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TRANSCRIPT: CJTF-HOA Change of Command Ceremony
<i>On March 27, 2010, Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, relieving Rear Admiral Anthony M. Kurta, who led the command since February 2009. <br /> <br />General Ward, commander of U.S. Africa
On March 27, 2010, Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, relieving Rear Admiral Anthony M. Kurta, who led the command since February 2009.

General Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, presided over the change of command ceremony and spoke positively of the successes of the past year.

"You will continue to make a difference. You have had an impact on security capacity building efforts and not just short term efforts -- an impact that will ensure like this location," said Ward.

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The complete transcript of the change of command ceremony is available below: (Music, applause.) MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Ladies and gentlemen, the ceremony will start in five minutes or less. And for the military members out there it is a covered formation. So you can uncover after the national anthems are played. That means put your hat on. (Laughter, music, applause.) Good afternoon ladies, gentlemen and distinguished guests. On behalf of the commander of the United States Africa Command, I would like to welcome you to Camp Lemonnier and today's change of command ceremony. Prior to commencing today's ceremony, I invite your attention some procedural information. First, please silence all cellular phones and pages for the duration of the ceremony. Throughout the ceremony, you will be given cues to stand and be seated at the appropriate times. U.S. military personnel should salute on the first note of the boatswain's pipe and the national anthem and order arms on the last note of the music. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, officially marking the continuity of command. It is a formal ritual conducted before the assembled command, as well as honored guests and dignitaries. The change of command ceremony is unique in the world today. It is a formal transfer of total authority, responsibility and accountability of command from one individual to another. Today, Rear Adm. Anthony M. Kurta will relinquish command to Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey. Thank you for your attendance today and we hope you enjoy the ceremony. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the arrival of the official party and remain standing for the playing of the national anthems of the Republic of Djibouti and the United States of America, followed by the invocation. MR. : Attention. MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Rear Admiral, United States Navy arriving. (Music.) Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa arriving. (Music.) United States Africa Command arriving. (Music.) Boatswain, post the sideboys. MR. : (Off mike.) MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Parade the colors. MR. : (Off mike.) (Music.) MR. : (Off mike.) MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Post the colors. MR. : (Off mike.) MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Chaplain Robert Young will now offer the invocation. ROBERT YOUNG: Let us pray. Oh Lord our God, we ask your blessing upon this day and upon Adm. Kurta and Adm. Losey as the privilege and responsibilities of command passes from one to the other. Grant to Adm. Kurta the satisfactions of an exceedingly demanding job exceptionally well done with fair winds and following seas as he departs to assume his new duties as the director of the Navy's military personnel plans and policy division. And grant to Adm. Losey the wisdom, insight and steadfastness to add fresh laurels to the illustrious foundation his predecessors have laid as commander of this combined joint task force. Enable each of us in the force to give him the loyalty and demonstrate the diligent devotion to duty necessary for it to enhance and promote peace and prosperity, security and stability, development and capacity throughout the Horn of Africa and beyond. All this we ask to the glory of your holy name. Amen. MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Thank you, Chaplain Young. Please be seated. I would like to now introduce the commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Rear Adm. Anthony M. Kurta. REAR ADM. ANTHONY KURTA: Good afternoon. I have the honor, today, of introducing our guest speaker, a frequent visitor to Djibouti and to Eastern Africa. I'm certain that nearly everyone hear today has had the pleasure of meeting Gen. Ward, the commander of the United States Africa Command. A formal introduction at a ceremony like today's usually means reading the biography of the guest speaker. However, it's in your program and you can all read it at your