By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Public Affairs
Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa (CNE-CNA), and CNE-CNA Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters held an all-hands call with Sailors and civilians at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, Sept. 18, 2019.
Foggo began by discussing recent leadership changes and his opportunities to meet with each new military leader to include the Secretary of Defense, Chief of Naval Operations, commander of U.S. Europe Command, and commander of U.S. Africa Command. Foggo elaborated on each new leader’s biography and provided their initial guidance.
“It’s important that we understand the priorities of these new leaders,” said Foggo. “The dynamic security environment, with the return to great power competition, demands the very best from each of us if we’re to remain the leading global power.”
He also mentioned new leaders at Task Force 64 and Task Force 65 before delving into command initiatives and discussing great power competition.
“We’re on the front lines of the great power competition, which is taking place across the two continents and combatant commands that we’re responsible for,” said Foggo. “To be successful, we must take care of one another and look out for each other.”
He highlighted the tremendous planning and execution of exercises like Trident Juncture, Formidable Shield, and Baltic Operations.
“There is no better message that we can send to Russia than when all 29 members of the [NATO] alliance and other partner nations come together for one common cause,” Foggo said. “The fact that all nations involved want to work with NATO showcases the resolve and strength of the alliance.”
Foggo applauded the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard operations in and around Africa, emphasizing the progress made with our partners during the Express series exercises and Africa Partnership Station (APS). He mentioned the importance of fostering these partnerships and the recent APS deployment of USNS Carson City to the Gulf of Guinea, during which Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and international partners from Spain, Portugal, and Italy worked alongside five African partner nations to conduct small boat maintenance, maritime law enforcement engagements, and medical and community relations outreach in the region.
“African nations want the U.S. to be engaged on the continent and its waterways,” he said. “This demonstrates the power of relationships and the power of U.S. naval presence and what each of you do here every day.”
Foggo concluded his remarks by reminding everyone about Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and emphasized the importance of taking care of one another.
“In my 38 years wearing the uniform – nine [of which have been] in Europe – I am hard-pressed to find a more challenging time, in terms of simultaneous challenges,” said Foggo. “At the same time, I also cannot think of time when I was fortunate enough to lead a more talented, diverse and capable group of Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians assigned to some of the most impressive naval platforms that have ever existed. We will continue to train with our allies and partners to maintain deterrence and stay ahead of tomorrow’s threats.”
He then gave the microphone to Walters, who spoke about the importance of combatting suicide and destructive behaviors.
“Everything we do depends on people, our most precious resource,” said Walters. “One of our guiding principles [in Special Operations Forces] is that humans are more important than hardware. During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, [the U.S. Navy has] a theme ‘Small Steps Saves Lives,’ which means that lending a helping hand to a shipmate is powerful enough to save a life. There are alarming statistics concerning suicides, which we need to address; destructive behavior effects everyone – our shipmates and families. We cannot complete our mission without you.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, headquartered in Naples, Italy, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.