NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Adriatic Sea on Tuesday (25 October 2022). The Bush currently leads a carrier strike group under NATO command, which Stoltenberg called “a demonstration of US capability and commitment to the Alliance”. He added: “this carrier sends a powerful message of Allied deterrence every day.”
The USS George H.W. Bush is currently leading Neptune Strike 2022, a NATO deployment testing readiness to deter and defend across the Euro-Atlantic area. It includes over 80 aircraft, 14 ships, and around 6,000 personnel from 24 NATO Allies and partners, including Finland and Sweden. The Secretary General called this “a perfect example of the transatlantic bond – Europe and North America working together in NATO.” He said that the deployment “demonstrates our ability to rapidly reinforce our Allies, and project power across the Alliance”. Mr Stoltenberg added that NATO’s “strength helps to prevent any miscalculation by sending a clear message: NATO will protect and defend every inch of Allied territory.”
The Secretary General also addressed recent claims by Moscow that Ukraine is preparing to use a radiological “dirty bomb” on its own territory, emphasizing that “NATO Allies reject this transparently false allegation.” He said that Russia “must not use false pretexts for further escalation.” He further condemned Iran’s military support to the Russian war effort, saying “no country should be helping the aggressor in an illegal war,” and welcomed the sanctions that Allies and the European Union are implementing on Tehran.
During his visit, Stoltenberg addressed the ship’s crew and met sailors and pilots, thanking them all for their service and dedication. He also met with senior military leaders including Admiral Stuart Munsch, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and Commander of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa; Vice-Admiral Thomas Ishee, Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO and Commander US Sixth Fleet; Rear Admiral James Morley, Deputy Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO; Rear Admiral Dennis Velez, Commander of Carrier Strike Group Ten and the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group; and Captain David-Tavis Pollard, Commanding Officer of the carrier.