlanticist. Our Alliance is an enduring one. NATO has ensured 71 years of security, stability, peace in Europe. General Wolters talks about deter and defend in the Euro-Atlantic theater and shape and NATO are all about that. And we try to help them with that. 

We had the distinct honor of welcoming our 30th member, North Macedonia to the Alliance with a ceremony here at the headquarters this spring. We are truly stronger together. As I look across the audience, I see incredible men and women representing the Alliance. It has been my greatest honor to be your commander. This headquarters, you right your own history. You have put Naples back on the map in the last three years. Together we've achieved historic milestones. I've been continually impressed by your resolute commitment, innovation and steadfast adherence to the ideals of the Alliance. We have faced many challenges and crises together. Each time our team has responded militarily. This is one of the most kinetic theaters in the world. We as Americans, partnering with Allies to face four of the five challenges listed in our U.S. National Defense Strategy, Russia, China, Iran and violent extremist organizations. 

Allies launched kinetic strikes in Syria against a brutal regime violating international law by using chemical weapons against innocent civilians. We patrolled the seas from the Arctic to the Cape of Good Hope ensuring freedom of navigation so that trade can move swiftly and freely around the world. We flawlessly executed the largest exercise of the Cold War, the Article VI Collective Defense Scenario Exercise Trident Juncture. Fifty thousand Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, 70 big ships, 10,000 tracked and rolling vehicles all over the country of Norway. This included the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. The first time a U.S. carrier had operated north of the Arctic Circle in decades. Those of you that were here for Trident Juncture can attest to the fact that it wasn't easy.

We moved a tremendous amount of people, equipment, fuel, food and ammunition. Seven equivalent brigades in 30 days, and we did it during some pretty challenging weather and in some pretty remote areas. But we had a great team, that's all of you and we sent a powerful message as General Wolters gave us credit for. NATO is committed, capable--an Alliance ready to defend and deter anywhere, anytime. Our forces continue to prove that throughout the theater. We just completed Dynamic Trident, five ship surface action group with the United Kingdom up in the Barents Sea. First time that's been done in more than three decades.

And that presence is important because in the past decade, there've been some dramatic changes in this theater. Russian -- Russia has gone from participating, as exercise participants, in things like BALTOPS to demonstrating unjustifiable aggression as we saw in the Crimea and as we're now seeing with the militarization of the Arctic and the Black Sea. NATO remains committed to preserving peace and stability within its 360 degree approach. You heard SACEUR and CMC talk about that. We just had two war ships, U.S. war ships in the Black Sea, USS Porter and USS Oak Hill. We maintain a Black Sea presence for about two-thirds of the year and that's important. Our NATO Allies in the region are doing a terrific job.

Romanian Minister of Defense Nick Cuica, formerChief of General Staff and a friend of mine, Chief of Defense Daniel Petrescu of Romania are here today representing many of the Black Sea nations. Gentlemen, thank you for what you are doing. I was in awe of you and your generals during my battlefield circulation, during Naples blueprint where we all came up for a staff ride and a run through of GRP in your country. I was particularly impressed with NATO, Southeast and Multinational Division Headquarters soon to be a multinational division corps in Bucharest. We're seeing progress meanwhile in the western Balkans with our four security assistance missions. Working with institutions and Kosovo and our partners in the EU, UN, and OSCE, KFOR contributes to a safe and secure environment and helps ensure freedom of movement.

I've worked with four great Italian commanders, again, hats off to General Pacarelli, Generals Fungo, Cuoci, D’Addario and Risi who couldn't be here today. My hat’s off to Italy again for their professionalism and leadership. We've seen improvements in the Balkans as a result in public safety, epic relations and airspace normalization. We've seen great work in Headquarters Sarajevo, NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade and the Liaison Office in Skopje ultimately bringing North Macedonia into the Alliance. We've also established a NATO mission in Iraq and have brought NMI from initial operational capability to full operational capability as a training mission and part of the long standing relationship between the Alliance and Iraq.

