KIEL, Germany – Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday traveled to Kiel, Germany, June 15-18, for the conclusion of BALTOPS 22.
In its 51st iteration, BALTOPS is an annual coordinated exercise that reinforces interoperability with Allies and partners and provides collective maritime security in the Baltic Sea.
Gilday visited the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) at sea during the final days of the exercise.
“Our Sailors are our asymmetric advantage against any threat,” said Gilday. “Watching the incredible multi-domain coordination with our international partners, and seeing Sailors in action is always inspiring.”
This year, fourteen NATO allies, two NATO partner nations (Finland and Sweden), more than 45 ships, 75 aircraft, and approximately 7,000 personnel participated in BALTOPS 22.
“The United States’ strong defense relationships with our Northern European Allies and partners constitute our greatest strategic advantage in the region,” said Gilday. “BALTOPS achieves a multitude of objectives by demonstrating NATO interoperability, interchangeability, and readiness.”
He added that naval forces are participating in this exercise and are focused on interoperability with Sweden and Finland, as well as the other allied nations of NATO. “We are trained, proficient and ready, BALTOPS demonstrates just that and our commitment to defending NATO is ironclad.”
While in Kiel, Gilday met with Vice Adm. Jan Kaack, Chief of the German Navy, as well as Vice Adm. Frank Lenski, Vice Chief of the German Navy, to discuss operational areas of mutual interest, NATO operations, and Transatlantic security.
"I sincerely welcome the continued commitment of the US Navy in Europe. Since 1972, the BALTOPS exercise has been taking place in the Baltic Sea under US leadership - this year for the 51st time,” said Lenski. “Our ties with the US Navy are strong and will remain so because the Baltic Sea is part of NATO’s northern flank. It is our vital interest to guarantee freedom and security in this area.”
Lenski added, “And today I am standing here together with Admiral Gilday and Vice Admiral Black to back up NATO´s promise: 'One for all - all for one'.”
The trip culminated with a BALTOPS reception aboard the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), where Gilday met with U.S and foreign naval leadership, as well as members of the local community.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet maintains regular rotational forces that operate in the theater throughout the year. These forces include: Forward Deployed Naval Forces guided-missile destroyers, P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft; construction and expeditionary personnel; and Military Sealift Command USNS ships that provide a wide array of support and capability to our forces at sea.
This was Gilday’s first visit to Germany.
Earlier this week, he visited Iceland where he met with senior Icelandic officials, U.S. Sailors and Italian service members, all working together to ensure regional security and stability.
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