NATO Consolidates Air Headquarters

NATO is amalgamating its air headquarters at Izmir, Turkey, and Ramstein AB, Germany, creating the single Allied Air Command, or HQ AIRCOM, at Ramstein, according to a Jan. 17 alliance release. This is part of the alliance’s broader efforts to institute a leaner and more efficient command structure. Gen. Philip Breedlove, US Air Forces in Europe commander, heads the new air command, with responsibility over all air-related matters within NATO, states the release. This include tasks like air policing and ballistic missile defense, and supporting NATO forces in Afghanistan, states the release. The first major task for HQ AIRCOM will be to command and control NATO’s air defense mission in Turkey, states the release. The United States, Germany, and the Netherlands are deploying Patriot missile batteries to help protect alliance member Turkey from potential air and missile threats emanating from neighboring Syria, a nation engulfed in a civil war.