Army Gen Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of Joint Forces Command, deliver remarks during a ceremony aboard the USS Kearsarge celebrating NATO’s newest operational headquarters, Joint Force Command Norfolk, July 15, 2021.
In a July 16, 2021 article by Megan Eckstein published on Defense News, this is what VADM Lewis, the Commander of 2nd Fleet and Allied Joint Force Command Norfolk noted:
Lewis told Defense News after the ceremony that because NATO doesn’t have its own military, the alliance relies on members to make the right investments in their respective war-fighting capabilities. But an organization like JFC Norfolk can help by tying together those varying capabilities, he said, creating a common operating picture for NATO leaders and ensuring a structure is in place for allied militaries to rapidly deploy together in response to a crisis.
Lewis added that every time a ship deploys from Norfolk, for example, it’s not just a U.S. military asset but also a node in NATO’s common operating picture through JFC Norfolk. Building a clear picture of the Atlantic and Arctic will help NATO get a sense of what “normal” looks like so the alliance can quickly identify and react to an abnormal situation, he explained.
The recent NATO exercise Steadfast Defender, held off the coast of Portugal, allowed the U.S. Navy and JFC Norfolk to test for the first time their ability to assemble a maritime component that flows in from North America to Europe in support of military operations on the eastern side of the Atlantic.