SIGONELLA, Italy - The Commander of NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NAGSF) handed over the command of the Operations Wing continuing to move the Force forward.
In front of an RQ-4D Phoenix unmanned aircraft and the NAGSF staff, the Commander, Brigadier General Houston Cantwell, highlighted Colonel Wolfgang Asmus', outgoing Operations Wing commander, achievements. "From a vastly different NATO AGS organisation with no aircraft, no flight operations and a budding intelligence analysis operation three years ago, NAGSF has achieved initial operational capability earlier this year," Brigadier General Cantwell said, adding that "NAGSF has achieved so much under your leadership".
The NATO AGS Force continues to work towards accomplishing its mission of providing state-of-the-art ISR products to the Alliance
The unique NATO Force was established at Sigonella in 2015 to conduct full-spectrum Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations in support of NATO and its commanders operating RQ-4D unmanned aircraft. Over the last three years, the force has made enormous progress –all five RQ-4Ds arrived in Sigonella, the NAGSF team generated almost 4,000 intelligence products shared among all 30 NATO Allies, flew 46 successful operational missions including sustained operations, generating three consecutive flights in three days.
The staff of NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance Force gathered inside an aircraft hangar for one of the RQ-4D Phoenix unmanned aircraft. Photo by Manfred Reudenbach.
NAGSF Commander Brigadier General Houstan Cantwell, outgoing Operations Wing Commander Colonel Wolfgang Asmus and incoming Operations Wing Commander Colonel Marco Meyer during the ceremony. Photo by Sebastian Klix.
NAGSF Commander Brigadier General Houstan Cantwell handing over the Operations Wing banner to incoming Commander Colonel Marco Meyer during the ceremony. Photo by Sebastian Klix.
One of five NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force RQ-4D Phoenix unmanned aircraft outside one of the newly built aircraft hangars at Sigonella Air Base, Italy Photo by Manfred Reudenbach.
In his welcome remarks for the incoming Operations Wing Commander, Colonel Marco Meyer, General Cantwell mentioned three charges – "continue to focus on professionalism, to bring precision and attention-to-detail into the operations wing and commit to building partnership inside and outside of the NAGSF".
"The NATO AGS Force continues to work towards accomplishing its mission of providing state-of-the-art ISR products to the Alliance" said General Cantwell. "This includes the processing, editing and distribution of these products to NATO decision makers. The team is also working with Host Nation Italy, the contractors and NATO Support and Procurement Agency to upgrade our RQ-4D aircraft, the infrastructure and analysis systems, enabling this unique Allied capability to become more effective every day" he concluded.