NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Admiral Foggo released a new podcast “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theater.” The podcast highlights his trips in Africa and discusses what the U.S. Navy has been doing in and around Africa. This is his second podcast devoted to the continent and a continuation of the discussion about how the U.S. Navy can support our African partners in finding African solutions to regional challenges.
Trip to Cabo Verde and Nigeria
Foggo begins the episode by discussing his trip to Cabo Verde and then to Nigeria during exercise Obangame Express 2019. While there, he met with civilian and military leaders from Cabo Verde and Nigeria, where they discussed maritime security and the unique relationship between the United States and Cabo Verde. In Nigeria, Foggo talked about his time with the Nigerian Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, a good friend and gracious host.
Exercise Cutlass Express
The next topic centered on exercise Cutlass Express, held in January. Foggo said, “It brought together a number of maritime forces and several international organizations to improve maritime law enforcement capacity, and to promote national and regional security in East Africa.”
When asked about the exercise he said, “I think it was a huge success in terms of a massive maritime domain area that stretched along the East African coast, from Djibouti to the north, to Mozambique in the south, and going as far east as the island nation of the Seychelles. Participating nations in Cutlass Express 2019 included Canada, the Comoros, Djibouti, France, India, and it was the first time that the Indians sent an Indian navy frigate.”
Other nations included were Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Portugal, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Exercise Obangame Express – Efforts to Combat Sea Blindness
He then went into the second exercise of the year, Obangame Express taking place in West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea.
“There were 33 nations from Africa, Europe, and North America that participated. We had 2,500 personnel on the land, in the littoral, or at sea. Ninety-five ships of varying sizes… 12 aircraft conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and sharing a common operating picture.”
Foggo compared 2010 to now in reference to African maritime security when he said, “Back in 2010, there were not a lot of ships, there were not a lot of facilities, there were not a lot of Maritime Operations Centers… Today, in 2019, West African nations have a series of facilities and radar to enable them to coordinate and collaborate across maritime borders, and work to combat this sea blindness.”
The Admiral also discussed the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Thetis’ rescue at sea of two fishermen who had been lost at sea for three days. The fishermen, rescued the day before the exercise began, were given gas and Gatorade by the Americans and then helped back to port by the Sierra Leonean Coast Guard.
“And you know, it sounds like something that came right out of a Hollywood script, but a real-life situation with a happy ending,” Foggo said.
Phoenix Express and Enhancing Maritime Cooperation
The final exercise addressed by the Admiral was Phoenix Express, held off the coast of North Africa in April.
The aim of Phoenix Express, he said, has been “to promote national and regional security, informed planning and operations, and improve military capabilities.
“And I think through this enhanced cooperation in maritime domain awareness and information sharing, we can all get after the problems that affect all of us, stability in the maritime domain, illicit trafficking, criminal activity, and piracy,” the Admiral said.
“On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters” is available on: Spotify, Spreaker, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and Stitcher
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U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.