Admiral Mark Ferguson, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, visited Lisbon on September 22-23, and met with U.S. and Portuguese leaders, toured local military installations and facilities, and received briefings on the current state of military affairs in Portugal, as well as on preparations for the Trident Juncture 2015 exercise, for which Portugal will serve as one of three host countries, along with Spain and Italy.
Admiral Ferguson started his visit to Lisbon, meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Robert Sherman. The two discussed the broad range of ongoing defense and security-related collaboration between Portugal and the United States.
Subsequently, Admiral Ferguson visited the Headquarters of Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), and met with Vice Admiral James Foggo III, Commander of STRIKFORNATO and the U.S. 6th Fleet. STRIKFORNATO serves as the Alliance’s maritime battle staff and primary link for integrating U.S. carrier strike and amphibious forces into NATO operations. Managed by a Memorandum of Understanding comprising of 11 nations, STRIKFORNATO is a rapidly deployable, Maritime Headquarters that provides scalable command and control across the full spectrum of Alliance fundamental security tasks.
Other highlights included a visit to the Portuguese Navy Headquarters where he met with Chief of the Portuguese Navy, Admiral Luis Macieira Fragoso, and toured a Portuguese Navy submarine. Admiral Ferguson also met with the Portuguese Chief of Defense General Artur Pina Monteiro and Minister of Defense Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco.
Upon completion of these meetings and site visits, Admiral Ferguson noted, “As a founding member of NATO, Portugal continues to be an important member of the alliance. I had the opportunity today to tour one of their highly capable Air Independent Propulsion diesel electric submarines. I was extremely impressed by the capabilities of this submarine. I am looking forward to working closer with Admiral Fragoso and his staff to leverage these submarines in both US and NATO training and exercises. I continue to be impressed by the professionalism and capabilities of the Portuguese Navy. Our enduring relationship has proven to be a force multiplier in this dynamic operational environment.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, headquartered in Naples, Italy, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa. The Allied Joint Force Command, also located in Naples, Italy is responsible for planning, preparing, and conducting military operations throughout the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s area of responsibility.