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Statement Commander JFC Brunssum

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Commander JFC Brunssum on self-isolation

Brunssum, the Netherlands, 26th of March – it is with a heavy heart I inform you that I have been forced to put myself into quarantine as a member of my immediate staff has tested positive for the Coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic is a test for us all and we must all adhere to the robust measures implemented to limit the virus’ spread and minimize risks to our soldiers, civilians, families and the communities we serve.

But, be assured, I will be working from home and will be able to oversee headquarters’ activities remotely. And, at the headquarters, I am more than well represented by the Deputy Commander who will keep all essential tasks and activities on the right track. To further reduce the risk to staff I have reduced manning levels at the headquarters to a minimum and refocused priorities such that all routine and non-critical work has been put ‘on hold’ for the time being. The steps I have taken are synchronised with actions underway at all NATO commands in order to prioritize mission-critical activities and sustain the readiness that maintains deterrence however long the crisis lasts. The bottom line is that the pandemic delivers a serious challenge that demands serious responses but it will be overcome. In the meantime, NATO will continue to take steps to ensure the physical security of Alliance member states is sustained.

As I am writing you this, my thoughts are also going out to our troops deployed abroad, to their loved ones and not least to our neighbours here in the Dutch community of Brunssum and of Limburg province.

Brunssum is not only our garrison, but Brunssum is also home to us. We are soldiers and civilians from 26 NATO nations and four partner nations stationed here. We are ready to help at all times as the spirit of NATO has been for more than 70 years that we are helping each other. My staff and I are available 24/7 if needed. It is crucial in these times to carefully coordinate all efforts. That is what we are doing and I am glad to see that a tri-national working group has been established on government level between the Netherlands, Belgium and the Federal German State of Northrhine-Westfalia. This will help us through the upcoming months and we stand by to assist. Besides all that, NATO continues to provide security. This is precious in times like these. I am wishing you all the best, stay healthy!

Erhard Bühler

General

Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum

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