NMI has a unique mission with both the non-combat training and capacity building focus designed to help strengthen Iraqi security forces and build military education institutions. Tremendous leaders like Canadian Generals Dany Fortin and General Jennie Carignan our first woman commander are downrange today and have led the way, and I'm very, very proud of our team there and we did -- I did my last video teleconference with them and Admiral Burke’s first yesterday. We've seen Russia and China vastly increase their activity in the Middle East and North Africa and that's why we're focused on the southern flank. Chairman of the military committee brought that up in his remarks.

We have the headquarters for NATO's Strategic Direction South, the Hub right here at JFC-Naples. We've seen quite a difference from the initial operational capability in 2017 to final operational capability and beyond. Each one of our Hub directors, again Italians General Angius, General Lax and now General R, have built upon the achievements of their predecessor, operating under the old African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ‘Nuff said!

The Hub brings people together through our webinars, study days, affiliation with think tanks and economic and military organizations on the continent. We're working with the African Union as we develop African solutions to African problems. It was right here that I met the most impressive Her Excellency Josefa Sacko from Angola, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture on the African Union Commission, one of only eight.

She asked for NATO's help with climate change, the blue economy and an African Early Warning System to take preventive action for things in the future. Disasters like the tropical cyclone which hit Mozambique hard about a year and a half ago. And we are doing just that ladies and gentlemen. Last November, we hosted delegates from the AU to include my friend Commissioner Smail Cherqui. We reinforced our relationship moving from support to cooperation, signed the first ever memorandum agreement to strengthen political and practical partnerships with the African Union. And we now have the NATO African Cooperation Project approved by the North Atlantic Council to move forward. It's not just ending there. Last fall, we hosted over a dozen FEMWISE members at this headquarters, right here in this parking lot from African Union.

The African Union started with the wise men and the wise council of Africa. They formed a committee called FEMWISE of professional women, diplomats and educators from all over Africa. They came here and we built the bridge with Claire Hutchinson, Special Representative of the Secretary General's Women in Peace and Security. Together, this bridge, just like the Transatlantic bridge, the bridge from Europe to Africa make for an incredibly, powerful combination. Through my Naval Forces Africa hat, we're working with countries in Africa to help protect their maritime domain. General Townsend has been a tremendous advocate and thank you for everything you've done, Sir.

I was in Ghana last July and working with our steadfast partners like Rear Admiral Seth Amoama and the Ghanaian -- he's the Ghanaian head of Navy and Ghana's Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul. And we couldn't ask for a better relationship. It was a special trip for me. It was a big event down there and a jubilee celebration and Admiral Amoama gave me the most humbling compliment. I don't mind telling you about it. He remarked on my commitment to the African continent and the maritime domain for over a decade. He said, “Foggo, ten years. You're one of us. What day were you born on?” I said, “Well I was born on September 2, 1959.” He said, “No, what day?” I had to look it up on Google. I said, “Wednesday, Sir.” He goes “Wednesday. Well 10 years with us, you should have an African name.” I said, “thank you very much. I'm flattered.” He goes, “Your name will be Kwaku.” I said, “Kwaku,what does that mean, Sir?” He said, “The man who was born on Wednesday.” And I wear that name with incredible pride. You don't know how that -- how much that meant to me. I took one of our Petty officers, LS1 Tasoba from the Ashanti region of Ghana, with me. 

The young man had been in the Navy, he'd only been an American citizen for about nine years and he had a rack of ribbons up to here and he was going to Bahrain to work for the Navy Seals. And it was their Defense Minister Nitiwul that told me, thank you for bringing this young American who came from the Ashanti region of Ghana. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate success stories of our people in your country like that, what a remarkable example of talent and diversity in our great Navy. And we've seen a significant difference in the maritime domain in awareness and maritime security and maritime law enforcement in Africa this past decade. Our Africa partnership station express series exercises are helping African partners build their own capabilities. Our own Chaplin Griffin who just departed the pattern spent time on the continent spearheading community relations, projects and things that are force multipliers alongside our CNE-CNA band.

