PARIS — Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Navy Adm. Gary Roughead praised the naval forces of France and cited the shared interests and capabilities of the US and French navies during a visit here July 17-21.
"The French navy and the US Navy have many common interests," said Roughead. "We both exist to provide for the safety, security and prosperity of our countries."
During his visit, CNO met with sailors and senior military leadership of France in recognition of the strong maritime partnership between the two nations and to discuss the issues that navies with global interests have in common.
At the Toulon Naval Base, CNO met with the French navy Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, French navy Vice Adm. Yann Tainguy, and visited the newest ship to the French navy, the amphibious ship BPC Tonnerre, as well as the air defense frigate FDA Chevalier Paul and the aircraft carrier PA Charles de Gaulle.
"This is where the US Navy and the French navy share a very common capability, and that is our capability to operate very advanced aircraft from aircraft carriers," Roughead said, pointing out that US and French navies are the only ones in the world to operate nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that use catapult assisted take-offs and arrested landings.
He noted that the French navy recently announced that Charles de Gaulle will deploy later this year to support operations in Afghanistan, where US Navy aircraft also provide air support to coalition forces on the ground.
"It's important that we look at ways that our airpower complements one another, and we look forward to being able to operate with Charles de Gaulle," Roughead said. "The capability and capacity that Charles de Gaulle brings is very appreciated."
CNO was accompanied throughout the visit by his counterpart French navy Adm. Pierre-Francois Forissier, Chief of Staff of the French navy, and Roughead said he valued the opportunity to discuss with Forissier areas of increased cooperation and support between the two navies.
Roughead also praised the French navy's role in countering piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa and helping to guard the free flow of commerce at sea.
"France was a leader in bringing many navies into the fight against piracy in the Somali basin," Roughead said. "The presence of the navies in that region have contributed to bringing down the number of [piracy] incidents, and this is all part of why countries with global interests have global navies – to be present, to be able to influence, and to ensure that the mechanisms of the world economy are uninterrupted."
In Paris, Roughead also met with French navy Adm. Edouard Guillaud, Chief of Staff French Armed Forces and other French officials, and participated in a Ravivage Ceremony at the iconic Arc de Triomphe where he and Forissier laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and met with French veterans of past wars.