Jun 08, 2011 (DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS/ContentWorks via COMTEX) — Story Number: NNS110608-14 Release Date: 6/8/2011
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Viramontes, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public, Affairs
CONSTANTA, Romania (NNS) — Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61), arrived in Constanta for a scheduled three-day port visit as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), June 6.
During the visit, U.S. and Romanian dignitaries were given the opportunity to learn about Monterey’s ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities and how it integrates into the EPAA.
The U.S. Navy is working with allies on integrating EPAA for missile defense architecture with NATO members’ missile defense capabilities, as well as with the emerging NATO command and control networks. This phased approach is designed to develop the capability to augment the current protection of the U.S. and Europe against short and medium-range ballistic missile threats.
“Visits like this serve to highlight our continued partnership, and more importantly, it provides opportunities to discus topics of mutual interest,” said Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “Additionally, I gain a better understanding of your military and look for ways where we can continue to work together. The purpose of my visit is to meet with local, civil and military officials, and welcome them to view this great ship. Romania is a close friend and valued NATO ally; our two countries are working together on some of today’s most pressing security challenges such as operations in Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan and now in Libya.”
The first phase of EPAA consists of Aegis ships deployed in the 6th Fleet area of operations, and a forward-based transportable radar surveillance system in southern Europe. This will help provide protection across much of southern Europe against medium-range ballistic missiles. The Aegis Ashore is the planned future land-based component of the BMD system. This land-based system is designed to be mobile and allows it to support worldwide deployments.
“This is one of Monterey’s most important port visits on this deployment,” said Capt. James W. Kilby, USS Monterey commanding officer. “Romania has agreed to host Aegis Ashore which is EPAA phase two, and since the Monterey is part of phase one, my Sailors will be able to demonstrate the multi-mission capabilities we have aboard.”
While in port, the ship hosted a press conference, reception and ship tours with Teodor Baconschi, minister of foreign affairs for Romania; Mircea Geoana, president of the Senate of Romania; Mark H. Gitenstein, U.S. ambassador to Romania; and Harris.
“The visit of Monterey exemplifies the excellent relationship between Romania and the United States; a relationship that we are certain will continue to become stronger and deeper,” said Gitenstein. “While the military relationship is extremely active and growing, our partnership goes far beyond military cooperation. These pallets on the pier are donations from the U.S. Navy, as part of the Monterey’s visit, totaling several thousand dollars of humanitarian donations for schools, orphanages and hospitals in the Constanta and Tulcea regions.”
While in Constanta, Monterey Sailors will also conduct a community relations project delivering toys, school supplies and health kits provided by Project Handclasp for schools, orphanages and hospitals in the Constanta and Tulcea regions. They will also have the opportunity to experience the local culture during tours and by exploring on their own.
Monterey, homeported out of Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. Cruisers are multi-mission capable ships that can fulfill any number of maritime security requirements.