Admiral Foggo is Commander Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, as well as Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. Professor Kjell Inge Bjerga, Director of the Institute, welcomed him. Foggo addressed the most urgent challenges Russia poses in the North Atlantic, how NATO should counteract these challenges in what he terms "The Fourth Battle of the Atlantic", and how the upcoming exercise Trident Juncture fits into this picture. Admiral Foggo and his headquarters will lead the exercise.
The Admiral started by praising the special relationship between the US and Norway, citing several rewarding and fruitful experiences he's had working with the Norwegian Armed Forces as examples of this relationship.
Professor Kjell Inge Bjerga and Admiral James G. Foggo III
The Fourth Battle of the Atlantic
He explained what the three previous battles of the Atlantic are; the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Cold War. He maintained that the lessons for the Fourth Battle of the Atlantic, which is the one we are fighting now, are from the Cold War, which was won without a shot being fired.
The Fourth Battle, he argued, wages primarily beneath the waves, as increasingly sophisticated Russian submarines threaten the ability of NATO to exercise sea control in the North Atlantic, and consequently the sea lines of communication between the United States and Europe. Russian military activity is also becoming more aggressive, Admiral Foggo asserted. Russian aircraft flying very close to US vessels at high speed are examples of such behaviour.
NATO as a defensive alliance should demonstrate interoperability and superiority
As a defensive alliance, the Admiral proposed that NATO demonstrates interoperability and superiority in all warfighting domains in order to counter the Russian challenges. The prime example of such demonstrations, according the Foggo, is the upcoming Trident Juncture exercise in Norway.
Q&A: capabilities and technology in the North Atlantic, and the importance of the region
After Admiral Foggo's remarks there was a Q&A session moderated by Professor Rolf Tamnes from IFS. Tamnes asked how NATO and the West should cope with the situation in the North Atlantic when most US forces are far away from the region, to which Foggo replied that NATO can take advantage of all of the Alliance's capabilities, not just Carrier Strike Groups. If worst comes to worst, the Alliance will come together and mass forces, he said.
Admiral James G. Foggo III
The Admiral was also asked about the role and importance of Norway in the Fourth Battle of the Atlantic. Admiral Foggo praised Norway's investment in P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, frigates and submarines, stating that the main challenge in the North Atlantic is from Russian submarines, a threat which the Norwegian platforms are adept at meeting. The Norwegian investments thus bode well for security in the North Atlantic, according to the Admiral.
Another question addressed technology and its impact on warfare and the Alliance, and Admiral Foggo stressed the importance of remaining interoperable within NATO. The Admiral was also asked about the relative significance of the North Atlantic in the minds of US decision makers in Washington D.C., and Admiral Foggo stressed the region's importance to US security, and pointed out that a carrier strike group will visit the region during spring this year.
Summary written by Amund Lundesgaard