Brunssum and Naples: brothers, not twins

U.S. Navy Admrial James Foggo, commander Allied Joint Force Command Naples, and Italian Army General Salvatore Farina, commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, speak to each other during a meeting in at JFC Brunssum on Dec. 6. Courtesy Photo.
Dec 11, 2017

Blog by Admiral James Foggo

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been privileged to exchange ideas with NATO’s senior-most military leaders in Europe, first at a Supreme Allied Commander’s conference at in Mons, Belgium and second at a Bi-Vision Joint Force Command meeting in Brunssum, The Netherlands.

Especially with JFC Brunssum this week, it occurs to me that we at JFC Naples are part of a very unique partnership as part of a greater NATO family.  We share with Brunssum the responsibility of operationalizing SACEUR’s strategic vision across NATO’s ever changing set of military challenges.

As I see it, the JFC Brunssum and Naples mission statements, structures and people are largely similar.  We focus on commanding and controlling military forces assigned to us for specific missions and activities.  We employ a common series of structures across classic military functional areas such as strategy and plans, operations and intelligence, logistics and electronic communications. We employ highly trained and experienced military and civilian professionals from our 29 NATO member nations and additional non-NATO partners.

Yet I am also impressed at how Brunssum is unique and different.  They are helping NATO continue its main counter-terrorism role by overseeing and supporting the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.  This is a significant and enduring priority, one against which they apply much energy.  After 16 years of military operations, it is critical to continue to train, advise and assist the Afghan military to provide security such that the Afghan government and people can further the stability and growth of their nation.

The JFC Brunssum team is also very focused on countering Russia’s continuing threat to the east, by coordinating member nation military contributions to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.  This effort reassures the Baltic nations and provides the entire NATO alliance a very capable deterrent against possible future aggression.

Together we face challenges both known and unpredictable.  As General Scaparrotti focuses us on the broad challenges of Russia, radicals and relevance, our two JFCs work to anticipate evolving details and craft approaches to address them. 

I am particularly energized to collaborate with JFC Brunssum on our combined effort to command and control the NATO Response Force.  As we finish 2017 and prepare to relinquish our role leading the NRF, Brunssum prepares to assume the leading role.  Meantime, while in perpetual standby, we will collaborate with Brunssum on multiple exercises to maintain the readiness and interoperability of military forces that NATO nations continue to provide.

So by means of a metaphor, it seems to me our two NATO JFCs are clearly not twins, but definitely brothers.  As such I am committed to continuing our strong relationship and improving our partnership as we move into the future together.

 

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