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Truman strike group operations signals NATO resolve, Stoltenberg says

Jens Stoltenberg speaks at the Nordic Council Session 2010. (Magnus Fröderberg/Nordic Co-operation/Released)
February 04, 2022

The Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman’s presence in the Mediterranean Sea is a critical element in NATO’s response to Russian threats to Ukraine, the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Monday.

That’s because the Truman carrier strike group is operating under Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, as part of the alliance’s Neptune Strike 2022 exercise.

Truman’s presence while under NATO command is a strong signal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s unity in response to any Russian moves, Stoltenberg told an online forum of The Atlantic Council.

“The NATO Response Force is only one of the elements in what we do to provide credible deterrence and defense … we also have—for instance, now we have—for the first time in decades we have a US aircraft carrier under NATO command,” Stoltenbrg said.

“I’m saying that we are coordinating closely what to do as NATO, and what individual NATO allies do together with all the NATO allies,” he said. “we are coordinating very closely all allies … and the U.S. aircraft carrier, which originally was under U.S. command is now under NATO command.”

The strike group, which deployed from Norfolk in December, has for the past week been operating in the Neptune Strike 2022 exercise, the latest phase of a two year NATO that focuses on linking command and control of a carrier strike group to NATO.

The strike group includes the carrier, nine squadrons of Naval Air Station Oceana-based Carrier Air Wing 1, the Norfolk-based cruiser USS San Jacinto, Norfolk-based destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Cole, USS Gravely and Mayport, Fla.-based USS Jason Dunham. The Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen has been operating with group since last fall, participating in the group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise, or COMPTUEX and then deploying with it from Norfolk.

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