In the presence of the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Ambassadors and the Military Committee, the ceremony marked the official transfer of command from French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros to General Mercier. City of Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and several senior NATO and partner nation officials were also in attendance.
"I am pleased to extend General Mercier a warm welcome to this important and prestigious NATO command position" said Mr. Stoltenberg during his first official visit to Norfolk as NATO Secretary General. "General Mercier arrives with a remarkable operational and leadership record and at a crucial time for the Alliance as we adapt to address complex threats and challenges and ensure our nations and citizens remain safe. I thank General Paloméros for his outstanding service to the Alliance over the last three years and look forward to the continuation of the excellent work done by Allied Command Transformation under General Mercier’s strong leadership."
"I have the utmost confidence in our ability to maintain the pace of our transformation, to ensure the highest level of interoperability of our forces, and provide the best training and the most effective and affordable capabilities" said General Mercier. "I also believe strongly in our capacity to prepare a future based on readiness and responsiveness."
As the leading command managing the planning and execution of NATO military training and exercises, Allied Command Transformation's near-term focus is on supporting Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, scheduled to be the largest NATO exercise in more than a decade. Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will serve to improve the speed in which NATO forces respond to a crisis and demonstrate that the Alliance is prepared to address a variety of threats. Approximately 36,000 military personnel, from over 30 nations will participate in the exercise which will take place throughout Italy, Portugal and Spain in October and November 2015.
One of two NATO Alliance Strategic Commands and the only permanent NATO headquarters in North America, Allied Command Transformation plays an essential role in maintaining and strengthening the vital transatlantic link between Europe and North America, leading the transformation of NATO's military structure, forces, capabilities and doctrine.