Photo: Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB (left) and Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC (right) at the Change of Command Ceremony at the NATO HQ at Northwood, 2 August 2002.
Regional Headquarters East Atlantic &Headquarters Allied Naval Forces North Press ReleaseADMIRAL SIR ALAN WEST HANDS OVER “VIBRANT & EFFICIENT” NATO HEADQUARTERS AT CEREMONY IN NORTHWOOD Northwood, England, 2 August 2002At a ceremony today in Northwood, Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC handed over command of the NATO Headquarters to Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB.In his leaving speech, Admiral West acknowledged the continuous and major role that the maritime immediate reaction forces have played in the campaign against terror, stressing in particular, the significant contribution of airborne and sea-borne surveillance assets. “I see the maritime community as NATO’s front line of defence and deterrence.”As the lead Headquarter for the integration of new member state’s navies, he reiterated the important role of the Northwood HQ in ensuring the success of the enlargement of the Alliance, likely to happen as a result of the Prague Summit in November 2002. “The hallmark of success is expansion and longevity and I believe that NATO will continue to be blessed by both”. Critical to the success of this enlargement will be the ability of the Alliance to adapt – “NATO’s missions have changed and consequently its command structure must also change”. Concluding, he stated that he was handing over a “vibrant and efficient” headquarters who’s “impact will increase in line with the growing influence of the maritime dimension to joint operations”, a role that would see the Northwood Headquarters becoming the most important maritime HQ in Europe.After nearly 2 years, Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC leaves the Headquarters to become First Sea Lord in succession to Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh on 17 September 2002.The in-coming Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB, will serve as a regional commander within the Allied Command Atlantic structure in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic, and as a co