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By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs
Naval leaders from the U.S., U.K., and French submarine forces met at U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa’s (NAVEUR-NAVAF) headquarters for the convening of the Group and Major Commanders’ Officer Training Symposium (GAMCOTS), Sept. 21-22, onboard Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy.
GAMCOTS is a leadership development seminar spanning several topics including undersea warfare programs, military operations, personnel and family readiness.
For the first time since its inception, GAMCOTS is being held overseas with allied submarine force leadership in attendance, featuring briefs from each country, an exhibition of the Undersea Warfare Decision Support System, and remarks from the key leaders in the undersea domain.
Vice Adm. William Houston, commander of U.S. Submarine Forces, spoke about the allies' focus on strategic deterrence, a pillar of the national and collective defense strategies.
"Being out here and meeting with our allied counterparts who represent one of the most critical domains of our field is a fundamental part of our Submarine Force readiness and reinforces our mutual commitment and our collective capacity," said Houston. "Our Submarine Force Sailors, and those of our partner nations, continue to provide the U.S. and our allies with an asymmetric advantage."
French Navy Vice Adm. Jacques Fayard, commander of Strategic Ocean Force (ALFOST), spoke about the importance of multinational interoperability, and how together, allied forces continue to advance project power across regional sea lanes.
“I cannot overstate the impact of understanding our peers’ capabilities, and how our teamwork impacts the undersea domain,” said Fayard. “The capabilities that our submariners collectively bring, the strategic deterrence they reinforce, and the dedication with which they serve, all serve to bring stability to one of the most dynamic regions in the world.”
Royal Navy Rear Adm. Ed Ahlgren, Commander Operations, also emphasized the critical need for allied interchangeability to exchange plans, procedures, and standard practices.
"Supporting submarine force leadership, and meeting with my colleagues from the U.S. and France has been a fantastic experience," said Ahlgren. "NATO submarine forces are at the forefront of underwater maritime domain advancements and deterrence. Our capabilities and capacity in the undersea domain are paramount to success in multi-domain operations."
With over 24,000 active-duty Sailors and 1,600 reservists serving in the submarine force, strong leadership and communication are essential. Worldwide there are 49 fast attack submarines, nine pre-commissioning units, 14 ballistic missile submarines, four guided-missile submarines and two submarine tenders.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.