Music brings us all together. We're committed to supporting our partners in the maritime domain and projecting and protecting their blue economies from threats such as illegal fishing, elicit trafficking and piracy. We've got a U.S. Coast Guard cutter coming over soon to participate in those activities in Cabo Verde. We ignore Africa at our own peril, and so this work must continue and I ask Admiral Bob Burke to do just that. We can only be successful by working together, and I started off today by telling you the men and women of Naval Forces Europe and Africa and JFC-Naples that you write your own history. And you have done so right here at JFC-Naples. My friend and author Magnus Nordenman of the Atlantic Council has a new book out.

It's actually doing very well. It's called “The New Battle for the Atlantic.” Chapter 11 is about you. It's what I've long called the Fourth Battle of the Atlantic. We must be ready for an era of increasing geostrategic competition. It will be vital for us to reaffirm our commitment to allies and partners and it makes NATO the bedrock of European and Transatlantic security. I can tell you from my role as commander, NATO Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy and commander, Naval Forces Europe and Africa, that we are definitely stronger together. Remember, for the Americans in the crowd. The only time Article V after 9/11 was when -- it was after 9/11 when our NATO allies were quick to contribute to the missions against tyranny and terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is even a 9/11 memorial at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. It has metal from the World Trade Center in that memorial. Our Allies stood firmly with us then and they continue to do so today. So to all of you, my teammates, thank you for your hard work. I'm confident you'll continue your record of success in the capable hands of my good friend Admiral Bob Burke and Bob, I know you and Barbara will be met with the same incredible hospitality and impressive camaraderie that Cindy and I have enjoyed here in Bella Napoli. Thank you all again for being here, for making the time to be a part of the greatest team in NATO and while I don't have time to thank everyone and forgive me if I left anybody out. 

Because I was told to be brief, I want to make a special thank you today to our Ombudsmen Sabrina Horacek and Michelle Middleton for the tremendous support that they have given to our Naples community. Ladies, please accept these flowers on behalf of a grateful community of Naples that you have served so well. Would you please give them a round of applause.


EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Commander Allied Joint Force Command-Naples, Commander United States Naval Forces Europe and Commander United States Naval Force Africa Admiral Robert B. Burke.



Good morning, bongiorno. Secretary Braithwaite, Air Chief Marshal Peach, General Wolters, General Townsend, esteemed ministers and ambassadors, chiefs of defense and heads of Navy, distinguished members of the Italian government, Admiral Foggo, fellow flag and general officers and last but certainly not least, to our families, friends and shipmates, thank you all for attending. I am truly privileged to be back here in Bella Napoli. A city which has hosted allied forces, initially Allied Forces Southern Europe, now Joint Force Command-Naples and the United States Navy since the end of the Second World War We are very grateful to our Italian hosts who have graciously made all of us feel at home and as part of the family for decades.

And I can't match Admiral Foggo's numbers for tours in Naples or Europe but for a United States Navy Submarine Officer, if you take Admiral Foggo out of the mix with his superb education and his strategic mind, which gets him those three tours and five over 39 years, I'm not doing too bad because generally speaking, they don't let us submariners see the light of day very much. So, two tours here. That's doing pretty good. But, as excited as I am to be back here in Italy, I'm that much more excited to have the honor and privilege of assuming the duties of Commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command as well as U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. When I was last here, the teams were facing a resurgent Russia. We were working on things like getting chemical weapons out of Syria. Now, we face a security environment that's so much more complex and it's increasingly volatile.

It's just a much more complicated environment than we've experienced in recent memory, and that environment is characterized by overt challenges. You've heard Admiral Foggo and other leaders up here talk about them. Overt challenges to the free and open international order and return of long term strategic competition between nations, to include increase in Russian and Chinese influence right here in our own backyard in both Europe and Africa. An easy approach would be let's get bigger headquarters' staffs so we can plan and work on contingencies for this, more capacity, same way of doing business but more capacity. I think what we really need here is an agile headquarters team that can punch above its weight.

Critical thinking, collaboration, synchronization and synergy between the teams, a team of teams and what I've seen here in my weeks of turnover with Admiral Foggo. That's exactly what we have and it's going to continue to take to address this dynamic environment and the threats posed by our potential adversaries. The NATO Allied Joint Force Command and U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa teams are operating together seamlessly. They know what they do is important and they like working together and I think that's a testament to Admiral Foggo's leadership. That environment that they enjoy. That confidence of knowing what is important and what's not when you don't have the capacity to do it all. That comes from a superb leader that instills us -- instills this in this team.

