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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 14, 1999


I am pleased to announce that I have nominated General Joseph J. Ralston, United States Air Force, to succeed General Wesley K. Clark, United States Army, as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. This nomination is subject to the approval of the North Atlantic Council's Defense Planning Committee. Upon Defense Planning Committee approval of his nomination as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, I intend to send forward to Congress General Ralston's nomination to serve as Commander in Chief, United States European Command.

General Ralston's distinguished career spans three decades, with significant operational and policy experience. He established impeccable credentials as a military commander while commanding the 68th tactical fighter squadron, the 56th tactical training wing, the U.S. Alaskan Command, the Eleventh Air Force, and the Air Combat Command. He has served with great distinction as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the past three and one half years, providing excellent advice and support for two Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairmen and two Secretaries of Defense.

This is a time of significant change within the North Atlantic Alliance, as NATO continues the work of building a secure and undivided Europe. General Clark is doing an extraordinary job as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He led Allied forces to a brilliant victory in Operation ALLIED FORCE and is demonstrating similarly impressive leadership as KFOR provides the security necessary to build a lasting and just peace in Kosovo. I know he will continue his dynamic leadership of NATO forces in Europe during the remainder of his tour. I have utmost confidence that General Ralston will be a worthy successor.2