Adm. Robert P. Burke relieved Adm. James G. Foggo III as commander of both U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) and Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC) Naples during a change of command ceremony at JFC Headquarters in Naples, Italy, July 17, 2020.
During the event, Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite, praised Foggo’s visionary leadership and steady, guiding hand through 21st century challenges including Great Power Competition (GPC) and the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“An incredible leader, I’ve watched Adm. Foggo – over his 39 years – lead from the front, taking care of his Sailors,” said Braithwaite. “He is an incredible mentor. He set the example… for what it was to be a United States naval officer.”
The SECNAV also recognized the important role Foggo played in strengthening vital relationships throughout the region.
“In the history of the U.S. Navy, we as naval officers were first called to be diplomats… Jamie Foggo has traveled Europe, he has visited all the heads of state. I know, as former Ambassador to Norway, what his efforts meant to that nation.”
Foggo strengthened the U.S. Navy-Africa partnership, increasing maritime security and combating the influence of common malign actors. He praised African nations for working together to improve their collaboration and maritime domain awareness.
“Our innovative Africa Partnership Station and the Express series exercises are helping our African partners to build their own capabilities,” said Foggo. “We are committed to supporting our partners in the maritime domain, protecting their blue economies from threats, such as illegal fishing, illicit trafficking, and piracy.”
The ceremony’s official party also included U.K. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and U.S. Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. Townsend also praised Foggo for his leadership supporting Africa.
"The Sailors of U.S. Naval Forces Africa work hard every day to ensure America is secure and her interests in Africa are advanced-by doing this, they also improve security and stability for our African partners as well," said Townsend. "NAVAF demonstrates every day the strength and value of U.S. partnerships."
"Admiral Foggo built strong and resilient relationships in Africa. His determined leadership and efforts enhanced partnerships between coastal nation maritime security and law enforcement agencies. His leadership gave many African nations more awareness and self-sufficiency. He truly made a difference.”
U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), and commander, U.S. European Command, presented Foggo with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for his exceptional service and contribution to the national security of the United States, while serving as commander of CNE-CNA and JFC Naples.
“You’ve served with great distinction for the last three years in command, just as you have throughout your outstanding career,” said Wolters. “Under your leadership, JFC Naples and NAVEUR [U.S. Naval Forces Europe] have taken readiness, deterrence, and defense to new heights. From bringing carrier operations back above the Arctic Circle, to Trident Juncture, the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War, and with ever vigilant theater anti-submarine activity, you and the men and women of this command have made entries into the history books to be highlighted for generations.”
During his three-year tenure, Foggo assumed operational responsibility for an area spanning 93 countries from the Northern Pole to the Cape of Good Hope and eastward from the mid-Atlantic to the Caspian Sea.
Under Foggo’s leadership, CNE-CNA integrated and expanded interoperability with NATO Allies and partners through some of the largest and most successful multinational exercises in modern times, including BALTOPS, Formidable Shield, and Trident Juncture.
“Our theater is the most kinetic in the world. We face four of the five challenges listed in the U.S. National Defense Strategy – China, Russia, Iran, and Violent Extremist Organizations,” said Foggo. “We must be ready for an era of increasing geostrategic competition. It will be vital for us to reaffirm our commitment to Allies and partners. NATO is the bedrock of European and transatlantic security.”
Foggo’s change of command represents the culmination of three tours in Naples and 39 years of naval service. Burke will continue the great legacy of U.S. naval and NATO leadership across Europe and Africa.
“Maritime forces are going to be key in this era of Great Power Competition,” said Burke. “They can be at the right place at the right time for the right purpose, whether providing assistance, training and exercising with allies and partners, or dissuading an adversary from making a grave miscalculation on any given day.”
Burke thanked Foggo for his enduring contributions and outlined his goals upon assuming command of CNE-CNA and JFC.
“Collaboration, synchronization, and synergy between the teams – a team of teams – is required to address this environment and the threats posed by potential adversaries,” said Burke. “They are operating seamlessly, they know what they do is important, and they like working together. And that is a testament to Admiral Foggo’s leadership.”
Burke assumed command after serving as the Navy’s 40th Vice Chief of Naval Operations. His other assignments include chief of naval personnel, and a tour in Naples as deputy commander, U.S. 6th Fleet; director of operations, CNE-CNA; and commander, Submarine Group 8.
“We will continue to learn, adapt, and grow as the landscape and problem sets evolve, because our team is a learning organization,” said Burke. “Our Alliance counts on us to do nothing less.”
In closing, Foggo thanked Sailors and leadership for their extraordinary work and urged all hands to continue to confront emerging challenges with steadfast resolve.
“To all of you, my teammates, thank you for your hard work. I am confident that you will continue your record of success in the capable hands of my good friend, Admiral Bob Burke,” said Foggo. “Thank you all again for being here, for making this the greatest team in the world.”
CNE-CNA, 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.