NATO transformation chief chosen

President Bush and the NATO secretary general have nominated Navy Adm. E. P. Giambastiani as the new Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation.

The position will be a new one based on NATO's decision last summer to restructure itself. What had been Allied Command Atlantic will now be Supreme Allied Command-Transformation and will be responsible for ensuring the compatibility of applications, platforms and weapons systems among the 19 member nations of NATO.

Giambastiani already is the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., and is responsible for developing joint concepts and ensuring interoperability within the U.S. armed forces.

If Giambastiani is confirmed by the Senate, "he'll definitely be wearing two different hats, but the jobs are very similar," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dave Waterman, public information officer for Allied Command Atlantic. "He will be responsible for getting joint interoperability with the alliance forces and find how they can best work together."

Waterman said the transformation of NATO will be a two-way street, working in close cooperation with Joint Forces Command.

"Joint Forces Command. . .will continue to take a look at NATO because the intent is to have a shared vision of transformation," he said. "This will not be a case of the U.S. transforming its forces and then forcing everyone else in NATO to adapt themselves to us."

The Allied Command-Transformation (ACT) mission was approved during the 2002 NATO Prague Summit. ACT is intended to help the 50-year-old alliance adapt to new challenges with a more flexible structure, while using an existing trans-Atlantic link and assuring that allied forces will mutually benefit from Joint Forces Command's work in the transformation arena.

In a previous statement, NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson said, "NATO's credibility depends fundamentally on its military capability yesterday. We need to become more effective to keep our people safe in today's uncertain world."

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