In the United Kingdom, the outgoing Commander of Allied Maritime Command, Admiral Keith Blount of the Royal Navy, handed over command of NATO’s maritime forces to his successor, Admiral Mike Utley. Admiral Blount moves on to his new job as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO’s second most senior operational military leader.
This month the commanders and ships making up both of NATO’s Northern Maritime Groups also changed. On the 6th of January, Germany took over the leadership of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 from the Netherlands, while on the 17th of January Norway took Command of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 taking over from Estonia. Combined, the four groups make up a powerful naval force under NATO command, protecting the NATO territory and keeping the sea lanes open.
In Lithuania, the six-monthly rotation of Battlegroup Lithuania is now complete. When a Battlegroup rotates, not only the soldiers change. During the rotation over 800 vehicles are deployed and redeployed to support NATO’s forward presence. Regular rotation of NATO’s eight Multinational Battlegroups ensures that the troops are always at the top of their game, ready to deter and, if necessary defend every inch of Alliance territory.
In the Netherlands, JFC Brunssum hosted a visit of seven local mayors of cities in the Dutch Province of Limburg. The visit came at the start of a year in which JFC Brunssum celebrates its seventieth anniversary. Originally established in Fontainebleau, France under the name of Allied Forces Central Europe (or AFCENT), the headquarters moved to the city of Brunssum a few years later.
Today, the headquarters creates more than a thousand jobs for the local community, and indirectly provides over a hundred million Euros a year to the local economy.
Watch the video to learn more!