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French relief in command of the ACT in Norfolk

(B2 in Norfolk, Virginia) Taking over is NATO Transformation Command (ACT), one of the main military commands of the Alliance

The handover ceremony begins (© NGV / B2)

General (French) Philippe Lavigne took over from his compatriot General André Lanata, at the head of what is one of the main commands of the Atlantic Alliance. The ACT is responsible for Transforming the Alliance, that is to say keeping an eye on future developments and preparing NATO for the conflicts and crises of tomorrow… or the day after tomorrow.

The military representatives all there, or almost, at the change of command ceremony. (© NGV / B2)

In the large hall of the city's naval museum, the entire NATO community was gathered. Most of the military representatives within the Alliance traveled to the USA to attend the ceremony. But a good military ceremony cannot be conceived without an orchestra…

A small brass band plays the anthems of NATO, France and the USA in turn (© NGV / B2)

To those who might doubt France's presence in NATO's integrated command, there is no doubt here. “ France is a strong and highly valued NATO ally, with cutting-edge capabilities and highly professional forces », Launches the Secretary General in his speech.

French and American flags side by side during the ceremony. The French flag slightly ahead during the national anthem (© NGV / B2)
When the American anthem is played, the flag with 50 stars takes another step forward. In the foreground, hand on heart, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander (Democrat) (© NGV / B2)

« For more than a decade, France has appointed its best officers to take this command », continues Jens Stoltenberg. A fairly natural compliment in this type of ceremony, but which takes on particular significance in the midst of the fallout from the AUKUS submarine affair.

General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg ascends the podium to ensure the passing of the flags. (Credit: NATO)

It all took place in Norfolk, the headquarters of the ACT. Norfolk is more than that. The city is also home to one of the largest naval bases in the United States and the headquarters of theU.S. Navy's Fleet Forces Command.

The Norfolk Naval Base located on the Hampton Road peninsula (© NGV / B2)

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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