By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Admiral Foggo recently sat down to discuss, in his 5th edition of the podcast “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters and the final podcast of 2018, the Great Power Competition, China’s growing influence in Africa, and Dynamic Force Employment.
Admiral Foggo noted that Trident Juncture was the largest exercise since the end of the Cold War, and the first dynamic force deployment with USS Harry S Truman.
With the command operating in such a vast theater, Foggo said it’s crucial to provide security against a resurgent Russia and the rising influence of China in Europe and Africa.
“Last year, we conducted 70 major exercises across the European and African theater, and these are all designed to provide reassurance and deter aggression of any violent extremist organizations or any potential adversary that challenges us,” Foggo said.
Challenges in the North Atlantic and Arctic
The Admiral discusses an article he co-authored with Dr. Alarik Fritz of the Center of Naval Analysis titled “NATO and the Challenge in the North Atlantic and Arctic.” The article, published in the Whitehall Papers by the Royal United Services Institute, addresses the threats faced in this region of the world, particularly in the undersea domain, where Russia has recently renewed its capabilities.
“And it's a very complex and unforgiving undersea battle space,” Foggo said. “So not only have Russia's actions and capabilities increased in kind of alarming ways, its national security policies aimed at challenging the United States and NATO and bifurcating the alliance and our traditional partners.
“And the potential there for miscalculation can't be ignored, we're stronger together and we've got to stick together in order to push back against that aggression,” he added.
Combatting Russian Aggression
With Russia working to impede maritime transit and posing other potential threats, Foggo discusses several steps the U.S. Navy and NATO are taking as a response. NATO countries, he noted, are now spending a larger percentage of their gross domestic product on defense.
“On the U.S. side, we're in the game, too,” Foggo said. “We've reestablished the Second Fleet and we have taken on the responsibility of establishing a new Joint Force Command in Norfolk, Virginia. That's a NATO command.”
Great Power Competition and Dynamic Force Employment
In this segment, Foggo says “the National Defense Strategy makes it pretty clear that the central challenge to U.S. security is a return of great power competition, specifically with regards to a resurgent Russia and a rising China.”
The concept of Dynamic Force Employment entails unpredictable operations, such as the Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group’s surprise deployment to the AOR earlier this year that included strike missions in the Eastern Mediterranean and operations in the Adriatic to participate BALTOPS.
“They then returned to the United States for about a month,” Foggo said. “And I don't think anybody, let alone the Russians, expected that, and that kind of puts them back on their heels.”
Additionally, Foggo said, 2018 witnessed many other events in support of Dynamic Force Employment: Tomahawk missiles launched from the USS John Warner into Syria; P-8 aircraft from Sigonella operating in the C6F AOR for the first time; and forward-deployed Navy destroyers operating throughout the theater on routine and crisis action patrols.
Progress in Africa During 2018
“Our exercises and engagements helped our African partners increase their maritime security, their maritime domain awareness and the development of their navies, their coast guards and military institutions, including war colleges,” Foggo said.
These activities, he said, will continue to strengthen our partnerships in the region, particularly as the maritime role becomes more prevalent in the 21st Century.
“So I look forward to another rewarding year in 2019 thanks to the men and women of the United States Naval Forces Europe and Africa. And I am very proud of their contribution to everything that we're doing here in this theater,” the Admiral said.
“On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters” is available on: Spotify, Spreaker, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and Stitcher
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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.