By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Admiral Foggo recently sat down to discuss, in his 7th episode of the podcast “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theater. In this podcast, the Admiral discusses his time at the Munich Security Conference and his thoughts on the security environment in Europe and Africa.
Munich Security Conference
The Admiral begins the episode by talking about his participation at the Munich Security Conference in February.
“The Munich Security Conference was an important engagement to discuss today's security challenges and how we can, as a collective group -- i.e. NATO -- address these mutual challenges, both in Europe and across the globe,” Foggo said.
The Admiral noted that key to the conference was the attendance of EUCOM Commander Gen. Scaparrotti and AFRICOM Commander Gen. Waldhauser, which signaled “our unwavering commitment to the transatlantic alliance.”
“So coming together in this type of forum, we're able to emphasize the necessity of a unified response to challenges,” Foggo said. “And we highlight our actions in response to our own national security priorities and those of NATO and NATO's responses to these challenges.”
A key take-away from the conference, the Admiral said, are emerging weapons systems – including hypersonic missiles, unmanned systems and lasers - that require the focus of allied forces.
“All of these are transformational. And not just evolutionary, but disruptive technologies that we need to get into the Joint Force.,” Foggo said. “So we need to fast-track the research and development, and the delivery to the fleet.”
As expected, threats to the region posed by Russia and China also were discussed during the conference, with a specific focus on Russia’s increasing aggression. As an example, Foggo noted Russia’s demands that ships give 45 days’ advance notice of intent to transit the Northwest Passage in the Arctic Ocean.
“That's just not in accordance with innocent passage in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he said. “So from the arctic, the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, Russian rhetoric and actions are more provocative than ever.”
NATO presence in the Black Sea also continues to be an operational priority, the Admiral said, to maintain a secure maritime environment to protect sea lines of communication and commerce. As part of this strategy, the USS Donald Cook recently steamed into the Black Sea on two occasions: once for an exercise with Turkish allies and again for a visit to Odesa, Ukraine.
“The Black Sea is an international waterway, access through which is governed by international law including the Montreux Convention,” Foggo said. “And the country of Turkey does an excellent job of regulating traffic through the Straits of the Bosporus in and out of the Black Sea.”
The potential for a reinvigorated arms race continues to be a concern for the region with Russia’s violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, the Admiral said.
“Regrettably the INF treaty is no longer an example of such an effective arms control agreement due to Russia's ongoing material breach,” Foggo said. “Our NATO allies understand that INF is an important component to European security. The U.S. government and our NATO allies are working to bring Russia back into compliance before the end of a six-month grace period.”
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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.
Listen to "Episode 7 On The Horizon" on Spreaker.