NATO chief attends Allied Command Operations change of command ceremony
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended the change of command ceremony for the Allied Operations Command of the military alliance on Monday.
“We are here today to honor two outstanding military leaders. General Tod Wolters, United States Air Force. And General Christopher Cavoli, United States Army,” Stoltenberg said during the ceremony at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.
Stoltenberg introduced NATO’s outgoing and outgoing Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
“To be called SACEUR is to serve 30 Allies and a billion people,” he said. “To be called SACEUR is to lead. The millions of women and men in uniform of our Alliance. And the tens of thousands of soldiers under your direct command. To be called SACEUR is to protect an area stretching from the northern tip of Norway to the southern shores of the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic coast to the eastern border of Turkey.
“And being called SACEUR means defending our democratic values and our way of life,” he added.
“This is one of the most important military jobs in the world at one of the most crucial times for our security,” he said.
Stoltenberg praised Wolters for his “selfless commitment to our Alliance,” including his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning the Resolute Support mission to Afghanistan, and “responding with speed and force to the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia”.
Speaking of Cavoli, Stoltenberg said his 35-year military career spanned from Bosnia to Iraq, Afghanistan and Washington DC.
“Most recently, as commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe and Africa, you oversaw the largest buildup of the U.S. presence in Europe in decades, with more than 100,000 troops,” Stoltenberg added.
“You join us at a turning point for transatlantic security, marked by growing strategic competition and the return of brutal conflict in Europe,” he said.
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