Naples, Italy - Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF), held an all-hands call with Sailors at Naval Support Activity, Naples, Capodichino's base theater, July 29.
Ferguson, who recently took command, kicked off the event by introducing himself to Sailors, and talked about his guiding principles, vision and guidance, and expectations going forward.
"We are in a strategic environment right now that is changing dramatically, and if you think about it, there are some big trends that concern us," said Ferguson. "So, as I think about coming into the theater, I think about 'what are the things that we have to focus on,' because we are one of the few areas that are growing. As a growing presence, we have to sustain the warfighting readiness of our forces."
Ferguson praised Sailors for their success in executing operations forward and challenged them to maintain their level of excellence.
"I expect you to be bold and empowered," said Ferguson. "Problems come with solutions. You have to be innovative and you have to think about the new challenges we face in this new security environment. We must approach this with a 'we are a team' attitude and I view that we succeed as a team."
The Chief of Naval Operations' Warfighting Tenets of 'be ready, warfighting first and operate forward' were highlighted by Ferguson in his own lines of effort, as he asked Sailors to think about how they could apply the tenets to daily operations at NAVEUR-NAVAF.
Ferguson's lines of effort for NAVEUR-NAVAF, in following closely with the CNO's Tenets, are as follows:
1. Sustain Warfighting Readiness. Provide ready maritime forces capable of conducting maritime operations in support of Combatant Commander tasking.
2. Strengthen Alliances and Partnerships. Strengthen alliances and partnerships through engagements, operations and training - individually and as a command.
3. Conduct Operations Forward. Execute the full range of naval operations by employing innovative approaches across the spectrum of warfighting capabilities. Conduct operational planning for current, future and contingency operations.
"We are the Navy forward, we have forces that need to be ready and we are ambassadors for the U.S.," said Ferguson. "It begins with us and how we take care of one another."
Ferguson also touched on what he and the command owed Sailors, including a responsible and professional work environment that values each and every Sailor and their families, while providing the tools for success.
"I have to give guidance that is clearly written and expressed in a way that you can understand and execute your mission," said Ferguson. "I am a great believer in collaborative discussions. We'll have the debate, make the decision and execute. My plan is to listen, learn and lead."
Ferguson concluded the all hands call by telling all those in attendance that each and every one of them, despite rank or whether they military or civilian employees, are important to the team's overall success.
"All of you sitting in this room make up the highest quality force that we have ever had in our history, period," said Ferguson. "You're more educated then generations of Sailors that came before you. You're the best force we have ever had, and I take great comfort in that."