Home » Foreign Forces » Adm. Foggo Warns of Russian Submarines Challenging U.S. Defenses

Adm. Foggo Warns of Russian Submarines Challenging U.S. Defenses

A P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 is parked on the flight line of Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. US Navy Photo

A P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 is parked on the flight line of Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland in 2016. US Navy Photo

The head of naval forces in Europe warned that Russia is preparing an underwater battlespace in the Northern Atlantic and that U.S. naval presence is more important now than any time since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Adm. James Foggo said in the second episode of his “On the Horizon” podcast that Russia’s national security policy seems to be to challenge the U.S. and its allies, and the U.S. must do all it can to ensure a rules-based international order remains in the waters in and around Europe.

Foggo, who serves as commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and commander of U.S. Naval Forces Africa, discussed how the European theater has evolved in recent years.

“Russia has renewed its capabilities in the North Atlantic and the Arctic in places not seen since the Cold War. For example, Russian forces have recently reoccupied seven for their former Soviet Union bases in the Arctic Circle,” he said.
“The improved capability of Russia to be able to project power into this region and these strategic routes from the Arctic into the North Atlantic and the GIUK Gap is something that we need to pay particular attention to.”

As for the technology the Russians are using, Foggo said “I think Russian submarines today are perhaps some of the most silent and lethal in the world, with the exception of our own – I think we still in the United States Navy hold the edge.” The Kalibr missiles that Russia has deployed from coastal defense systems, aircraft and submarines have “shown the ability to reach pretty much all the capitals in Europe from any of the bodies of water that surround Europe.”

“We know that Russian submarines are in the Atlantic, testing our defenses, confirming our command of the seas and preparing a very complex underwater battlespace to try to give them an edge in any future conflict. And we need to deny them that edge,” the admiral continued.
“So not only have Russia’s actions and capabilities increased in alarming and sometimes confrontational ways, its national security policy, I think, is aimed at challenging the United States and NATO, our allies and our partners. So I remain concerned about the potential for miscalculation – we shouldn’t ignore this – but the simple truth is that, as an alliance, NATO is stronger together.”

K-560 Severodvinsk.

Foggo said in the podcast that naval forces are forward-deployed, making them the best able to provide the presence to reassure allies and “better postured to deal with and defend and maintain stability and security, and if necessary defeat any threat.”

He noted that carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and its escort ships are back in the North Atlantic and North Sea to participate in this effort, and “I couldn’t be more happy about that.”

Additionally, U.S. naval and joint forces are set to come together with allies and partners this month for one of the largest NATO exercises in decades. Trident Juncture 2018 will take place mostly in Norway and will rehearse how NATO and its partners would respond if Norway’s sovereignty were threatened.

Foggo, who will lead the exercise, said the exercise will include more than 40,000 personnel from 30 countries, with about 70 ships, 120 aircraft and 10,000 ground vehicles. He stressed the exercise will be defensive, transparent and proportionate to the threat that countries in Europe face. Particularly after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Foggo said it was important to hold Article 5 collective defense rehearsals to ensure all countries can come together effectively in that type of contingency.

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    Opening the 2 fronts at the same time?

    • publius_maximus_III

      Isaac, I saw your same comment in another USNI article on a recent FON incident in the South China Sea. Not sure if I would call these fronts, although certainly to ignore one threat in favor of the other would send the wrong message.

      The USN simply has to be prepared to take on all comers at all times. For me, the Russian subs pose a far greater threat than some coral reefs in the SCS, especially with nuclear-tipped torpedoes that could preemptively wipe out huge population centers along our eastern coastline. I don’t think Putin would risk a nuclear holocaust, but who knows?

      • R’ Yitzchak M

        Hey my friend glad to hear from you. Putin’s mantra about “the cornered rat..” could be factored into that “balanced equation”, China might se that as an opportunity as well either way China is the main benefactor.

        If there would be a nuclear attack it will be the West Coast (Yuri Adropov tried that once before.. for real) yields of charges that they are mounting is quite different than conventional nuclear target damage that is partikularly oriented to i.e. To Main eastern military/civil harbours.. as opposed West Coast tectonicly unstable enviroment compounded with generaly East bound cloud movement for maximum radiation exposure. The Russians have no choice but to go with maximum effect due to surprise attack with everything they got

        Limited warfare? 15%
        All out 75%
        No warfare 10%

        Ukraine was a treashold that brought Russia to totally unatainable position. They are out of choices.

        .. and of course that is only my humble oppinion

        Imagine Russian troups in Texas to protect Texas and California strugle of independence? Russia is ill prepared for the conventional warfare so it most likely would be “non-conventional”

  • ChrisLongski

    Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s half the size of the UK. If Putin wants to bankrupt the country on the way to his demise, hold his coat for him while he does it…

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      You are right on RATIONAL sense.

