ARCHIV - 14.03.2022, Bayern, München: Christopher G. Cavoli, General der US Army, lächelt als er vom bayerischen Ministerpräsidenten den Bayerischen Verdienstorden verliehen bekommt (zu dpa «Kommandowechsel bei den US-Streitkräften in Stuttgart»). Foto: Sven Hoppe/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

NATO forces in Europe have a new commander-in-chief. US General Christopher G. Cavoli took over from his retiring compatriot Tod Wolters at a ceremony in Mons, Belgium on Monday. He had held the top post for around three years.

Cavoli comes at a time marked by increasing strategic competition and the return of brutal conflicts to Europe, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the post handover. His predecessor Wolters praised Stoltenberg as “the right leader in the right post at the right time”. He responded with speed and force to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In his new role, Cavoli will be primarily responsible for planning and executing military measures to defend the alliance and to deter Russia. For example, a permanent reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank and a new armed forces model are to be implemented in the coming months. Among other things, the latter envisages keeping more than 300,000 soldiers on high readiness for crises.

Born in Würzburg in 1964 to an Italian-American army family, Cavoli joined the US Army in 1987. He is regarded as an outspoken expert on Europe and Russia. He served in Italy as a soldier before earning a degree in Eastern European Studies from Yale University. Between 2001 and 2005, Cavoli worked in the US Army Headquarters in Washington as “Russia Director.” Most recently, he was Commander-in-Chief of the US Army for Europe and Africa based in Wiesbaden.