New U.S. Fleet Forces boss takes helm Friday

By Lance M. Bacon

Fleet Forces officials have confirmed that Adm. Phil Davidson will assume command Friday in a private ceremony.

A change of command with Adm. William Gortney scheduled for Nov. 24 was cancelled because the Senate failed to confirm Davidson’s replacement in time. Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson, deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, took the helm in the interim.

Davidson’s replacement, Rear Adm. James Foggo, was confirmed on Dec. 9 for a third star and command of U.S. Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy. Gortney now heads U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Davidson is a 1982 Naval Academy grad and surface warfare officer. He will take command amid unprecedented strategic and fiscal challenges. The fleet has entered a much-needed reset and reconstitution phase after 13 years of sustained operations, but funds are lacking and tempo has not eased.

Davidson commanded the frigate Taylor, the cruiser Gettysburg, and the Eisenhower carrier strike group, according to his official bio. At the helm of U.S. naval forces in Europe, he most recently supported the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise. Held from June 6-21, it was the largest, multinational exercise taking place in the Baltic region this year and included 30 ships and 52 aircraft from 14 nations and NATO.

Foggo previously served as assistant deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy. The 1981 U.S. Naval Academy graduate is a submariner by trade and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sixth Fleet is a prestigious billet whose office holders have often gone on to four-star postings. In addition to Davidson, previous Sixth Fleet bosses include Adms. Harry Harris and James Winnefeld. Foggo is a seasoned hand in the Sixth Fleet area, having commanded Submarine Group 8 out of Naples and served as Sixth Fleet’s deputy commander and operations officer for Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the 2011 campaign against the Libyan dictator’s regime.

Back to Top