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Sep 17 2020

NATO's newest Command in the Atlantic region reaches first operational milestone

MONS, Belgium – NATO’s newest operational command, Joint Force Command (JFC) Norfolk, officially reached initial operating capability (IOC) on Thursday, Sept 17, 2020 with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.

In reaching IOC, the JFC Norfolk commander determined that the command is ready to take on an initial set of tasks in accordance with the direction and guidance of NATO’s 30 member states.

JFC Norfolk’s efforts are already delivering great coherence in our vigilance activities

“This ceremony marks a significant milestone in providing a new, crucial location and link to the Alliance, ultimately ensuring a 360-degree approach for our collective NATO defence and security,” said Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, Commander of Joint Force Command Norfolk. He also serves as the Commander of U.S. Second Fleet.

Royal Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Betton, Deputy Commander, Joint Force Command Norfolk (JFCNF), (left) and U.S. Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, Joint Force Command Norfolk, cut the ribbon during JFCNF's Initial Operational Capability ceremony at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads, Virginia, Sept. 17, 2020. JFCNF will deliver multinational and NATO joint effects, maintain readiness, protect the North Atlantic strategic lines of communication, deter aggression, contribute to NATO responsiveness, secure reinforcements and resupply, and if necessary project power to defend its Allies and Partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theodore Green/Released)

Amongst the distinguished guests at the in-person ceremony were Admiral Chris Grady, commander, United States Fleet Forces, Vice Admiral P M Bennett, Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Command Transformation and General Tod D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, who attended online and offered congratulations and support on this achievement.

“JFC Norfolk’s efforts are already delivering great coherence in our vigilance activities and the insightful work on DDA (Defence and Deterrence of the Atlantic area) alignment, and contributions to Allied Command Transformation’s war-fighting capstone concept, serve to maintain NATO’s advantage in competition, crisis and conflict,” said General Wolters.                                
U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, Joint Force Command Norfolk (JFCNF), and Royal Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Betton, Deputy Commander, JFCNF, host a virtual ceremony to announce JFCNF's Initial Operational Capability on Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Virginia, Sept. 17, 2020. JFCNF will deliver multinational and NATO joint effects, maintain readiness, protect the North Atlantic strategic lines of communication, deter aggression, contribute to NATO responsiveness, secure reinforcements and resupply, and if necessary project power to defend its Allies and Partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua M. Tolbert)

This new command is part of the Allied Command Operations structure and is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. It will provide a U.S.-led, joint multi-national operational command, supported by component, Allied and partner commands, responsible for the North Atlantic, the High North, and adjacent littorals. It is the first NATO headquarters dedicated to the Atlantic since 2003.

The North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATO’s highest decision making body, announced the activation of JFC Norfolk as a NATO military body on July 26, 2019 in order to increase NATO’s readiness across the Atlantic, strengthen the trans-Atlantic bonds with Allies and Partners, increase readiness to defend NATO’s Allies and Partners in the North Atlantic and High North, and ultimately, deter aggression from any potential adversaries. 

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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