NATO chief appoints US defense official as deputy

US Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow.

From the AP:  NATO’s secretary-general says he will appoint Alexander Vershbow, the current U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security, as his next deputy.

He will be the first American to serve in that post. Traditionally, NATO’s secretary-general and his deputy are Europeans, while the supreme military commander is a U.S. officer.

From NATO:  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has decided to extend the term of the Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero from Italy, which was due to expire at the end of September 2011, until the summer of 2012. He has also decided to appoint Ambassador Alexander Vershbow from the US as the next Deputy Secretary General.

"NATO will be able to benefit from Ambassador Bisogniero’s indispensable contribution to the reform and transformation issues on which he played such a key role in the run-up to the Lisbon summit," Mr Rasmussen said. "I have thought it best to take an early decision on Ambassador Bisogniero’s successor to ensure a smooth transition in this crucial post. Ambassador Vershbow will take up his new duties on June 1, 2012. I am delighted that he will return to NATO Headquarters, where he served with such distinction as US Ambassador in 1998-2001."

From DPA:  Under an informal arrangement, the position of NATO Deputy Secretary General since 1985 has been held by a succession of Italian diplomats.  (photo: US State Department)

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