NAVEUR's Guidance – Executing Maritime Strategy

Wednesday, January 16, 2008
From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe - Commander, 6th Fleet Public Affairs Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR)/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa Guidance for 2008 was released Jan. 8, by Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe. The guidance emphasizes Fitzgerald's priority to implement the Maritime Strategy by "building partnerships and advancing partner nations' self-sufficiency."

Fitzgerald's vision for naval forces in Europe and Africa centers on achieving excellence, continuing to build a creative, diverse and professional team, and making U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) the assignment choice in the U.S. Navy. "(We will) conduct the full range of maritime operations in theater security cooperation in concert with coalition, joint, inter-agency and other partners in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa," he wrote. "And to do this, (we will) support the EUCOM 'Strategy for Active Security,' to include AFRICOM objectives, and our nation's 'Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.'"

In the document, Fitzgerald defines his operational objectives and strategic imperatives. "Long-term Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) requires self sufficiency among our regional maritime partners, which is a key aspect of the 'Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,'" Fitzgerald wrote concerning how the command defines itself. "Our ultimate goal is fully developed cooperative regional relationships enabled by individual nations' MSS capability. Our approach to Maritime Sector Development (MSD) will rest on four pillars: Maritime Domain Awareness, Maritime Professionals, Infrastructure and Response Capabilities.

"Africa Partnership Station (APS) in the West and Central Africa/Gulf of Guinea region is our marquee MSD initiative for 2008," wrote Fitzgerald. "APS represents a long-term, international commitment to our African partners. In support of this effort, we will continue to leverage resources and expertise from outside the command — to include inter-agency partners, other nations' naval forces, [non-governmental agencies], International Organizations, regional economic and political-military structures and industry — to build MSS in the EUCOM and AFRICOM regions." Explaining his second Guiding Principle, Fitzgerald wrote that the Navy must be prepared for any contingency. "We will maintain critical warfare skills to respond to any contingency and, when directed, execute the full spectrum of joint operations," wrote Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald intends for the first half of 2008 to focus on "successful accomplishment of Exercise Austere Challenge '08 to recertify Commander, 6th Fleet as a [Joint Task Force] (JTF) Commander." Fitzgerald wrote that, in accordance with his operational objectives, he will "establish a maritime Theater Ballistic Missile Defense capability in the EUCOM area of responsibility." Providing exceptional stewardship to the workforce and families was also a high priority. "Developing our people and providing a quality experience for our families are key to our vision of a creative, diverse, professional and motivated team," wrote Fitzgerald. "In 2008 we will place particular emphasis on quality of life for our families and on personal skills development for our workforce." Advancing the art and science of maritime operations and enhancing the awareness of the harmony of Partner and U.S. interests and activities were also key elements to the command's operational objectives. Fitzgerald closed with the emphasis on "support(ing) other EUCOM, AFRICOM and Navy Component Commanders." He stressed that the command's "efforts will require close collaboration with nascent AFRICOM components as the command approaches full operational capability … Similarly, the role of EUCOM's JTF East in building new [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] capabilities and capacity will likely expand, as will requirements for NAVEUR support." "We will continue to provide any and all support required to the global war on terror[ism] and to combatant and component commands engaged in this fight," Fitzgerald wrote. "This will include full support to our deploying explosive ordnance disposal and other expeditionary forces, as well as first rate airfield and port logistics support to transiting units."

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