New NATO commander vows "new missions"
for alliance



Agence France Presse, 6 September, 2000

REYKJAVIK, Iceleand (AFP) -- A top new NATO commander said here Wednesday the alliance was making major changes in preparation for new missions it would face in coming years including fighting crime and illegal immigration.

"In the last 10 years, NATO had to adapt itself to the new security situation" in the world, US Army General William Kernan, the alliance's new supreme allied commander-Atlantic, or SACLANT, said at a defense symposium.

"In the future, the task will not only be to defend the borders (of its member states) but to fight against ethnic violence, international crime and illegal immigration.

"The alliance must have a response to the new security environment, carry out new missions and reshape its security system," Kernan said.

He spoke one day after formally taking command and becoming the first army officer to head SACLANT, one of two strategic commands within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The command has traditionally gone to an admiral because its Cold War mission was to check the Soviet navy in the Atlantic and ensure the flow of US forces to Europe.

At its 50th anniversary summit in Washington in 1999, NATO formally adopted a new doctrine expanding the alliance's mission in light of the collapse of the Soviet Union which it was set up to counter.

Kernan said NATO had succeeded in its original mission and now needed to adapt to confront new security realities in the world.



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