It's official: Jens Stoltenberg, Ex-Norwegian PM, appointed NATO head

By Ian Davis, NATO Watch
This afternoon, the North Atlantic Council agreed to appoint Jens Stoltenberg as the next Secretary General of NATO in succession to Anders Fogh Rasmussen. In its statement, NATO said: "Mr Stoltenberg will assume his functions as secretary general as from 1 October 2014, when Mr Fogh Rasmussen's term expires after five years and two months at the helm of the alliance".
Jens Stoltenberg's biography on the NATO website does not mention his anti-NATO positions as a young politician, but in recent years he has been a strong supporter of the alliance. Under his leadership, Norway contributed forces to numerous NATO operations and the country's defence spending increased steadily. Today, Norway's per capita defence expenditure is one of the highest in the alliance. Mr Stoltenberg was also influential in re-focusing Norway's armed forces on deployable high-end capabilities.

Stoltenberg's dignified and measured response to the terror attacks in Norway in 2011—he pledged at the memorial service to combat the atrocity with “more democracy, more openness, and more humanity”— helped to bring comfort to the country at a difficult time. If he brings a similar degree of insight and understanding to his new role, he may well turn out to be a high-quality choice for NATO, European security and transatlantic cooperation.