leisure. But more importantly to all of us here, Gen. Ward has been solely focused on African issues for several years, and personally engaged across the continent, sending the message to us all that U.S. Africa Command should be judged on our actions. And he is a man of action. And in anticipation that he might say something nice about me and Rear Adm. Losey, I would also note that he is very intelligent and perceptive. (Laughter.) So ladies and gentlemen, the commander of the United States Africa Command, Gen. Ward. (Applause.) (Applause.) GEN. WILLIAM E. WARD: Well, it is an absolute honor and privilege to be here, once again, at Camp Lemonnier here in this wonderful, wonderful country of Djibouti, our great friends. Tony, thanks for that kind introduction. And you did well, buddy, by not reading all the other background business. And you did extremely well by noting why I'm going to say what I'm going to say about you and Brian. (Laughter.) Very perceptive. I'd like to begin by acknowledging the very, very distinguished group of folk who are here. And I'll likely not get this accurate, but if you would bear with me. I know that I see my good friend Gen. Aronda, the chief of defense forces from the Ugandan's People's Defense Force. Great to see you. (Applause.) There are others of my colleagues who are here that I'd like to acknowledge. That includes Vice Adm. Bill McRaven, Vice Adm. Harry Harris, Vice Adm. Jill McGuire. And those are those folk who wear a uniform like mine that I'm most privileged to serve with. There are other distinguished members of our diplomatic corps who are here that I also would like to acknowledge. And included among them are our esteemed ambassador here in Djibouti, Ambassador Jim Swan -- great to have you here, and accompanied by your lovely bride. Also, our ambassador to the USAU mission in Addis, Ambassador Michael Battle and his lovely bride, who are here. I'd also like to acknowledge members from the teams who are here. That includes the distinguished diplomatic corps here in Djibouti. And I would acknowledge Ambassador Kamo Abdullah Ghazaz (ph), who was the dean of the diplomatic corps here in Djibouti, along with other excellencies and diplomats representing your nations here in Djibouti. Thank you for your attendance. Our friends here in Djibouti, I would like to mention. And I'm going here -- Gen. Hassan Sayeed Kare (ph), Mr. Mousa Ahmed Hassan (ph). Also, a good friend, who is here with our partner, who occupies part of this same land, who's the commander of the French forces here in Djibouti, major general -- and congratulations on your recent promotion -- Thierry Caspar Filet Amdé -- (ph). Thank you so much for the great friendship that we experience from our French friends' forces. Great to have you here, sir. (Applause.) We have other distinguished folks with us here as well -- Dr. Mishingi (ph), who is from Ethiopia, our deputy chief of mission there; Mr. and Mrs. Staal -- Thomas and Anne (sp) -- who direct our USAID mission in Ethiopia. Many thanks to you for joining us today. And because I see somebody over here beginning to sweat quite a bit -- yeah, this guy over there sweating a lot -- I'm going to not go through this list any further and just say, all protocol observed. (Laughter.) To each of you, your presence speaks volumes to the significance and the importance of the relationships that we share in this region with the partners, both nationally as well as organizationally. Our U.S. country teams, our international and U.S. partners are happy to be with you, and we thank you for your collaboration in our combined efforts in helping to bring stability to a very important part of the world through the work that we do, indeed, as partners. All of these efforts designed to support our security capacity-building that we strive to sustain with this great Combined Joint Taskforce-Horn of Africa. Now, though unable to attend today's events, I'd also like to acknowledge the families of these two admirals, who are here with me today -- both Rear Adm. Kurta's wife, Maria, who is packing up out of Italy as they prepare to move back to the United States, and also, Rear Adm. Losey's family, who are there in Hampton, Virginia, who provide steadfast support to the team there at home and to your support, as well. The sacrifices that they make and have endured allow us to do what we do, and we don't take that for granted. I should also mention that this change in command culminates the overall turnover of the headquarters that began with the rotation of the core staff in early February. Now, with Tony's support -- the support of his wife, Maria -- he was able to make a decision to extend his time on station, and we did that as a very conscious effort to ensure that this staff did not miss a beat as it assumed leadership responsibility for our engagement and our activities that we conduct here. And Tony, there is no greater sign