Units from USAFE set to help secure upcoming NATO summit
Stars and Stripes March 26, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Units from across U.S. Air Forces in Europe are slated to help provide security at next week’s NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, a 3rd Air Force spokesman said Tuesday.
The security efforts, dubbed Operation Noble Endeavor, will put Air Force aircraft into the skies above the city to deter any threat during the congregation of alliance members.
“We will conduct air combat support patrols to secure the Romanian airspace,” said 3rd Air Force spokesman Maj. Dave Honchul.
Honchul added that airmen also will augment NATO’s command and control support elements at the summit.
Honchul also stressed that the host nation will still be heading the overall security operations.
“The Romanians are in charge of their airspace,” he said. “We are just augmenting them.”
Citing security regulations, Honchul wouldn’t give specific numbers of how many U.S. aircraft or airmen would participate in the operation.
The Bulgarian government said last week that it would grant access for up to 18 U.S. Air Force jets and 500 military personnel into their territory for the summit in neighboring Romania, The Associated Press reported.
From March 31 until April 6, U.S. jets will be permitted to fly over, land and refuel in Bulgaria, the report added.
The summit, being held in Bucharest from April 2-4, will allow heads of state and government leaders to partake in a “high-level expanded meeting on Afghanistan,” according to a NATO news release.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed NATO allies to increase their assistance in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, news reports said.
Other summit talks will cover the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the NATO-Russia Council, the NATO release said.