Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits NATO’s Commands in Italy
From 23 to 24 August 2018, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Steven Shepro was in Italy where he visited the NATO Joint Forces Command in Naples, the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub and the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force in at the Sigonella Air Base.
On 23 August in the morning, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Steven Shepro was welcomed at the NATO Joint Forces Command in Naples (JFC Naples) by its Commander Admiral James Foggo. During their meeting, Lieutenant General Shepro commended the Commander and his staff on the invaluable work they have been doing implementing NATO’s enhanced Defence & Deterrence. The Deputy Chairman added that “JFC Naples leads NATO’s KFOR mission in Kosovo, you head the Headquarters Multinational Division South-East (HQ MND-SE) in Romania as well as the NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) in Bulgaria and Romania. You actively contribute to NATO’s effort to deter aggression and contribute to the effective defense of NATO territory and forces”.
During the visit, Lieutenant General Shepro also received a briefing on NATO’s largest exercise in years, Trident Juncture which will take place in Norway from 25 October to 7 November 2018 and will gather over 40,000 participants from more than 30 nations. Lieutenant General Shepro highlighted the importance of such exercises: “Trident Juncture 2018 is a prime example of NATO Allies and partners working together to ensure that NATO forces are trained and ready. It will be an important test, and a tremendous display of our collective capabilities. The lessons we will learn are very real and so are the benefits for our resilience and our strength”.
In the afternoon, the General received a tour of the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub, NATO’s latest capability to improve its regional situational awareness and understanding of the threats, challenges and opportunities emanating from the South. The centre is designed to promote and enhance partnership, dialogue and cooperation amongst NATO and its regional partners on major issues like terrorism, radicalisation, destabilisation, migration and environmental issues. “The Hub was declared fully operational at the NATO Summit in July and is vital to connect NATO’s Allies and Partners as we work to Project Stability while supporting the rule of law and sound governance”, emphasised Lieutenant General Shepro.
On the final day, Lieutenant General Shepro travelled to the Sigonella Airbase, home to NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Force where he received a tour of the facilities and a progress report. Back in 2010, NATO realised it needed AGS to achieve its 3 core tasks so 15 Allies Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States) decided to acquire five Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and the associated command and control base stations that make up the AGS system. NATO will then operate and maintain them on behalf of all 29 Allies.