NEWS | June 13, 2019

U.S. Sixth Fleet Commander Visits Tunisian War College

By U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

This press release was edited June 15 to correct the name of the commandant of the Tunisian War College.

The U.S. 6th Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, addressed students at École supérieur de guerre, the Tunisian Superior War College, during her first trip to the country, May 27, 2019.  

Franchetti’s visit to the Tunisian War College came at the invitation of the commandant of the war college, Navy Senior Captain Zaier Imed, and marked the first visit from a U.S. flag officer. She spoke to the war college’s 23rd class, which was comprised of 85 students from Tunisia and more than a dozen partner countries. At the time of her visit, the students were in the culminating phase of the inaugural exercise “Hannibal,” a joint command-post exercise developed to test students on their ability to conduct joint planning for a simulated scenario.

During her remarks to the students, Franchetti addressed her perspective on the security environment in the maritime domain, the criticality of improving effectiveness in Joint and Combined Operations, and some thoughts on leadership.

“It is a unique opportunity for me to visit your war college, and let me first take a moment to congratulate all of you on your selection to this institution of excellence—it is truly a milestone in your career,” Franchetti said. “The leaders of the Tunisian military are in this room, and it is an honor to be here with you. I hope you are taking full advantage of this opportunity to learn and build cross-service relationships.”

Continuing on, Franchetti discussed the change in the security environment that has occurred over the past 15 years, highlighting the re-emergence of Great Power Competition globally with a specific focus in Europe and Africa. In order to counter malign influence by state and non-state actors, she said, it is essential that maritime nations are able to operate at and from the sea in order to defend national interests, counter illegal smuggling networks, ensure safety of life at sea, and ensure regional security and stability.

“I commend the Tunisian Navy for its ability to seamlessly integrate into international operations and exercises, improving regional cooperation and interoperability by conducting combined training in the Mediterranean,” said Franchetti. “In 2017, we conducted the first bi-lateral exercise between our countries since 2001, and it is my intent to continue to increase our training opportunities to further build that relationship with Tunisia as a critical Mediterranean partner.”

To close, Franchetti shared some of her thoughts on leadership, through a series of vignettes she refers to as her first principles—integrity, people, teamwork, safety, professionalism and warfighting excellence.  Honed over the course of her 34-year career, the utility of these guidelines impacts daily operations in every branch of military service across every country.

“All of us here today are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Warfighters first - it is incumbent upon us to know our ship and aircraft, know our job, and to never stop learning,” Franchetti said. “We must take pride in what we do every day—our people will look to us to set the example as professionals.”

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, 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.