NATO’s mission in Libya has “now moved much closer” to completion with the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi and the fall of Sirte, his forces’ last major stronghold, on Thursday, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “NATO and our partners have successfully implemented the historic mandate of the United Nations to protect the people of Libya,” said Rasmussen in a statement following Qaddafi’s death. “We will terminate our mission in coordination with the United Nations and the [Libyan] National Transitional Council.” President Obama, in remarks on Qaddafi’s death, also said NATO’s mission “will soon come to an end.” He added: “Our brave pilots have flown in Libya’s skies, our sailors have provided support off Libya’s shores, and our leadership at NATO has helped guide our coalition. Without putting a single US service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives.” The United States and its NATO partners intervened in Libya in March to prevent Qaddafi’s forces from committing mass atrocities against the Libyan populace as a civil war engulfed the north African nation. (Obama remarks) (NATO webpage on Libya mission) (See Daily Mail report for account of Qaddafi’s death.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.