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VADM Cosgriff Meets Kazakhstani Naval Leaders

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071005-07
Release Date: 10/5/2007 12:57:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Seth Clarke, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff met with leaders of Kazakhstan’s navy and border guard in Astana, Sept. 26.

The trip to Kazakhstan, the largest country in the NAVCENT area of responsibility, was Cosgriff’s first visit since assuming command of NAVCENT/C5F February 2007.

Cosgriff and other NAVCENT personnel met with military leaders at the Ministry of Defense as well as with Kazakhstan’s border guard leaders at their headquarters. Cosgriff and the Kazakhstani leadership discussed many facets of military expertise, focusing on the range of activity needed to build and sustain a ready and relevant force.

“One of the challenges the U.S. Navy has historically faced and has repeatedly managed to successfully overcome is how to take a force that was designed for one type of work and apply that force to be successful in a new mission,” Cosgriff told his hosts. “We have learned how to continually adapt to the changes demanded by changing times, and this may be of interest to Kazakhstan.”

Cosgriff said there are strong similarities of the challenges facing Kazakhstan in the Caspian and Persian Gulf States. In both areas, relatively new navies are protecting off-shore and onshore infrastructures. They also face similar geographic and hydrographic challenges.

Addressing a group of U.S. and Kazakhstan military officers and embassy staff through an interpreter, Kazakhstani Navy Capt. 1st Rank Zhandarbek Zhanzakov said he agrees there are similarities between the two bodies of water.

“I agree that the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea are similar. They are also similar concerning their defense—on the surface of the water, on the shores and borders,” Zhanzakov said.

Cosgriff believes Kazakhstan may be able to benefit from NAVCENT experience conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf. Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

“I think the challenge for Kazakhstan is pretty complex,” Cosgriff said. “You must educate the public that the Caspian is Kazakhstani territory, and you must have a vision of a Kazakhstani navy that exists within the foundation of other forces, such as the Border Guard Service. Then you have to get the money for your concept, and then the people. And you have to do it all at once,” he said.

NAVCENT cooperates with partner nations’ forces to help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counterterrorism and security efforts in regional nations’ littoral waters.



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