US Admiral Foggo Says NATO in Excellent Condition, Praises Slovenian Forces

By , 03 Aug 2018, 09:38 AM News
US Admiral James G. Foggo III US Admiral James G. Foggo III US Navy, public domain

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STA, 2 August 2018 - US Admiral James G. Foggo III, who recently paid a visit to Slovenia, has told the STA in an interview that NATO is in an excellent shape despite the disagreements regarding higher defence spending. He also commended the Slovenian Armed Forces for their contribution to international operations or missions. 

"NATO is in the best condition that it has been in 70 years. The alliance is 29-members strong, it looks very likely that we will be inviting a new member," Foggo, the commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, said in reference of Macedonia.

According to him, the last NATO summit was a signal of the strengths of the alliance, which is able to come together, look at what it is doing and change plans, and be adaptable and flexible.

Foggo, who is also the commander of US Naval Forces Europe and US Naval Forces Africa, visited Slovenia on Wednesday to meet senior representatives of the Slovenian Armed forces and government officials.

Asked about his main messages sent at the meetings, he said that the meetings revolved around the importance of increasing the proportion of budget in Slovenia towards armed forces and collective defence. "Secondly, I came here to thank the Slovenian Armed Forces for all the things they do."

Foggo noted that Slovenia is "helping out in Erbil in Iraq, they have made contributions to weapons and ammunition for the Iraqi armed forces. Slovenia is with us in Resolute Support in Afghanistan."

He also noted that Slovenia was sending around 240 soldiers to Trident Juncture, the largest NATO exercise since 2002, which will be held in Norway in October and November and feature 40,000 soldiers.

"That is significant for a country with the size of forces that you have, that's around 7,600," Foggo said, also pointing to the Slovenian port of Koper and training ranges as having a significant value for NATO.

"Slovenia has done a lot to support the alliance. Somewhere between 6% and 7% of your forces are actually deployed outside Slovenia ... and your coastal patrol vessel [Triglav] just returned from the operation EU Sophia in the Mediterranean."

The admiral thanked all Slovenian officials for Slovenia's contribution to alliance's collective security, while at the same time reminding them that Slovenia could "raise the level of funding and resources for your forces".

"They can certainly put it to good use," said Foggo, who is looking forward to future interactions with the Slovenian Armed Forces because he finds them to be very professional and they provide "a great return on investment".

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