NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, conducted a three-day visit to Norway this week to meet with Norwegian defence and political leaders, including Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, and discuss the future role of Norway in the Alliance.
During an interview with the Norwegian Armed Forces Media Centre on September 23, 2014, SACT stressed that the Alliance forces still will be highly active in Europe, especially in the East.
"We will continue our reassurance measures. We will show that we are present and that there is no lack of will to defend our member states if necessary," said General Paloméros.
He said that one reassurance measure taken would be increased exercise frequency in Eastern Europe. This can be seen later this fall when NATO conducts a two-month exercise in Latvia. A battle group from the Norwegian military will take part.
"NATO will always be ready," General Paloméros said. "We are therefore continually working for a strong cooperation between our member states, but also with our partner countries and other partners like the EU [European Union]," said SACT.
General Paloméros highlighted Norway's experience and expertise in military preparedness and training in cold climates and noted that this expertise is important for NATO's role in the Arctic.
"Many parties and countries have interests in the Arctic; among them are several of our members," said SACT. "We hope and wish that the Arctic remains a quiet area where the involved can share the opportunities that exist in the Arctic."
He added that NATO will be present in the Arctic, should it become necessary. "I want to stress that NATO is an alliance for peace and security, but we will also be present if and when needed."
SACT is the second senior NATO leader to visit Oslo in recent months. Three months ago, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip Breedlove, visited the capital city.