Polish Army Lieutenant General Mieczysław Bieniek assumed the duties of Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT) from Italian Navy Admiral Luciano Zappata in a ceremony at Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation September 29.
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gen. Stéphane Abrial, French Air Force, presided over the handover ceremony.
ACT leads the transformation of NATO to ensure Alliance-wide interoperability and integration and the future success of NATO in the new millennium. The Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation plays an important role in leading this change.
In his previous assignment, Bieniek was the Polish Military Representative to the NATO and European Union Military Committees.
“I look forward to assuming the duties of Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and look forward to following in the long line of distinguished officers who have left their mark at this headquarters,” said Bieniek. “This is evident with Admiral Zappata and the issues that he tackled including the maritime strategy as it refers to Partner Nations.”
“General Abrial, it is my pleasure to work for you and with you and provide sound advice and all the support necessary to undertake the mission at hand and as we undertake the challenges ahead,” he added. “Let me assure you, we will succeed.”
“ACT, created in 2003, is still a young strategic command, one that has already firmly established its relevance and credibility in bringing value to the NATO Nations,” said Abrial. “The outgoing DSACT, Admiral Luciano Zappata has played a very significant part in this accomplishment. Admiral, I am saying goodbye today to a trusted deputy whose advice has meant a lot to me in my first year. During the whole of your career you have consistently sought to turn technological progress into real operational dividends. You brought this to ACT, promoting a healthy use of modelling and simulation and showing exceptional leadership in capability development ultimately in the field of interoperability in a quest for better synergies with industry.”
Honoured guest Mr. Bogdan Klich, Polish Minister of Defence, explained the importance of ACT to meeting the needs of the Alliance.
“We all know that the strategic objectives of ACT are to provide support for NATO Nations and operations, facilitate transformation and improve the relationships of practical cooperation with our Partners,” said Klich. “ACT is one of the most important assets of the Alliance. It plays a vital role in the Alliance, not only for the present but also for the future.
“ACT’s job is both conceptual and practical. The first one encompasses providing a framework for the conduct of operations, identifying risks, defining what our future risks will look like and what capabilities we will need. The second one is about implementation. There are many Nations that require capabilities like education, training and planning and lessons learned. In difficult times and times of fundamental change, the importance of this command becomes even more visible.”
Zappata, former head of the Italian Navy, has served as Deputy Commander at NATO’s only strategic headquarters in North America since June 2007.
Nations are the primary beneficiary of ACT’s work and ACT is building a more effective network, inter-connecting national transformation efforts, especially in the areas of capability development and training. Zappata made important contributions in this area for NATO as DSACT. He increased ACT and NATO’s interaction with Partner Nations participating in Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation’s Initiative (ICI) Programs.
Zappata was also the key proponent of the Maritime Security Operations Initiative, the Alliance Maritime Strategy, the Countering Hybrid Threats initiative, and building partnerships with the UN and EU in creating the Comprehensive Approach and to promote ACT collaboration with industry in developing the FFCI initiative.
“Three years ago, from where I am standing now, I asked to work together with you,” said Zappata. “I am here to thank you for your efforts and supporting me and other flag and general officers so well. There three years I saw ACT accomplish an incredible jump forward and become one of the most relevant components of the Alliance. This extremely positive transformation has been made possible by the tireless work that you have done to make this change.”
Honoured guests included Mr. Robert Kupiecki, Polish Ambassador to the U.S.and Paul Fraim, Mayor of Norfolk.