NEWS | Sept. 11, 2019

Baltic Military Leaders Meet in Naples to Discuss Importance of Maritime Security

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Public Affairs

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, Adm. James G. Foggo III, hosted a maritime security meeting in Naples, Italy, with Baltic Chiefs of Defense, Sept. 9-10, 2019.

“Every Baltic country has something powerful to contribute, and when they do, our unified strength is simply unmatched,” said Foggo.

The two-day conference provided a venue for Baltic Chiefs of Defense and Naval Forces Europe leaders to address challenges and security matters facing the region. Conference topics included the need for capable navies in the Baltic Sea and how secure waterways are necessary for stability and economic prosperity.

“We discussed regional challenges and opportunities,” said Foggo. “I deeply value the contributions of navies to provide stability and deterrence, particularly the capabilities that so many of our Allies can bring to the fight. Together, we create a maritime force greater than the sum of the individual navies. This particularly holds true in the Baltic Sea.”

The Baltic Chiefs of Defense included Estonian Maj. Gen. Martin Herem, Lithuanian Maj. Gen Valdemaras Rupšys, and Latvian Lt. Gen. Leonids Kalnins.

"I was very satisfied with the conference," said Lt. Gen. Leonids Kalnins, Chief of Defense for Latvia. "First, it was a great opportunity to share our understanding of the Russian effect on the Baltic region. Second, we were able to better prepare our standing defense with our allies, and discuss future collaboration exercises in the Baltic. Lastly, it's an opportunity for us to assist the Baltic States and our Navy to understand the fragile and fast changing situation in our region."

Foggo stressed the importance of strong alliance with Baltic navies. “We must remain dynamic in our capabilities while also prioritizing our resources to maintain and expand naval capabilities that remain far ahead of those who seek to disrupt stability,” said Foggo. “Continued investment in our collective naval capabilities will allow us to ensure regional security and prosperity well into the future.”

Kalnins also expressed the importance of the meeting. "I thought these two days of meetings at Allied Joint Forces Command and Naval Forces Europe spawned deeper cooperation between NATO allies. We are excited about the experience and technology the U.S. has to share with us through partnerships in the region."

U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, 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 interest and security and stability in Europe and Africa.