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02 May 2002

NATO Concluding AWACS Support for U.S. Homeland Security, April 30, 2002

(Crews from 13 nations flew 360 sorties since Oct. 9, 2001)

NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson has announced the conclusion -- effective May 16 -- of Operation Eagle Assist, which deployed Alliance radar planes to patrol the skies over the United States following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

This decision was made on the basis of upgrades to the U.S. air defense posture, enhanced cooperation between U.S. civil and military authorities, a recent U.S. evaluation of homeland security requirements, Robertson said.

Following is the text of his statement:
(begin text)

Press Release
30 April 2002


On the basis of material upgrades to the US air defence posture and enhanced cooperation between civil and military authorities, and following a recent US evaluation of homeland security requirements, the North Atlantic Council today agreed to terminate Operation Eagle Assist effective 16 May 2002.

This decision concludes NATO's historic first deployment of assets in direct support of operations in the continental United States. It also reflects the North Atlantic Council's great satisfaction with the significant contribution to counter-terrorism efforts that the Allied Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft have made.

Operation Eagle Assist began on 9 October 2001 following the North Atlantic Council's 4 October decision to take measures to operationalise Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. To date, 830 crew members from 13 NATO nations have patrolled US skies in the NATO AWACS for nearly 4300 hours in over 360 operational sorties. This operation has been a concrete demonstration of Allied solidarity.

The Council expresses its profound gratitude to the crews and support personnel, commending them for their outstanding professionalism and commitment to duty.

(end text)


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