A group of ambassadors to North African and Central Mediterranean countries visited Allied Joint Force Command Naples for a conference, April 12, 2018. (Photo by French Navy Chief Petty Officer Sèbastien Laurent)
Story by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Patton
NAPLES, Italy – A group of ambassadors to North African and Central Mediterranean countries visited Allied Joint Force Command Naples for a conference, April 12, 2018.
The visit featured discussions on topics such as Mediterranean strategic implications, ungoverned spaces, instability in the Mediterranean Sea, and views from the North African lens.
A mixing of international participants, including several U.S. ambassadors and military personnel, was present. Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone, the Italian ambassador to Libya and the only European Union Ambassador resident in Tripoli, was among the attendees. Nicola de Santis, head of the Middle East and North Africa Section in the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, was another guest.
U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo, commander of JFC Naples, opened the afternoon’s discussions with a slide depicting a summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy laid out by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Foggo used some highlights from the strategy to stress the importance of working in concert with allies, partners and non-defense entities, as well as taking creative approaches to challenges.
The conference follows a workshop, dubbed NATO and Shared Security Challenges in the South: Understanding Drivers of Instability, earlier in the week. Academic, military, government and non-governmental organizations discussed security challenges to NATO’s south during this event.
Another presentation and subsequent discussion during the conference with ambassadors involved personnel from the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub, which opened last September. The new center, under the roof and lead of JFC Naples, is designed to gather information and analyse a variety of issues to include destabilization, potential terrorism, radicalization, migration and environmental concerns. An additional role of the Hub is to team up with various agencies outside of NATO and national military structures to synchronize, coordinate and enable.
Mel McNulty, NATO international civilian and political advisor to Foggo, said part of this new concept was the recognition that NATO wasn’t set up to tackle all the challenges at its southern border alone. McNulty said that NATO could only do so and match citizen expectations if it connected, consulted and coordinated with others to build upon one of its greatest, but lesser known, achievements of the post-Cold War: partnership.
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Michael Nunziato, one of the Hub’s foreign area expert officers, said Hub leaders were honored to introduce the concept of the center and discuss its current status at the conference.
"As the NSD-S Hub continues on the path towards full capability, the importance of outreach and networking, and highlighting the linkage between diplomacy and military remains paramount,” said Nunziato.
The North Africa and Central Mediterranean Ambassador Conference is one that leaders at JFC Naples hope will highlight increased outreach and partnerships.
"I hope these relationships last for a long time,” Foggo said to conclude the conference.