NATO Secretary General attends change-of-command ceremony at Allied Command Transformation
French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros officially assumed command of NATO's Supreme Allied Command Transformation on Friday (28 September) during a handover ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia attended by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, the French deputy Minister of Defence Kader Arif, Allied Permanent Representatives, the Chairman of the Military Committee General Knud Bartels, and US Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Deputy Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Paloméros took over from French Air Force General Stéphane Abrial, who has held the post for the past three years. The NATO Secretary General used the change-of-command ceremony to emphasise the importance of Smart Defence and the Connected Forces Initiative which he said was the best way to ensure the Alliance is fit to meet today's and tomorrow's security challenges.
Mr. Rasmussen thanked the French authorities for having nominated an exceptional officer to lead Allied Command Transformation and welcomed General Paloméros and his wife to this important NATO Headquarters in the United States. "We look to you, General Paloméros, to help ensure that Allies' national and multinational contributions can be brought together effectively under NATO command and control so that the Alliance stays fit for purpose and fit for the future", the Secretary General said.
The Secretary General also paid tribute to General Abrial for his outstanding job over the last three years. "I want you and everyone here to know how much I have appreciated your support, your advice and your achievements. You have made a difference for NATO, for France and for Allied Command Transformation," he said. Mr. Rasmussen added that during General Abrial's command, Allied Command Transformation had established excellent cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union staff and in particular the European Defence Agency. "These wide networks of cooperation all play an important part in strengthening our Alliance".
The Secretary General awarded General Abrial the NATO Meritorious Service medal.