of a commitment to peace and stability in this region than that selfless display of your professionalism. Not to speak of the fact that we know you just did not want to leave. (Laughter.) Now, as you may well imagine, I've been closely following the activities of this combined joint taskforce even before I took ownership of it. This is my fourth ceremony that I've attended here, and the work that has been done has been exceptional. It's been meaningful work. And you had a positive impact, and you will continue to make a difference. You've had an impact on security capacity-building efforts, and not just short-term efforts; an impact that will endure, kind of like this location. (Laughter, applause.) Now, your approach has been viewed through a regional lens, and that view through the regional lens is indeed consistent with the United States foreign policy objectives. You have advanced key military-to-military relationships and enhanced regional security cooperation. You've impacted a people, and a lot of them. Your efforts to assist in the professionalization of regional militaries and developed leaders, along with your delivery of humanitarian assistance programs stand as a shining example of security force assistance done the absolute correct way, in so many ways. And as you all know, goodness just doesn't happen. It happens because of good leadership, clear vision, creativity, ingenuity, coordination, teamwork, diplomacy and a lot of old-fashioned, plain-old hard work. And to attain that level of success requires all of that being achieved and realized. Rear Adm. Tony Kurta has led the way, over these past 14 months, in making that happen. Tony brought clarity of vision. His exact words -- "Combined Joint Taskforce-Horn of Africa builds friendships, forges relationships and creates partnerships to enable African solutions to African challenges." And he could not have chosen a better statement to clearly declare the way forward. He carefully considered what defined success and developed a strategic roadmap to get there. Foster regional security cooperation; strengthen partner-nation security capacity; and enable leadership development. This path is being followed in excellent fashion. Now, I could write a book about all the many successes this command has enjoyed under Tony's leadership, but let me highlight just a few of those: Expanding maritime domain awareness in East Africa and the Horn -- this command has led the way in moving maritime domain awareness forward by leaps and bounds. Notably, the Maritime Center of Excellence in Kenya graduated its first cadre of 17 students from 8 regional countries last July, and many more since. And it continues to move forward with great momentum. At its core, this initiative carries with it tremendous potential to markedly improve regional maritime safety and security in a multinational, multi-agency forum. That's exactly what we need. Enhancing the capacity of the East African Standby Force. The outstanding support that you provided during the first-ever East African Standby Force field training exercise has left a permanent footprint -- one to be proud of for sure -- towards meeting the CJTF-HOA goals of building friendships, forging relationships and renewing partnerships in Africa to enhance continued security and stability. And speaking of relationships, when Rear Adm. Kurta first took the reins, I challenged him to ensure that the channels of communication between his staff and those of the headquarters and other components be outstanding. It is important to me that we not only conduct ourselves in an informed and transparent manner with our partner nations, but among each other as well. From my perspective, those relationships, Tony, have been absolutely superior. And I'm appreciative of this staff's efforts to include everyone in the daily conduct of our mission. And let's not underestimate the challenges of responding to numerous natural disasters -- the logistics support provided during numerous humanitarian crises has been nothing short of remarkable. The villagers of Faza Island will forever be grateful for the quick response, with lifesaving equipment and supplies, after a fire swept through their village. The people currently being affected by torrential rains and mudslides are being assisted by CJTF-HOA, as has been the case in other parts of the joint operational area. Additionally, this command is responsible for spreading goodwill through civil-affairs projects. Undoubtedly, the support provided during the bridge project in Lira, Uganda, to different well-drilling sites throughout Kenya have left a lasting impression in these communities, and to say nothing of the outstanding work that's being done here in Djibouti, on behalf of the Djiboutian people, as those civil-affairs projects continue to make a difference in the life of everyday citizens. Rear Adm. Tony Kurta takes care of his people. He takes