Scaparrotti, who until now, served as the commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, said he believes relationships are the cornerstone of the Alliance.
"I look forward to maintaining the excellent relationship that this command has nurtured for many decades, and will continue to personally invest in relationships that will enable our Alliance to endure any challenge,” Scaparrotti said.
"Today’s challenges have evolved and significantly differ from those of the past,” he said. "Our alliance will need to counter hybrid threats, which can act with little or no warning, and also manifest themselves here ‘at home.”
One of NATO’s two strategic commander posts, the position of SACEUR is the head of Allied Command Operations, the command responsible for the planning and execution of combined, joint, effects-based military operations in order to meet Alliance objectives.
Established in 1951 with General Dwight D. Eisenhower as the first SACEUR, the prestigious post is traditionally held by an American officer.
During his speech, Scaparrotti said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve in this unique role.
"As our Alliance shares a long history formed on mutual commitment to stability and prosperity, it is the greatest honour and privilege to assume command built on such a great legacy," Scaparrotti said.
Highlights of the ceremony included a flyover of four F-16s from the Belgian Air Force in honour of General Breedlove, who is also an F-16 pilot. At the end of the ceremony, eight paratroopers from Allied nations, including the Vice Chief of Staff, French Lieutenant General Michel Yakovleff, landed on the parade field. Each paratrooper carried a flag representing a different aspect of NATO: the host nation of Belgium, NATO, ACO, and Allied Command Transformation (ACT), France in honour of French General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, the European Union, NATO Special Operations Headquarters, and the United States of America in honour of Generals Breedlove and Scaparrotti.
General Scaparrotti assumed command of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) during a similar ceremony on Tuesday in Stuttgart, Germany. SACEUR jointly holds the title of EUCOM commander as a way to achieve interoperability in the aim of strengthening NATO’s collective defence.