Senate Delay Slows Navy Command Changes

Rear Adm. James G. Foggo III delivers remarks to U.S. Naval War College students and guests during the 65th annual Current Strategy Forum (CSF) at the NWC in Newport, Rhode Island in June 2014. (James Foehl/U.S. Navy)

NAPLES, Italy — The nominee to lead the Navy’s fleet in Europe and Africa continues to await Senate confirmation, resulting in a backup in command changes at several top military billets.

Rear Adm. James G. Foggo III was nominated by President Barack Obama in September to pin on another star and assume command of U.S. 6th Fleet, based out of Naples, Italy. His nomination hasn’t moved since, forcing a delay in turnovers up the ladder.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command had to cancel its command change ceremony on Monday because its incoming leader, 6th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Phil Davidson, awaits relief by Foggo. Davidson, in turn, is set to relieve Adm. William Gortney at Fleet Forces Command, who will assume the lead of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Gortney was nominated in June and confirmed a month later. Davidson’s nomination came in August; he was confirmed in September.

The Navy has asked the FFC deputy commander, Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson, to serve as acting commander while Davidson awaits Foggo’s confirmation, the command said in a statement last week. Gortney is scheduled to assume command at NORTHCOM in early December.

The Senate Armed Services Committee takes up flag and general officer nominations before sending them to the Senate floor for a vote. Congressional work slowed to a standstill in the weeks before the midterm elections on Nov. 4.

Nominations are scheduled to begin again when Congress returns to session between Thanksgiving and Christmas. New leadership will take over the Senate Armed Services Committee in January as a result of the Republicans winning control of the chamber.

Foggo is currently working as assistant deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington. His previous tour in Naples was as submarine group commander and deputy fleet commander. In this position he served as operations officer for the U.S. joint task force that conducted airstrikes against Libya in 2011.

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