care of his people in ways that they know. During his command tour, the level and quality of logistics support provided to our troops located at austere locations on the continent have improved vastly. He has been personally involved in ensuring the quality of life for our folks doing great work, remains a highest priority. Now, these are a just a few of the many examples of integrated efforts to do good things and help make a difference. The footprints that Tony leaves behind are plentiful. He is an outstanding leader and mentor who inspires those in his charge. He is passionate about his duties, which is not only evident with the success of his staff, but also with his relationship with the Camp Lemonnier staff, the U.S. Embassy here in Djibouti, its country team, the service components of AFRICOM, and as I said, my staff at U.S. AFRICOM. In addition, the work with the USAID and its international development programs have been most noteworthy, all leading to very positive meanings for regional stability and security. Now, this success and level of excellence does not occur without the support and commitment of a broad group of folk, all with a great deal of talent. And that is you. He's had with him, on this magnificent journey, a series of deputy commanders, including here today with us, Jim Owens, and superb non-commissioned officer leadership, as reflected in the command's senior enlisted leader, Master Chief Petty Officer Bob Ottis (sp). The entire CJTF-HOA staff -- fantastic. You've done a super job here, and you are all making and leaving footprints of which you should be justifiably proud. Celebrating those successes is not what this command is all about; it's not what this ceremony is all about. Because we are fortunate to welcome the incoming commander of the combined joint taskforce, Rear Adm. Brian Losey, along with his team. Brian's reputation as a skilled leader precedes him. Fortunately, I've had a bit of time to get to know Brian, and he is exactly the commander to follow Tony Kurta. For our chiefs of mission, and particularly for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians who are part of this organization, I can tell you that Rear Adm. Brian Losey is eminently qualified for command of this taskforce. I know that he and this exceptional staff will continue to build on the great work of the command as he brings with him experiences from all over the world -- Central and South America, the Balkans, the Pacific, previously here in the Horn of Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, being a part of SEAL delivery vehicle teams. And I've been on one of those. In fact, I got booted out of the back of a boomer in one. Anybody know what I'm talking about? (Laughter.) Getting booted out of the back of a boomer? Brian, I know you know; I know McRaven knows; Harris knows. If you haven't done that, you ought to try it. (Laughter.) Kind of like jumping out of an airplane. But without a doubt, you bring all the skills, attributes, talents and leadership skills we need to continue to improve this foxhole, Hot Rod. Had to slip that in, to all my shipmates. (Laughter.) Anyway, it's warm and I'm about to end up here. It's just great to be here today to celebrate this noteworthy transition of authority in time-honored tradition, as the narrator pointed out -- a change of command between two officers for whom I have great admiration. I join a chorus of many in wishing this new leadership and all of you in the ranks, all of the very best of success in the months ahead. And to Tony Kurta, as you move ahead, thank you for a job well done, fair winds and following seas. And in recognition of his professionalism and dedication to duty, I'd now like to ask Rear Adm. Kurta to join me here for a presentation. (Applause.) REAR ADM. ANTHONY M. KURTA: I would like to start off and say, Gen. Ward, thank you for those remarks. And most of all, thank you for noting that it takes a team to accomplish a mission. I appreciate that. Gen. Aronda, Col. Cher, Ambassador Decherf, Ambassador Swan, Ambassador and Mrs. Battle, Ambassador Noke, distinguished ambassadors, particularly the Palestinian ambassador, the dean of our diplomatic corps here in Djibouti. Adm. McRaven, Adm. Harris -- I'm going to go on for a few here, so -- Gen. Caspar, generals, Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka who had to leave, Daphne Titus, Dr. List, all distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, men and women of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and Camp Lemonnier. And I certainly include those who provide support to the camp to include our main base contractor PAE led by Bill Callahan, all of our contractors and civilians and the civilians from Djibouti who work for CJTF-HOA and the camp. Thank you all for being here today for a ceremony that I hope reminds us of our mission here, a mission that is multifaceted and complex. We're