Article calls for NATO to move HQ from Norfolk to D.C.

13News Now Mike Gooding has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Could NATO be on its way out of Norfolk after 65 years here? A column in the publication, 'Defense News' suggested moving the 28-nation command to Washington, D.C.

One way or another, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has ben a part of Norfolk since 1952. The facility at Naval Support Activity off Terminal boulevard is NATO's only permanent headquarters outside Europe

The organization's current iteration here, Allied Command Transformation, dates back to 2003. Its past commanders include current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who served here from 2007 to 2009.

The 28 partner nations are responsible for promoting and overseeing the continuing transformation of Alliance forces and capabilities.

Hampton Roads citizens get a small glimpse of ACT every spring during the annual NATO festival downtown. But, if Defense News writers Magnus Nordenman and Henrick Breitenauch get their way, the five-decade-plus local partnership would come to an end.

They write that NATO should move to Washington "to be closer to American decision-makers."

Not everyone agrees with that assessment.

"This is the right place for NATO allied Command Transformation to be, period," said retired rear admiral Craig Quigley. He now serves as executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities alliance.  He says Norfolk and its many nearby military commands is the perfect place for NATO, and, it should stay put.

And as far as he know, Quigley says nobody in NATO thinks otherwise.

"I'm not aware that article by those two writers was anything more than an academic exercise," he said. "I have never, ever heard of substantive plans to move he headquarters away from where it is right now."

Such a move would be a blow to the Hampton Roads region, which in the last decade has lost United States Joint Forces Command, the Navy's Second Fleet, and the Army's For Monroe.

13News Now put in a call to Supreme Allied Command Transformation's public affairs office, for a comment.

So far, they have not called back.

(© 2017 WVEC)


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