      Factor this into that equation a whole US State Department’s policy towards the East was formed by German ULTRA BUTCHER and his 350 ULTRA BUTCHERS he become a head of the Gestapo of Warsaw 2 months before extermination of ghetto Jews started, he was an “expert for the Jewish question” another was Eichman but where he really excelled was collecting information from the Russians. He was brought to Washington by the Eisenhower and Dulles they remarkably changed US Intelligence and the training camps for the Eastern blocks refugees he was a head of German Intelligence and conter Intelligence until 1979 he incorporated 350 SS and his special Intelligence Counter-Intelligence special unit “Gehlen Office” with 5,000 Waffen SS thugs those are the guys that shaped the Cold War.. and those are the guys that LAID THE VERY FOUNDATION of the “NEW WORLD ORDER”

      So I doubt that Ruskies today are on the “RATIONAL MODE”

      • Z’ing Sui

        wtf dude. im russian and you’re crazy

        • R’ Yitzchak M

          Ukraine, Georgia, Chechnya, Baltic, and Syria.. Russian “red line” becomes a “PINK LINE”?

          Every new NATO member have a NATO’s “nuclear umbrella” it is NATO’s “Red Line”. Now where is yours..? Moscow?

          Economy? Either you have the money or you don’t.. and without “stuff” you are in the corner and that is the FACT JACK!

          Look at the Chinas economic growth.. where is the Russian? Corruption is rampant and growing?

          Crazy? Yes trying the same things over and over again for 100 years that is a definition of CRAZY

    • I agree. Russia may have disruptive abilities like their cyber warfare, but any defense rebuilding is mostly hype to stoke nationalism of Russia’s populace.

      I would argue that Russians are united by two factors: size and resentment which feed unrealistic defense goals. The Russian landmass spans eleven time zones and their population is the largest in Europe. This enables Russia to economically intimidate its immediate neighbors; a hard habit to break.

      Yet the world mostly ignores Russia. Nobody wants to vacation there, immigrate there or learn Russian. Immigration flows outward. This builds resentment among Russians. They resent being mocked for their icy expanse and exports of fossil fuels, weapons, caviar, vodka, hockey players, hacking, mobsters and mail order brides. They resent the worlds’ loss of interest in buying MiGs and Sukhois. (Even China would rather copy Russian weapons than buy them.) They resent their economy is comparable in size to Spain’s and their exclusion from the G-8. They resent, resent, resent.

      So Russians, especially Cold War romanticists, gravitate toward activities that satiate this resentment of the west. They take pleasure in Putin’s cyber warfare, annexation of the Crimea, and the recent poisoning of defecting spies and dissidents. They buy the defense rebuilding lie despite the corruption they see everywhere. If Russia can’t economically match the west, then disrupting and taunting the west on the cheap is a vengeful alternative. We’re witnessing Russia’s post-Cold War tantrum.

      • ChrisLongski

        All that defense spending is a partial cover for rinsing money to Putin and his cronies. He would learn violating the borders of the former Eastern Block countries would be a meat grinder for his troops — especially Poland.

        Good narrative and analysis — I really liked it.

      • Z’ing Sui

        Well it all sounds convincing, except that most reports agree that Russia’s defense capabilities improved markedly in the last 10 or so years, meaning not all the spending is lost to corruption. Most important are two things. One, Russia’s security concerns are real, even if arguably not the NATO threat they like to complain about. Two, defense spending is not out of control, this year has actually seen the reduction, this means Russia wants to keep the know how and industrial base but will not spend half its GDP on war stuff, learning the Cold War lesson.

        NATO bogeyman does play well politically at home, but it also allows Russia to build troops capable to deal with any medium-scale contingency near its borders, and build and update a credible deterrent against neighbors such as China or Iran without actually antagonizing them.

        Focus on deterrence against bigger players such as NATO or China, have a limited in size but mobile force for local conflicts, and run “good cop/bad cop” diplomacy/intimidation to show Russia will act aggressively if needed – that might be a good way to play Russia’s cards.

  • CBCalif

    What is interesting is that if Russia’s increased threat to the US / NATO is originating from its increasing Submarine force, there is next to no discussion concerning increased ASW capability in the Atlantic in this article. The presence of a CVA in the Atlantic merely provides a target for subs. It has no ASW capability to speak of. A planned substantial increase in VP Squadrons with P-8 aircraft would have been more meaningful. And, while I doubt it would be mentioned, noting what capability has replaced SOSUS would be even more interesting.
    Personally, I wouldn’t take the threat from Russia lightly. They are not going to economically collapse. Their successful performance in Syria demonstrates strategically insightful leadership that has learned how to achieve results at low costs — unlike this country. Notice our ever increasing National Debt and our yet to be successful 17 year campaign in Afghanistan is positively impressing no one around the globe.

    • Pistol

      I love to hear the Truth. Most americans live in a dreamworld of Military superiority. I particularly like your references to CVNs as Targets.Rickover called that many years ago.He said those at sea would all be sunk in 2 days after the outbreak . He was and is still right to-day.

  • Scaathor

    Foggo War is trying to tout for extra money it seems….