NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa hosted the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Flag Officer course, on the Naval Support Activity Naples in Naples, Italy, May 14-18.
During the weeklong course, conducted by
the U.S. Naval War College, 23 executive-level attendees from the maritime countries of Europe and Africa participated in seminars and discussions focused on building common understanding of maritime issues and helping senior leaders at the operational level of command work together more effectively.
The importance of being able to rapidly and effectively combine multinational naval forces and staffs was demonstrated in the Mediterranean during the 2011 NATO Operation Unified Protector, which included ships, submarines, and aircraft from Jordan, Morocco, NATO, Qatar, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates.
Throughout the course, guest speakers delivered briefs and facilitated candid discussions about maritime security operations, counterpiracy, and counter-illicit trafficking. The talks also provided a forum for open discussion of issues and a chance to gain a better understanding of the diverse perspectives involved in a combined force.
Many students from previous CFMCC courses returned this year as presenters and facilitators, including retired Colombian Adm. Guillermo Barrera, retired German Vice Adm. Lutz Felt, and Danish Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Commander, Danish Task Group, Royal Danish Navy.
Commodore Jensen, who attended previous CFMCC Courses in both Naples and Bahrain, brings relevant experience as recent Commander, Combined Task Force 151, a multinational force established in 2009 to conduct counterpiracy operations.
"There are several benefits to the course, but the personal relationships gained are the most important," said Jensen. "Personal relationships make it possible to overcome bureaucracies. Time spent together in class makes it easier for a commander to call ahead and negotiate what is possible. This saves valuable time when it matters most by enabling commanders to better focus their staffs in planning and directing operations."
With new ideas and the strengthened partnerships of regional leaders, commanders throughout Europe and Africa departed the course with the assurance that cooperation and collaboration are critical to the continued success of maintaining safety and security throughout the region.
The first CFMCC Course, which focused on U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, was held in September 2006 in Newport, R.I. Since then, CFMCC has expanded to include three courses held periodically in the European, Middle East and Pacific regions. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa hosted CFMCC courses in 2008 and 2010.
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