By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
Leaders from 12 European nations met at U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) headquarters to discuss regional maritime security during the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Flag Course, co-hosted by the Naval War College (NWC) and commander, SIXTHFLT, Dec. 6-10, 2021.
Participants in the CFMCC course included flag and general officers from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, civilian leadership, and leaders from the NATO alliance, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain and The United Kingdom.
Through case studies, breakout sessions, and lectures from senior leaders and facilitators, participants were able to learn from each other and discuss solutions toward common goals in maritime security while creating and renewing partnerships.
Some of the topics covered included, The High North; Deterrence & Defense of Euro-Atlantic Area; and Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters. To complement the course, CFMCC participants received a tour of the SIXTHFLT headquarters and attended command situational briefings, enhancing their awareness of the command’s operations and how these operations advance NATO cohesion.
“CFMCC is a valuable course for maritime leaders to participate in to gain a better understanding of command in a complex maritime environment,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, SIXTHFLT. “The knowledge and expertise shared, and the relationships established and renewed this week, give these leaders a broad perspective of the power, capability and interoperability of the alliance operating collectively.”
The value of courses such as this can be seen in exercises, operations, and senior leader engagements with allied and partner nations. These courses provide for increased effectiveness and joint interoperability that shines through during premier exercises such as BALTOPS, Sea Breeze, Trident Jupiter and through routine multilateral operations throughout the theater.
“It was a great experience,” said Rear Adm. Kiril Mihaylov, Commander of the Bulgarian Navy. “The opportunity to discuss with my counterparts and my colleagues here and to hear their point of view was really a great opportunity. Being among friends and working together and having common goals is important.”
Speakers during the course included Black; U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt; U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod. D. Wolters, commander, U.S. European Command (virtually); U.S. Navy Adm. Robert P. Burke, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; Mark Shapiro, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Foreign Policy Advisor; U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Marcus Annibale, chief of staff, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO; retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. John “Fozzie” Miller; and other subject matter experts.
CFMCC is the international equivalent of the Navy’s executive level professional military education course. It develops and strengthens relationships based on trust and confidence among allied and partner nation leaders and helps to foster a unified vision for achieving collective security in a dynamic environment.
Established in 1884, NWC is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885, and about 300 of today's active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.
SIXTHFLT, 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, security and stability in Europe and Africa.