RAMSTEIN, Germany – U.S. Air Force General Jeffrey L. Harrigian assumed command of NATO's Allied Air Command (AIRCOM), U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and U.S. Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA) during a ceremony at Ramstein Air Force Base, on Wednesday, 1 May 2019. General Harrigian assumes command from U.S. Air Force General Tod D. Wolters who has been at the helm of Allied Air Command since August 2016. In a ceremony attended by senior military and civilian personnel representing NATO, the United States, Host Nation Germany and local communities, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, conducted the handover of command.
"Today we honour two distinguished aviators, leaders, and warriors … as we say farewell to General Wolters and we welcome General Harrigian," said General Scaparrotti. "Tod, your tour as the AIRCOM Commander was absolutely brilliant. Your focus on delivering readiness among our Air Forces enhanced the Alliances' warfighting capability. With three tours in Europe, Jeff has a significant amount of regional expertise and brings the right combination of knowledge, experience, and strategic vision to the job."
The outgoing commander, General Wolters, is selected to serve as the 19th Supreme Allied Commander Europe, replacing General Scaparrotti, who is responsible for developing, planning and executing Allied military operations in support of the NATO Alliance's political objectives. "I applaud your efforts," said General Wolters, addressing the men and women in uniform attending the ceremony. "We stood side by side for the last 34 months and we've done what we are responsible for: We delivered peace," he continued.
Looking out over detachments from NATO's Allied Air Command, USAFE and AFAFRICA, General Harrigian addressed the audience for the first time as their new Commander saying "As NATO celebrates 70 years of keeping peace on the European continent, our mission remains crystal clear" said General Harrigian. "We will work closely as a team to deliver decisive air, space, and cyberspace capabilities for our Allies," he added.
In his capacity as Commander Allied Air Command, General Harrigian is one of three NATO component commanders subordinate to Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium. Allied Air Command is responsible to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe for delivering Air and Space Power for the Alliance. The Command's peacetime missions include delivery of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence, including Ballistic Missile Defence, and Operational Control of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force at Geilenkirchen, Germany. Later in 2020, Allied Air Command will also take Operational Control of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force at Sigonella, Italy. In its operational role, Allied Air Command provides the core of the NATO Command Structure Joint Force Air Component Headquarters capable of supporting planning for and establishing air command and control of Alliance operations at all scales of conflict. Twenty-five of NATO's 29 nations contribute to the manning of Allied Air Command's Headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, and its subordinate units – the Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, and the Deployable Air Command and Control Centre at Poggio Renatico, Italy.
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office