Commander of Joint Force Command Naples Visited Finland
Commander of Joint Force Command Naples (JFC Naples), Admiral Stuart B. Munsch, visited Finland 24–26 January 2024. Admiral Munsch is also the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. The visit was hosted by the Chief of Defence Command Finland, Lieutenant General Vesa Virtanen. The visit program included a meeting with the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, General Timo Kivinen, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Finland, Esa Pulkkinen.
The topics of discussion included the current security situation, Finland’s military integration to NATO and Finland’s general conscription system.
Commander of Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Stuart B. Munsch highlights the importance of Finland’s NATO membership to the entire Alliance, and underlines the importance of unity and cooperation when dealing with global security challenges:
– Finland joining NATO advances the Alliance’s ability to meet today's global security concerns and promotes stability throughout Europe. Together, alongside in NATO, we are committed to collective defence that supports peace and security in the region. Our strength lies in our unity, which has never been greater than it is today.
Chief of Defence Command Finland, Lieutenant General Vesa Virtanen says that integrating Finland into NATO's collective defence is proceeding well.
– It is invaluable that we were able to familiarize Admiral Munsch, as the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, with our defence system and conditions. All of NATO’s Joint Force Commands are important to us. The Alliance’s 360-degree approach enables meeting and preparing for a multitude of threats. JFC Naples also commands crisis management operations, such as KFOR in Kosovo where we currently have Finnish soldiers serving. Furthermore, Admiral Munsch's assessment of the security situation in the southern and south-eastern flank of NATO confirmed for us the importance of cooperation and information sharing in advancing and maintaining security and stability, Lieutenant General Virtanen says.
The programme also included a visit to the Navy's Coastal Brigade, hosted by the Commander of the Finnish Navy, Rear Admiral Tuomas Tiilikainen.
– Admiral Munsch’s visit advances learning between allies and integrating Finland’s maritime defence into the Alliance and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. This time of year offers us an excellent opportunity to showcase the versatile capabilities of the Finnish Navy in Arctic conditions for our American visitors, states Commander of the Finnish Navy, Rear Admiral Tiilikainen.
Joint Force Command Naples, located in Italy (Joint Forces Command Naples) is one of NATO's three operational level commands that plan, execute and support the Alliance's military operations.
Admiral Munsch is also the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa.