SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, General, I thank you very much for your introduction, but really it is I who am most honored to be here and to thank each and every one of you for the work that you are doing in this important command. Whether you are an American service member or civilian or you are here from one of our allied countries, you are supporting and strengthening our transatlantic alliance. As the only NATO command in the United States, ACT is an important symbol of the importance that we place on our commitment to this indispensible alliance.
The work you are doing here is making NATO more resilient and more innovative. ACT is at the center of that innovation, and what you are forging here will allow NATO to adapt to changing times and changing missions and continue to bolster our collective security. The strategies and partnerships being developed by all of you are shaping NATO operations all over the world from Afghanistan to Kosovo to the Horn of Africa. And I do believe that when NATO leaders meet in Chicago next month, the work of ACT will play an important role when we discuss how best to be prepared against new and unpredictable threats.
It’s wonderful also to see what an example this command represents. The cultures and traditions represented at this headquarters have become such a vibrant part of the Hampton Roads community. So I’m glad to be here to help kick off this year’s Norfolk NATO Festival, which has been a great tradition for many years now. I only wish I could be here at the end of the month for NATOFest, because I hear that there is quite a show of entertainment, culture, and food from around the world.
I also am aware of how this command has really set the pace for strategic thinking, capability, development, and new, innovative ways of training. We’ve been busy in NATO for the last 10 years. The lessons learned that you helped prepare are absolutely instrumental in shaping the path forward.
I was very fortunate some years ago as a senator from the state of New York to participate in a planning effort with an advisory council appointed by the then commander of this command to look at the way forward. It was after 9/11. It was in the middle of the rapidly changing environment in Europe and beyond. And I have some small sense of the importance of the work that you have done here.
For all of you who are guests in the United States and for your families, I know what a commitment it is to move everyone to serve abroad, but I’m grateful that you have done so because your families also add immeasurably to this community.
So thank you again for your service, for all you are doing to make NATO stronger. I will have more to say about that later this evening at a speech that I will deliver as part of the Norfolk NATO Festival kickoff. But it is for me a great honor to be back here to thank you, General, to thank your leadership from across NATO and member-countries, and to thank the entire team for your many contributions. NATO has stood the test of time, and I hope it always will. And with people like you, I am very confident that that will be the outcome.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)