all here because this is a location vitally important to world maritime commerce and peace in both Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. We are here because we share the values of peace and security in the region and we're all committed to working together to achieve our mutual objectives. So I hope that each of you enjoys this ceremony that celebrates our shared commitment made so much more enjoyable by the presence of the 6th Fleet Naval Forces Africa Band. So I thank all of you for being here today. (Applause.) One of the first and cardinal rules of public speaking is to never start naming names in a speech, particularly in any context of thanking people because you will invariably forget to mention somebody. But as Gen. Ward can probably attest, I probably break more rules than I follow, so I'm going to start naming names. I do apologize in advance for anybody not specifically mentioned, but know that each of you honors us with your presence here today and has been part of the success that we've enjoyed over the past 14 months. First and foremost, I must thank our hosts here in Djibouti, represented today by Col. Cher, hopefully someday Adm. Cher, the first admiral in the Djiboutian navy. This is a very welcoming country and we certainly enjoy our relationship with both the Djiboutian military and the people of the city of Djibouti -- Djibouti City. And across the tarmac of the airport behind me is the headquarters of French Forces Djibouti, with whom we have a relationship befitting two countries that have been allies for nearly 235 years. So to Ambassador Decherf and Gen. Caspar, thank you and all the French forces for your friendship and camaraderie. (Applause.) We also enjoy the company of Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces here on Camp Lemonnier. So to Ambassador Noke, Commander Shimizu, Capt. YamaSaku -- Mountain, if you're here today -- and Commander Kitagawa, amongst others, you've been tremendous allies. And it's been an absolute pleasure working with you and your predecessors this past year. It's a special treat for me to recognize and thank Gen. Aronda, the chief of defense for the Ugandan's People Defense Force (sic). General, we are honored by your presence and our partnership and are particularly thankful for the contributions to peace and security throughout Eastern Africa made by the UPDF. (Applause.) And thank you as well for loaning Richard Karemire to us for these past many, many months. (Laughter, applause.) Another great joy the past 14 months has been working with our U.S. Embassy teams in East Africa. Ambassador Battle is our ambassador to the African Union. Mr. Ambassador and your wife, thank you for being here today. Our deputy chief from Addis Ababa, Tuli Mushingi, is here as well, with our USAID director, Mr. Tom Staal. Great to see all of you. The U.S. country team here in Djibouti, a particularly close partner, is as good as you will ever see. Led by Ambassador Jim Swan, who is so active and involved here on Camp Lemonnier that everybody knows our ambassador. Jim, I have learned a tremendous amount from you over the past year. And I thank you for your counsel and your friendship. (Applause.) The ambassador's wife, Daphne, is also the foreign policy advisor to CJTF-HOA. And Jim's deputy Eric Wong has also been a very, very strong support of JTF-HOA and Camp Lemonnier. And Eric, I look forward to seeing you and Keong (ph) in Washington. The other D in our Djibouti three D's is the U.S. Agency for International Development, led by and almost staffed solely by Stephanie Funk. So Stephanie, you have been a superb partner to all of us here and a welcome guest at all of our functions. So thank you very much for being here today. (Applause.) The C in Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa indicates our coalition officers. I see them all sitting there in the back. And what a tremendous asset to this mission they are, representing a dozen different countries from Asia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. And we've had some real personalities here. (Laughter.) Gordon Rafferty (sp) comes to mind. And we've had some that who have been here more than once. Robert Millington served as our operations chief for several months and performed superbly -- I saw Robert -- even though we tied one hand behind his back by only letting him see half the information needed to do his job. (Laughter, applause.) But through it all -- through it all, Robert persevered sometimes even with a smile. (Laughter.) And some of our coalition officers have actually been here longer than I have: Mohammed (sp), Daniel and Richard, to name a few. But to all of our coalition officers, thanks to you and to your nations for believing in and contributing to this important mission. I've been thanking folks from outside the camp. Now it's time to recognize some within the camp. And I would say first that