Admiral Michelle Howard, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, visited Lisbon on July 19, and met with U.S. and Portuguese leaders, received briefings on the current state of military affairs in Portugal, and also participated in the NATO Maritime Expeditionary Operations Conference in Oeiras.
Admiral Howard began her visit with a 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 Howard took part in the Maritime Expeditionary Operations Conference, hosted by Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Centre of Excellence (CJOS COE), where she was a guest speaker. The theme of the conference was “Maritime Expeditionary Power Contribution to NATO Adaptation.” 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. The mission of CJOS COE is to support transformation through concept development, experimentations, and the development of doctrine and standards, which it does through broad intellectual engagement with sponsoring nations, NATO, and global allies.
Other highlights included a visit to the Portuguese Navy Headquarters where she met with Chief of the Portuguese Navy, Admiral Luis Macieira Fragoso. Admiral Howard also met with the Portuguese Chief of Defense, General Artur Pina Monteiro, to discuss common issues of security and defense between the two nations and NATO.
Upon completion of these meetings, Admiral Howard noted, “As a founding member of NATO, Portugal continues to be an important member of the Alliance. This visit is indicative of the ongoing bilateral cooperation highlighted during the April 2016 Portugal-U.S. Naval Staff Talks. Our enduring relationship is a force multiplier in this dynamic environment, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership.”
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.