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Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here to say goodbye to General Joseph Ralston, to recognize his excellent service to our Alliance, and to welcome General James Jones as the new Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

General Ralston, Joe,

....Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, you have demonstrated real leadership in helping NATO and Allied militaries transform to meet the needs of the modern security environment. By playing critical roles in defining a ground-breaking military concept for the defense against terrorism, to focusing SHAPE on the threats from weapons of mass destruction or cyber attack, your tenure has helped retool the Alliance.

The same applies to reform of the Alliance’s command structure. Thanks in no small part to your strong commitment, and your wise counsel, we have done more in six months than the previous reform process did in six years.

As we have adapted our structures, you have also helped lead a major effort to transform our military capabilities. You have really stuck your neck out on this issue, and I want to thank you for this personal engagement. Without it, we would not have achieved such a worthwhile capabilities package at Prague.

You have demonstrated similar strong leadership in preparing NATO for another round of enlargement and in helping to turn the concept of a Euro-Atlantic community into reality. Your determination to bring the Partners as close as possible to the Alliance, at SHAPE and in the field, has helped them make ever-stronger contributions to our common security. 

Finally, let me mention Russia, because you have worked particularly hard to bring this key country closer to the Alliance. By engaging personally, you sent a strong signal of our commitment to working with Russia. You can take great credit for the way in which we have been able to deepen and broaden our cooperation with Russia over the past year.

The Alliance has transformed dramatically and continues to do so. When you took up your post three years ago, who could have thought that SHAPE would host the force generation conference for the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul and that the Alliance would assume a role in supporting military operations in Afghanistan? Yet that is what we have been preparing for, benefiting from your experience during the last few months when you were in charge. And now that the Alliance should confront threats to our security from wherever they may come, who knows what else the future holds?  

Unified Command Plan (UCP)

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)

NATO Response Force (NRF) The NRF is designed to be a robust, high readiness, fully trained and certified force that is prepared to tackle the full spectrum of missions, including force.

  • The force will have an initial operational capability by 15 October 2003. When final operating capability is reached by the fall of 2006, its troop size will be set at 21,000

NATO chiefs in secret WMD exercise

The Australian

NATO defense chiefs took part in an unusual secret exercise in Colorado yesterday to test the alliance's military responses in a fictional fast-moving crisis involving terrorists and weapons of mass destruction  

NATO Conducts Rapid-Reaction War Game 

Washington Post

NATO has decided to mount a new "NATO Response Force," composed of about 20,000 personnel, that can respond instantly to "asymmetric" threats -- in which the enemy is not a national army but a small, loosely organized guerrilla or terrorist force.   

The transformation of Donald Rumsfeld

Asia Times

The man who is arguably the father of the notion of military transformation, United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, appears to be undergoing his own sort of personal metamorphosis in response to the changing realities of global events involving the United States. In fact, he is undergoing this transformation unabashedly, even with gusto. 


"We cannot transform our military using old weapons and old plans. Nor can we do it with an old mindset that frustrates the creativity and entrepreneurship that a 21st Century military will need." 

- G.W. Bush, May 25, 2001, during commencement exercises at the Naval Academy    

"As we transform our military, we can discard Cold War relics and reduce our own nuclear forces to reflect today's needs."

- G.W. Bush, February 27, 2001  

"Coming on the heels of our victory in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom is proof positive of the success of our efforts to transform our military to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

- Vice President Dick Cheney, May 1, 2003, remarks to the Heritage Foundation  

"We must ensure that the United States military has the training, the equipment, and the facilities they require to remain the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, both in times of war and peace...And we must use these valuable assets to maintain our status as the world’s lone superpower, as we transform our military to face the challenges of the future."

- Senator John Cornyn (R. Tex.), May 1, 2003, Senate floor statement  

 "The longer we wait to transform our military for the new world of high-tech, unconventional, asymmetrical warfare, the more it will cost us down the road, in both dollars and dangers."

- Senator Joe Lieberman, March 7, 2002  

"What's required in the long term – as we spend whatever is necessary on quick fixes, like airport security – is to transform our military's Cold War strategy."

- Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan (USN, ret.), September 20, 2001, former commander of the US second fleet  

"We also share a sense of urgency for the need to transform our military forces to meet the challenges of the 21st Century."

- Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), February 21, 2001, in a letter to G.W. Bush  

"As we move into the 21st Century and face the unique security context of the post-Cold War era, our challenge is to continually transform our military force so that it can effectively respond to an ever-evolving variety of threats."

- Senator Tom Daschle (D. S.Dakota)  

"We will transform our military into a more agile, more versatile, more jointly integrated force that will take full advantage of technological gains."

- Former Vice President Al Gore, Sept. 12, 2000

Office of Force Transformation  

"U.S. Joint Forces Command will transfer its geographic area of responsibility to the Northern and European commands. Joint Forces Command will then change from being a combatant command with geographic and functional responsibilities to a functional combatant command to carry out, as the secretary said, the critical missions of transformation, joint experimentation, and joint training." 

- Gen. Richard Myers, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wednesday, April 17, 2002, United States Department of Defense News Briefing  

Remarks by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson






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