Politics, World

NATO chief attends change of command ceremony of Allied Command Operations

Jens Stoltenberg welcomes General Christopher Cavoli, new Supreme Allied Commander Europe

Handan Kazanci   | 04.07.2022
NATO chief attends change of command ceremony of Allied Command Operations NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday attended the change of command ceremony of the military alliance's Allied Command Operations.

“We are here today to honor two outstanding military leaders. General Tod Wolters, United States Air Force. And General Christopher Cavoli, United States Army,” Stoltenberg said addressing the ceremony at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.

Stoltenberg was introducing NATO’s outgoing and incumbent Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

“To be called SACEUR is to serve 30 Allies and one billion people,” he said. “To be called SACEUR is to lead. The millions of women and men in uniform across our Alliance. And the tens of thousands of troops under your direct command. To be called SACEUR is to protect an area that extends from the northern tip of Norway to the southern shores of the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic coast to the eastern border of Türkiye.”

“And to be called SACEUR is to defend our democratic values and our way of life,” he added.

“This is one of the most important military jobs in the world at one of the most pivotal times for our security,” he said.

Stoltenberg commended Wolters for his “selfless commitment to our Alliance”, including his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and “responding with speed and strength to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.”

Speaking about Cavoli, Stoltenberg said that his 35-year military career has spanned from Bosnia to Iraq, Afghanistan and Washington D.C.

“Most recently, as Commanding General of US Army Europe and Africa, you have overseen the largest reinforcement of US presence in Europe in decades, with over 100,000 troops,” Stoltenberg added.

“You join us at a turning point for transatlantic security, marked by rising strategic competition and the return of brutal conflict to Europe,” he said.

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