NATO Secretary General visits US STRATCOM in Nebraska, Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg continued his visit to the United States on Friday (6 April 2018) with stops at key military installations in Nebraska and Texas.
At US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) in Nebraska, the Secretary General met with General John Hyten, thanking him for his command’s many contributions to the Alliance. Mr Stoltenberg stressed that the US nuclear forces overseen by STRATCOM are the "supreme guarantee" of credible deterrence and Allies’ security. Noting that he had first visited the Command in 1980, the Secretary General said that many thought this headquarters would become less important after the Cold War; but that in the face of evolving threats like nuclear proliferation, it remains as relevant as ever.
At Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, the Secretary General visited the 80th Flying Training Wing, which hosts the world’s only internationally-staffed pilot training programme. After meeting with Brigadier General Ronald Jolly, Sr. and Colonel Andrea Themely, Mr. Stoltenberg addressed a number of pilots graduating today and their families, praising the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Programme as a unique contribution to Allied interoperability and cooperation. Fourteen NATO Allies train pilots at Sheppard, and over the years more than 10,000 Allied pilots have trained at the base, with hundreds more joining their ranks annually. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States all participate. Sheppard Air Force Base has hosted pilot training for over fifty years.
Later on Friday, the Secretary General will visit North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) / US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) in Colorado, together with Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. NORAD is responsible for defending Canada and the United States against threats from the air, such as aircraft and missiles, but its early warning capability is also important for transatlantic defence.