NATO's Military Committee visits Allied Air Command Headquarters at Ramstein
Ramstein, 5 December - NATO's Military Committee (MC) paid its first official visit to Allied Air Command Ramstein to receive an operational level update and discuss the Alliance's military progress on Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). Nations agreed to develop a NATO BMD capability at the November 2010 Lisbon Summit.
The Military Committee also took the opportunity to view the home of NATO's future single Air command and control headquarters. A new NATO Command Structure was approved by Defence Ministers in June 2011, and the subsequent geographic decision identified locations of the various NATO command entities. The MC gained further insight into Alliance Airpower capabilities and the Air Command's expanded role under the future command construct. One of the Air Command's tasks is to advise how best to integrate BMD into the widely successful NATO Integrated Air Defense System (NATINADS) that is utilized daily to conduct Air Policing. 2011 marks the 50th year of NATINADS providing airspace integrity and defence for the Alliance, and it will serve as a solid backbone for the BMD mission as well.
Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, Acting Chairman of the Military Committee, underlined the critical need for the Alliance to fully develop a Missile Defence capability: "The current global security situation underscores the need for a collective Ballistic Missile Defence capability. We were tasked by the Alliance to protect territory, populations and forces from Ballistic Missile attack because it is essential to our security. After what we've seen and discussed today, I'm convinced that this mission will be conducted in a smart and effective manner. Furthermore, I anticipate that the practical work on this subject within the Military Committee, as well as the wider NATO community, will continue to move forward."
General Welsh, Commander Allied Air Command Ramstein, commented on the visit: "I am extremely honored to host the Acting Chairman and distinguished members of the Military Committee. I am also very proud of the men and women of Allied Air Command Ramstein who worked hard to make this day a success and are committed each and every day to doing their part to help achieve an interim NATO BMD capability."