BRUSSELS, Oct. 1 (UPI) —
Norway’s former prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, began his appointment Wednesday as NATO’s new secretary general.
He was appointed in March by the 28-member alliance to succeed Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose five-year term expired on Tuesday.
While prime minister of Norway, Stoltenberg helped transform the country’s armed forces so that it was equipped with deployable high-end capabilities, and committed Norwegian forces to various NATO operations.
"Mr. Stoltenberg is a strong supporter of enhanced transatlantic cooperation," according to a biography provided by NATO, "including better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. He sees NATO and the EU as complementary organizations in terms of securing peace and development in Europe and beyond."
Stoltenberg expressed his enthusiasm for his new position in a Twitter post on Wednesday, writing "Honoured and ready for NATO. I look forward to working with members and partners of the Alliance and international staff for a strong NATO."
Honoured and ready for #NATO. I look forward to working with members and partners of the Alliance and international staff for a strong NATO.Ã¢ € ” Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) October 1, 2014
Stoltenberg takes the helm of NATO at a challenging time for the international community. As Rasmussen’s term ended, the Alliance was seeking to bolster its collective defense in the face of Russian aggression toward Ukraine and the rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East.