Camp Lemonnier is most ably run by Capt. Bill Finn known to many of you. Bill, with the help of Master Chief Cummings and Muet (ph), you run one superb installation here. And I have very, very much enjoyed working with you this past year. And I must note that we have both been superbly supported by your boss and the Navy region commander, Rear Adm. Mark -- Merk (ph) Mercer. So, Merk, glad you could make it here today. And our best to Ilva (sp) and the boys. You know, life on Camp Lemonnier here is convenient for us. And everyone that works here makes this camp run smoothly and we all appreciate it. The food is great. The gym is open 24/7 and we are all lucky to work here. There are many tenant commands on the camp -- some support the JTF. So to the Puerto Rican National Guard, like the 218th and the 9th PSF before you, your work in Eastern African has been tremendous. You have made Puerto Rico proud. To our Seabees and civil affairs companies, both Army and Navy, you make a great team and our mission depends on you. Thank you for your service. We also have professionals here who stand alert, ready to rescue by air any of our force who is in danger. So thank you to our Marine Corps helo decks, our Air Force C-130 and our pararescue jumpers. Now, not many who work directly for CJTF-HOA are still here or were here when I arrived. One who was here when I arrived, however, is Dr. Kathleen List sitting up here in the front row, who was our foreign policy advisor and now helps us manage our relationship with the U.S. embassies. So Kathleen, my thanks for everything. I have learned so much from you and very much enjoyed traveling this entire region with you. There are several senior staff directors who have been around for a while -- at least a while by our standards. Val, Allison (sp) -- you both stuck around for extra duty in the theater. And we are much the better for it. So thank you to you both. Karen Gibson (sp), you're a superstar and I wish you luck as you head towards command. Steve Dozel (sp), Jeff Sonati (sp), Greg Johnson (sp), Tony Almeda (sp), who has switched jobs a few times -- thank you all. And to the last core staff and the new core staff, superb patriots all whom I -- hats off to all of you. You do tremendous work seven days a week and I truly appreciate it. The front office puts in tremendously long hours, so thanks to J.T. and Chris (sp), Farran (sp) and his gang, YN1 and the whole team. Camp protocol has been just amazing, particularly this week. Jenny, thanks for leading such a great team and sticking around to see this event through. There she is. Master Chief Bob Otis (sp), I would say the smartest thing I've done in the past 14 months is ask you to serve here. So thanks for great insight, great friendship. You and Marty Klukas before you and Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka are the finest examples of senior enlisted leaders I have ever encountered. (Applause.) Brig. Gen. Jim Owens has been a superb deputy as was Chris Leins before you. I owe a debt to both of you for teaching me what little I know of civil affairs. I can at least spell it now. J.D. (ph), you and John Sarcone before you were superb chiefs of staff. And to all the men and women -- soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians of JTF-HOA, I envy you the leadership you are about to experience under the command of Rear Adm. Brian Losey. You are very fortunate indeed. Next to last, every person who has commanded will tell you that time in command is defined by those who work for you and those you work for. I trust I've expressed my admiration to those I have worked with. It has been, however, a personal honor to work for Gen. Ward, the commander of the Africa Command. This is the third time in my career that I've had this pleasure. And I will tell you that it gets better each time. He's a leader who looks you in the eye, says very clearly what he expects, gives you the latitude to carry out the mission and holds you accountable for those results. It sounds easy and I can assure you it is not. Only the best and the true leaders manage this feat. So, General, my personal thanks to you and Joyce and I'd work for you anytime, anywhere, boss. (Applause.) And finally, those of us who work here have it easy. Those we have left behind at home bear the burdens of life without us. So their support enables our service. So to all the families of all the service members here today, my most sincere thanks. I know my own service would not have been the same without the extremely strong support and daily encouragement of my wife Maria. So to all of CJTF-HOA, do me one last favor: Make a special effort today to thank your loved ones back home for their support. (Applause.) This tour has been the highlight of my professional service. So I thank each and every one of you for being a part of it and your presence here today. Thank you and I will now read my orders: