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Jul 12 2022

NATO ALLIANCE GROUND SURVEILLANCE CONTINUES PROGRESS MADE WITH NEW COMMANDER

RAMSTEIN, Germany - On July 11, 2022, General James B. Hecker, Commander Allied Air Command (AIRCOM), handed over the command of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force during a ceremony at the Force's Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy.
The Alliance Ground Surveillance system gives commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground, providing a state-of-the-art Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability to NATO

General Hecker welcomed incoming commander, Brigadier General Andrew M. Clark, and thanked outgoing commander, Brigadier General Houston R. Cantwell, for his hard work and dedication. "The Alliance Ground Surveillance system gives commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground, providing a state-of-the-art Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability to NATO," the AIRCOM Commander said.

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General James B. Hecker (middle), Commander Allied Air Command hands over the command of NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NATO AGSF) from Brigadier General Houston R. Cantwell (left) to Andrew M. Clark (right). Photo by Christian Träger, NATO AGSF
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The AGS NATO RQ-4D aircraft has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements to provide a state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to all Allies. 
Photo: NATO


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"The Alliance Ground Surveillance system gives commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground," said General James B. Hecker during his remarks.
Photo by Christian Träger, NATO AGSF


During the past two years, since General Cantwell took over the Force has made progress in many areas. In February 2021, the Force achieved an Initial Operational Capability. In May 2022, for the first time, the Force flew their RQ-4D remotely piloted aerial vehicles seamlessly on eight consecutive days. Under his command, the intelligence production of the Force has increased exponentially, continuing to generate, edit and distribute thousands of qualified intelligence products to NATO leadership and all 30 Allies.

"We've proven ourselves to be NATO's premiere intelligence hub by providing Allied decision-makers essential ISR. The Ukraine crisis has provided an opportunity to grow at an accelerated pace," said a proud outgoing Commander. "Our exceptional international team from 24 Allied Nations has achieved so much in close coordination with our partners across Europe and North America," he added underlining the close cooperation of his team with the Italian Host Nation authorities, NATO's Support and Procurement Organization and industry partners.

The incoming Commander, Brigadier General Clark, is joining NATO's ISR hub at Sigonella, after commanding the United States Air Force 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. He was in charge of four groups and 16 squadrons and responsible for the wing's ground attack, air superiority, air refueling, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air battle management, control and reporting centre, theatre security cooperation and airlift missions in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia.

"I am excited to lead this unique NATO Force into the future and I look forward to working with the incredible team General Cantwell forged during his tenure," said General Clark. "Together we will continue the success story and further evolve this pivotal NATO capability that plays a critical role in our collective security," he added.

The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force operates and maintains the AGS system comprised of five RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft and the associated European-sourced ground command and control stations. The AGS NATO RQ-4D aircraft has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements to provide a state-of-the-art ISR capability to all Allies.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office in cooperation with NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force Public Affairs Office

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