Libya Op run from hi-tech NATO command center in Italy

Naval cadets of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force visit NATO Joint Force Command Naples, August 20, 2009.

From Sloboda Lekic, the AP:  Canadian Gen. Charles Bouchard will be in charge of both the air campaign and the naval task force implementing an arms embargo, a NATO official said.

Directed from one of NATO’s most sophisticated command centers, near Naples, Italy, an array of fighter jets will scream southward toward Libya, mostly from bases in Italy, to drop their payloads or patrol the skies. The NATO center will also coordinate the radar surveillance planes, aerial refueling tankers, maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters needed to maintain the operation 24 hours a day, [Capt. Geoffrey] Booth said.

The operation will be run from Joint Forces Command headquarters, one of NATO’s two operational headquarters. The other, Brunssum in the Netherlands, is responsible for the war in Afghanistan.

During the Cold War, the sprawling Italian seaside facility served as NATO’s headquarters for all of southern Europe. It boasts highly advanced communications equipment that enables commanders to maintain-real time contact with NATO forces anywhere in the region. …

Bouchard will serve under U.S. Adm. Samuel Locklear, who commands NATO’s operations headquarters for the Mediterranean in Naples. Both are subordinate to the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, Adm. James Stavridis in Belgium, one of a new crop of officers and diplomats brought in by Obama to run the war in Afghanistan. …

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the operation, approved for up to three months, could be extended if necessary.

From Allied Joint Force Command Naples:  Commander Allied Joint Force Command Naples (COM JFC Naples) is to be prepared to conduct the full range of military operations throughout the NATO Area of Responsibility (AOR) and beyond in order to deter aggression and to contribute to the effective defence of NATO territory and forces, safeguard freedom of the seas and economic lifelines and to preserve or restore the security of NATO nations. In addition, he is to contribute to crisis management and deterrence by ensuring that assigned headquarters and forces are at the designated state of readiness for the conduct and support of operations, and to conduct prudent operational level military analysis and planning that includes the identification of required forces. …

Contributing nations:  Twenty-two NATO nations contribute to the JFC Naples integrated military staff: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. Several Partner nations are also represented within a PfP Staff Element.  (photo:  JFC Naples Public Affairs)

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