Regional Cooperation Highlighted During NAVCENT Change of Command

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

From Commander, Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet Public Affairs

During his change of command ceremony, the outgoing Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, emphasized the need for fostering relationships with coalition partners.

"The more Coalition and partner nations collaborate to provide security for the region the more they are able to achieve," he said.

During the ceremony, Vice Adm. William "Bill" Gortney relieved Cosgriff as commander of NAVCENT/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

"The continued presence of coalition forces guarantees maritime security of those who depend on free use of the seas," said Cosgriff. "From security arises stability, which enhances trade, promotes economic vitality and increases regional and global prosperity."

While in command for 17 months, Cosgriff led more than 25,000 and Coalition forces that operate continuously in the region to provide security, defend against violent extremism and provide support for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

" and Coalition Maritime Forces interact with virtually every country in the region," said Cosgriff. "And to my thinking, the combination of persistent, credible naval power in conducting security and other operations is precisely the sort of thing we ought to be doing."

Cosgriff is retiring from the Navy after more than 37 years of service. In his farewell message, he took the opportunity to praise the Sailors and Marines who served with him.

"You represented your nation, your Navy and the Coalition superbly," he said. "Even as we struggle daily against violent extremism and other malign activities in the region, your actions - providing maritime security and helping keep the seas open for trade - have made a vital impact on the region's security."

During Cosgriff's tenure, NAVCENT/U.S. 5th Fleet/CMF demonstrated its commitment to building partnerships and enhancing regional cooperation though operations, exercises and regional engagements throughout its 6.5-million square mile area of operation that includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden the Red Sea and the Caspian area.

That commitment resulted in new nations joining the 20-some member Coalition as well as the Royal Bahrain Navy assuming command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 in March, marking the first time Coalition forces have been commanded by a Gulf nation.

Cosgriff said Gortney's desire to build and foster partnerships as well as his experience operating in the region makes him a natural choice to become NAVCENT's new commander.

"I cannot think of a better, more qualified officer to relieve me than Bill Gortney," said Cosgriff. "He comes to the area with great experience, is a dynamic leader and is committed to furthering the progress we've made. Sailors, Marines and Coalition partners are fortunate to have him taking the helm."

Gortney comes to NAVCENT having previously served as the NAVCENT Chief of Staff from 2003-2004 and most recently Commander of the Harry S. Truman Strike Group, which deployed to the region during 2007-2008.

"During his command, Vice Adm. Cosgriff guided Coalition and U.S. naval forces with a steady hand; one guided in equal measure by a longer view of the strategic part of this world and a deep respect for its history, cultures, peoples and religions," said Gortney. "I share this view, and will work hard in the years ahead to carry on in the same spirit."

Gortney pledged to continue the work and Coalition forces are doing in the region.

"I am honored and privileged to be joining such a fine group of professionals," said Gortney. "Although you have accomplished a great deal, I am excited about the challenges ahead and promise you my commitment in working toward current and future goals together. My goal is to sustain and improve on the excellence already in place."

Operations in the NAVCENT area of operations are focused on reassuring regional partners of the ' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

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