From chief of naval operations to Rear Adm. Anthony M. Kurta, Subject: BUPERS Orders 814243. When directed by reporting senior, detach from duty as commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and report to the staff of the chief of naval operations for duty. Rear Adm. Losey, I am ready to be relieved. MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Ladies and gentlemen, Gen. Ward will now present an award to Rear Adm. Kurta. You may remain seated. Citation to accompany the award of the Defense Superior Service Medal oak leaf cluster in lieu of second award to Anthony M. Kurta. Rear Adm. Anthony M. Kurta, United States Navy, distinguished himself by exceptionally superior service as commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, United States Africa Command, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti from 5 February 2009 to 27 March 2010. By employing brilliant strategic vision, superb leadership and regional engagement initiatives, Rear Adm. Kurta significantly improved security capacity throughout the Horn of Africa. He displayed an unrelenting commitment to the unity of government approach and a coalition partner level of cooperation that leveraged the capabilities of the United States government, international community and nongovernmental organizations. This effort resulted in regional support and mutual action that mitigated conditions leading to violent extremism. He furthered an enduring strategic relationship through an African perspective by developing a lasting positive relationship within regional security frameworks, including the African Union and the East Africa Standby Force. His additional reach to organizations such as the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization expanded security capability throughout the region. As a result of this commitment to conflict prevention and strengthening regional security and stability, he had a significant positive impact on United States national security. The distinctive accomplishments of Rear Adm. Kurta reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Navy and the Department of Defense. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen, commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Rear Adm. Anthony M. Kurta. (Applause.) REAR ADM. BRIAN LOSEY: I will now read my orders. "From chief of naval operations to Rear Adm. Brian Losey, change duty orders 113000. When directed by a reporting senior, detach from standing Navy command element, U.S. 2nd Fleet. Report to Gen. Ward, U.S. Africa Command for duty as commander, Combined Joint Taskforce-Horn of Africa." (Applause.) MR. : Ladies and gentlemen, commander, Combined Joint Taskforce-Horn of Africa, Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, United States Navy. (Applause.) REAR ADM LOSEY: Thank you. It is customary for the incoming commander to keep his remarks short, and because I'm not as perceptive as Gen. Ward or Adm. Kurta, but perceptive enough, I will not deviate from custom today. General Ward, General Aronda, Ambassador Decherf, Ambassador Swan, Ambassador and Mrs. Battle, Ambassador Noke, Ambassador Kamil (ph), distinguished ambassadors, generals, admirals, friends, men and women of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, we deeply appreciate the support of so many key leaders and officials from around the region. But given the setting today, I would like to extend some special recognition to the significant delegation of officials from the government of Djibouti, as well as the local community. We appreciate your support and we're honored, here, by your presence today. On top of many others, I'd like to congratulate Adm. Kurta for a job superbly done. The morale and energy of this taskforce are strong. I would also like to convey my appreciation for his unwavering commitment to ensuring a turnover that will continue this taskforce well on course well after he departs. His commitment started months ago, as our staff was in training, before we ever arrived in theater. Perhaps Adm. Kurta's greatest attribute is his ability to make a friend, which is absolutely vital to this mission. And I value your friendship, Tony. Thanks for everything. Gen. Ward, thanks for your inspirational remarks. I look forward to serving under your storied leadership. It's the highest privilege to serve with deployed troops and patriots. Our mission, our method and Gen. Ward's intent is very clear for us. We'll continue to build on the efforts and service of those who have preceded us, and we will set favorable conditions for those who will follow us. This is a long-term commitment. Ultimately, when we look back on the footprints that this taskforce leaves, they should lay alongside the footprints of the sovereign nations of eastern Africa as we move forward together on a path to greater stability and security. I look forward to serving with you all. Thank you. (Applause.)