Updated: 28-Apr-2005 NATO Speeches


27 Apr. 2005

Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the opening of the CNAD exhibition at NATO HQ

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to open this third CNAD Exhibition on Defence Against Terrorism, entitled “Safe Horizons – Shielding NATO Aircraft”. The topic for this event is a very important one. Whenever and wherever NATO military forces are deployed, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or in the Balkans, they now face the growing threat of ground attack against airplanes and helicopters. Indeed, the same threat now affects all aspects of civilian aviation.

Man-portable ground to air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades are widely available all around the world. By their actions, as recently as last week in Iraq, terrorist groups have shown that they possess the most advanced of these systems. One must assume that, despite the best efforts of some governments, new technologies are finding their way into the hands of these terrorist organisations. That is why NATO and NATO Nations have to continually improve their ability to protect aircraft. We need to get ahead, and stay ahead, of the threat.

NATO leaders are well aware of this issue, and measures are being taken to address the threat. For instance, work on equipping the AWACS fleet with an advanced protection system is now well on track. Of course, the work of the CNAD is at the heart of our effort and is proceeding well. This exhibition is an important contribution to the overall NATO agenda.

The CNAD Exhibition “Safe Horizons” brings together technological and industrial expertise from ten NATO Nations. You, the exhibitors, will have the opportunity to make contact with senior national and NATO representatives, including the National Armaments Directors of NATO Nations, and engage in a productive exchange.

Correspondingly, NATO and NATO Nations will be able to get a good overview of the technology currently available to counter the threat, and this will help us to focus our future research, technology and acquisition efforts.

I welcome National Armaments Directors and their staff, who, on behalf of their Nations, are working on the issue of aircraft protection. I also cordially welcome the exhibitors. NATO is certainly grateful for the time and effort you have investing by coming here. Last but not least, I want to thank the Defence Investment Division for hosting and organising this event, in close cooperation, of course, with all the other NATO services involved, in particular the Executive Management Division.

I now declare the 3 rd CNAD Exhibition – Safe Horizons, shielding NATO Aircraft, officially open. Please join me in a visit of the exhibition.

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