BRUSSELS — U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters has been sworn in as the top military officer of the 29-nation NATO military alliance.
The former pilot, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, became Supreme Allied Commander Europe at a ceremony on Friday at NATO's military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium.
Wolters, who replaces U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti for a term likely to run two to three years, will also be commander of U.S. forces in Europe.
The United States is installing new military leadership in Europe at a moment of heightened worries about Russian aggression, doubts about the future of arms control and rising tensions among NATO allies.
The NATO post of SACEUR is always held by an American military officer.
NATO’s top civilian official, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, says the command is “one of the most challenging and most important military positions in the world.” Wolters will oversee NATO’s biggest reinforcement of its collective defenses in Eastern Europe since the Cold War.