French air force Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros formally assumed leadership Friday of NATO’s command responsible for leading military transformation of alliance forces.
The alliance said in a release he succeeded Stephane Abrial, another French air force general, as head of Supreme Allied Command Transformation during a handover ceremony in Norfolk, Va.
Abrial, who led the command for three years, is retiring after a 40-year military career.
This is the second time a non-US officer has been permanently assigned to one of NATO’s two Supreme Allied Commands in the alliance’s 60-year history.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen awarded Palomeros, formerly France’s chief of staff for the air force, the NATO Meritorious Service medal.
The 26-year military veteran began his term as chief of staff in 2009 and served as vice chief of staff prior to that, helping lead implementation of the country’s Air 2010 organization.
During his deployment in Vicenza, Italy during the 1990s, he led France’s participation in Operation Deny Flight and coordinated the air-ground campaign for Operation Deliberate Force during the Bosnian War.