Marine Corps Commandant Tapped For SACEUR Slot
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 19, 2002 President George W. Bush has nominated the Marine Corp's senior officer to take over the reins of the U.S. military's top two European commands.
The president selected Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James L. Jones Jr. to succeed Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
As SACEUR, Jones would become NATO's senior military commander in Europe. Jones is also nominated for assignment as commander, U.S. European Command. Both nominations have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
On April 21, 1999, Jones was nominated for appointment to four-star general rank and assignment as the 32nd commandant of the Marine Corps. He was promoted to general on June 30, 1999, and assumed his current post on July 1, 1999.
U.S. EUCOM is a unified combatant command whose mission is to maintain ready forces to conduct the full spectrum of military operations unilaterally or in concert with the coalition partners; to enhance transatlantic security through support NATO; to promote regional stability; and advance U.S. interests in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
The U.S. EUCOM area of responsibility covers more than 13 million square miles and includes 91 countries and territories. Several other countries and territories are considered to be part of our area of interest.
Ralston became the commander-in-chief, U.S. European Command on May 2, 2000, and supreme allied commander Europe on May 3, 2000. Ralston commands one of the nine unified combatant commands in the Defense Department. Before this assignment, Ralston was the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he was the second highest-ranking military officer in the Armed Forces.
The United States European command is responsible for the activities of all U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps forces operating within its area of responsibility in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. EUCOM provides combat ready land, maritime, and air forces to Allied Command Europe or other U.S. unified commands and conducts operations unilaterally or in concert with coalition partners.