Admiral Michelle J. Howard, commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, commander, United States Naval Forces Europe and commander, US Naval Forces Africa, will visit Abuja, Nigeria, September 7-8, where she will meet senior Nigerian civilian and military officials to discuss maritime collaboration and the naval bilateral relationship.
Admiral Howard is scheduled to visit Nigeria’s naval headquarters for discussions with Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibom Ete Ibas. The Admiral is also expected to meet with Nigerian graduates of U.S. service academies and deliver a presentation on women, peace and security at the Nigerian Defence College.
“Nigeria has over 450 miles of coastline and their central location in the Gulf of Guinea makes their Navy a key player in the fight against illicit maritime activity,” said Howard. I’m visiting to discuss the security challenges and deepening our relationship in training and exercises,” says Howard.
The visit will allow Howard to talk to Nigeria’s leaders about the significant contributions they can make to confronting security challenges and enhancing stability throughout the region. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, headquartered in Naples, Italy, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, to enable enduring relationships and increase vigilance and resilience in Europe and Africa.
Admiral Michelle Howard graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998, with a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences. She took command of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) March 12, 1999, becoming the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy.
On July 1, 2014, Howard became the first woman promoted to the rank of four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy. That day she was also appointed the 38th vice-chief of naval operations (VCNO), making her the second highest ranking officer in the U.S. Navy.