Norfolk to get NATO expansion

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — After much of the coverage of the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels focusing on how much U.S. allies should spend on defense, the head of the alliance mentioned a new project for Norfolk that got little coverage.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced in his final press conference Wednesday that NATO will expand its presence in Norfolk, establishing a new command here and two others in Germany and Belgium.

“We agreed to a major update of the NATO Command Structure, with more than 1,200 new personnel,” Stoltenberg told the world.

It’s unclear how many of the 1,200 people will be assigned to Norfolk.

Norfolk already has the only NATO command in all of North America, known as Supreme Allied Command Transformation Headquarters, located north of Terminal Boulevard. NATO says the workforce varies as contracts are completed, but generally more than 600 people currently work there. 

The expansion will be called Joint Force Command. NATO’s Summit Declaration says the new command will focus on protecting transatlantic lines of communication.

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A NATO press officer says this project is so new, approved just this week, that specific numbers and a timeline are still in the works.

Senator Mark Warner says any addition to the NATO operation here is important to our region.

“That is good news for the region, good news for jobs, and good news for continuing to solidify Norfolk and Hampton Roads as a key military installation for our entire country.”

NATO says personnel numbers and any construction proposals will be worked out in the coming months.

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