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STUTTGART, Germany — The deactivation of NATO’s Allied Air Command was marked Wednesday during a ceremony at its headquarters in Izmir, Turkey, where it will shut down operations as part of a reorganization that will merge the alliance’s air command efforts under one consolidated headquarters in Germany.

“I am pleased to have an opportunity to extend the alliance’s deepest gratitude to our Turkish hosts, who have warmly welcomed NATO’s forces in Izmir since 1952,” said Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, the commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, during a ceremony in Izmir.

The move is part of NATO’s ongoing effort to streamline its command structure at a time of shrinking defense budgets.

Since its activation in 2004, AC-Izmir has served as the air power arm of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, charged with safeguarding almost 3 million square miles of airspace across NATO’s southern region, according to NATO.

“Air Command Izmir has been a leader in the Alliance’s ability to fulfill its mission as a guarantor of security, evidenced most recently by its performance as the Combined Forces Air Component Command during Operation Unified Protector,” said Clingan, who comments were provided by NATO public affairs officials.

The deactivation, which becomes official on June 1, doesn’t mean an end to NATO’s headquarters presence in Turkey. Last year, NATO’s Land Command conducted a similar headquarters consolidation that resulted in a single headquarters in Izmir.

NATO’s new consolidated air command headquarters will be in Ramstein, Germany.

Vandiver.john@stripes.com

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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