NATO's first SACT, commander of USJFCOM bids farewell
ABOARD USS Theodore Roosevelt -- NATO's first Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) and the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) bade farewell in a ceremony here today.
Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., leaves the two Norfolk-based commands to assume his new role as the seventh vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff later this month.
U.S. Air Force General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke during the ceremony and touched upon many of Giambastiani's and the command's achievements over the last three years, including creating a better lessons learned process for USJFCOM, forging a way ahead for NATO by creating the Allied Command Transformation, and growing the international partnership opportunities within USJFCOM and NATO.
“These efforts to strengthen international relationships are important because no one nation can achieve victory alone,” said Myers referring the global war on terrorism.
He added that international partnership creates a force that is capable of facing all potential enemies and is also culturally transformational.
Myers praised the admiral and both of his commands as having done “an absolutely outstanding job meeting the challenges of transforming U.S. and NATO forces.”
“We can not protect ourselves today and tomorrow with yesterday's forces and yesterday's ideas,” said Myers, who credited ACT and USJFCOM with the continual success of armed forces to adapt to new warfighting environments.
Myers said that leading the fight against global extremists is a tremendous responsibility and the United States and NATO have been fortunate to be guided by the “steady hands of Admiral Giambastiani, a man chosen for his intelligence, extraordinary vision, and strong leadership.”
“There's no doubt that we need your transformation mind in the beltway,” Myers was quick to add.
NATO was represented by Amb. Ed Kronenburg, Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General of NATO. “NATO's loss is US's gain,” said Kronenburg, in reference to Giambastiani moving on to his new role in the Joint Chief of Staff.
As the first ACT commander, Giambastiani has been instrumental in pushing ACT forward and has made lasting contributions to the future of NATO, said Kronenburg.
Under Giambastiani's command, his innovation, and relentless energy, “ACT has become a fine feature of NATO's new alliance,” Kronenburg added.
Kronenburg highlighted ACT's accomplishments under Giambastiani's leadership, to include: the stand-up of three new major commands - Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway, Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland and the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre in Monsanto, Portugal and partnerships with industry, academia, and research institutions across the Alliance .
According to Kronenburg, the admiral has played a key role in the development of the NATO Response Force (NRF) to meet the urgent needs of allied nations.
Giambastiani spoke after receiving the Defense Distinguished Service Medal from Myers and the NATO Meritorious Service Medal from Kronenburg.
Giambastiani said that he is as excited now as he was when he first accepted command of ACT and USJFCOM. “Transformation is an exciting mission—an incredibly important mission.”
While Giambastiani acknowledged the tremendous progress both the U.S. and the NATO Alliance have made in transforming military capabilities, he noted it takes more than just overwhelming force by the military to be successful in defeating extremism around the globe.
”We can no longer rely simply on overwhelming force to protect us from the realities we face in today's struggle against extremism. We must rely on the overmatching power of all of our instruments of national and Alliance power—not just military power, but also the diplomatic, informational, and economic instruments of power as well,” said Giambastiani.
Giambastiani stressed that this is critical in shaping the world in which we live, in order to “defend our way of life and to promote human ideals in the face of extremists that offer no hope, no program for the future and no basis for democratic dialogue.”
Also critical, according to Giambastiani is “an entrepreneurial human spirit that Transformation seeks to exploit.” “One that has brought the two commands to where they are today, one that takes risks, that dares and on occasion fails, but that grows stronger in the attempt.”
Giambastiani relayed key accomplishments which the commands have achieved, including bringing capabilities to the world's warfighters, bringing intellectual capital to the Hampton Road's area, obtaining status similar to U.S. national laboratories with limited acquisition authority, and increasing the number of foreign liaison officers from seven to 60 at USJFCOM, and two to 24 at ACT.
I see “an economic, academic, and intellectual renaissance here in Hampton Roads, partially fueled by the transformation work we are conducting here,” said Giambastiani.
Giambastiani addressed the men and women of the four service component commands under USJFCOM, and said they were the “forcing agents of change” that produce capabilities and processes that give combatant commanders around world the ability to affect change while looking after the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines which they are leading.
Giambastiani said that it is easy for military, civilians and contractors, who work in cubicles, to lose sight of the progress the commands are accomplishing, because they are so focused on their own projects, but he can see that the command is delivering capabilities to the warfighters.
Giambastiani went on to comment on his NATO command by saying that over the past several months ACT “has taken on the challenge of promoting security in an uncertain globalize and fluid world. This military capability has been critical in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, and Iraq.”
Giambastiani noted the significant milestones NATO and ACT have achieved in the past few years with the command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, and the recent logistics support to the humanitarian disaster in the Sudan.
In his concluding comments, Giambastiani said he remains excited about the future of USJFCOM and ACT and his new job in the Pentagon. “I wake up everyday thinking of ways to make someone else successful” said Giambastiani. “I will bring that same philosophy to my next assignment.”
A native of Canastota , N.Y., the admiral will become the nation's second highest ranking military officer. In his duties as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the admiral will serve as the chairman of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, vice chairman of the Defense Acquisition Board, and as a member of the National Security Council Deputies Committee and the Nuclear Weapons Council.
In addition, he will act for incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace in all aspects of the Department of Defense's Planning, Programming and Budgeting System to include participating in meetings of the Defense Resources Board.
Pres. George W. Bush has not announced a relief for Adm. Giambastiani. In the interim, USJFCOM‘s Deputy Commander Army Lt. Gen. Robert Wagner will assume duties as acting commander USJFCOM. United Kingdom Royal Navy Adm. Sir Mark Stanhope, KCB, OBE, will assume duties as acting commander Allied Command Transformation.