So Jamie, I think you've done it all during your 39 years of service. It's already been said but a leader, a scholar, diplomat, a philosopher, a warrior and on a personal note to me. You've also been a teacher, a mentor and a friend and I know that there are many others out here who would say the same. So I really do want to be like you when I grow up some day. I can't thank you enough for your thoughtful preparation and the generous gift of your time as we did the transition and the same for Cindy. The two of you are truly a power couple and I think the Navy, the nation and NATO and I would venture to say and Naples are going to miss both of you and your service.

I'd also like to take just a second to pause to acknowledge the entire teams, both staffs, the transition teams specifically but the work of the entire staffs who put together enormous amounts of transition briefs. It just went above and beyond their already taxing day jobs to walk me through the current state of play with the many, many multitudes of projects that are going on. As well as to help Barbara and I, when we were in quarantine period. So thank you all and the teams here that helped us. My final thank you here is to take a moment to say thank you to Barbara. As was already said, she's always been there for me, in and around her own busy career, having been a career Army officer and a former Navy Ombudsman at-large where she looked after U.S. Navy families.

She would tell me that I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the role of our military families. Our military families contribute so much, in so many ways to each and every one of our service members and that's the case no matter which service or which nation we're talking about. We do this so that our servicemen and women can serve selflessly the way we know that they all do each and every day. So thanks to each and every one of the spouses and family members out there. We truly appreciate your service as well. Mr. Secretary, sir, I'm sorry our paths didn't cross sooner. It's really good to have you at the home of our Navy, much needed breath of fresh air and a return to what's really important. Focus on ships, Sailors and standards, I really look forward to getting to know you more and working for you.

For the team at United States Naval Forces Europe and Africa, when I think back to the types of operations we were working when I was last year as compared to the complex and dynamic operations you put together under Admiral Foggo's watch. I'm excited for the opportunity to expand upon your proud legacy and working with you to move that legacy forward. And for the NATO team, one only has to take in the daily news to see that our NATO Alliance will be more important than ever in addressing the multitude of challenges that lie ahead.

On April 4th of 1949, the parties to North Atlantic Treaty vowed to safeguard the freedom, the common heritage and the civilizations of their peoples. Founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law to promote stability and wellbeing in the North Atlantic area, that we from the original charter, and it could not be more appropriate today. Today's threats absolutely reinforce the tenants of that original charter and validates that need for collective defense to the preservation of peace and security. Our Alliance is an enduring one. At 71 years old, it's a powerful reminder of our collective strength. Thirty nations, united in our resolve and determination and with that context in mind for the team that JFC-Naples, you can expect me to challenge you to attack our five focus areas with a renewed sense of urgency.

I'm certain that we'll face challenges ahead of us. These challenges will be even more complex than what we face today but I'm not going to lose sleep over those challenges. Not when we have this talented team of teams working those problems. We're going to continue to learn. We're going to continue to adapt and we'll continue to grow as the landscape and problem sets evolve because our team is learning organization. And because of this team, the nature of our teamwork and our collective dedication to mission, I know we're going to get it done, and our Alliance counts on us to do nothing less. It's an absolute privilege to join this team and I look forward to working with you all.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you and God bless.


EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's ceremony.

LT DIXON: To close this out I want to say on behalf of the entire U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa team. It has been an honor to host this pod cast and to offer a platform for Admiral Foggo to share the wonderful things our service members and civilians are doing throughout Europe and Africa. Admiral Foggo, we wish you and Mrs. Foggo the best of luck on your next adventure. Thank you both for your dedicated years of service and God bless.

We hope you've enjoyed the pod cast "On the Horizon, Navigating the European, African Theaters." The pod cast in full is available on Spreaker, Sound Cloud, IHeart Radio, iTunes and others. Please share the pod cast with your friends and families and don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. Thank you for joining us to hear what the U.S. Navy's doing throughout Europe and Africa. Until next time, thank you.


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