Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Tod D. Wolters, certified Hungarian troop’s readiness for potential NATO duties on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, after accepting a recommendation from the Commander of NATO’s Allied Land Command, Lieutenant General Roger L. Cloutier Jr. “Our land forces have never been stronger, more adaptable and more lethal in response to outside threats. Over the past few days, I have had the opportunity to observe the men and women of the Hungarian Defence Forces and I’m extremely impressed with their training, discipline, and readiness,” said Lieutenant General Cloutier.
Lieutenant General Cloutier visited the Hungarian troops on Tuesday, Feb. 22 to observe their level of readiness. In response to instability on NATO’s eastern flank, Allies have increased readiness and vigilance across Europe. This defensive posture includes enhancements to air policing, maritime patrolling, and national troop deployments to Eastern and South-eastern Europe. Hungary has bolstered its defence posture and has also indicated a willingness to provide a battlegroup to support any further enhancements to NATO readiness. Furthermore, Hungary contributes to NATO’s air policing mission with JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft.
The Hungarian Defence Forces (Magyar Honvedseg) is the national defence force of Hungary. Since 2007, the Hungarian Armed Forces is under a unified command structure. The Ministry of Defence maintains political and civil control over the army. A subordinate Joint Forces Command is coordinating and commanding the HDF corps. In 2020, the armed forces had 22,700 personnel on active duty. In 2019, military spending was $1.904 billion, about 1.22% of the country’s GDP, well below the NATO target of 2%. In 2016, the government adopted a resolution in which it pledged to increase defence spending to 2.0% of GDP and the number of active personnel to 37,650 by 2026.
The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is the commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Allied Command Operations (ACO) and head of ACO’s headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). The commander is based at SHAPE in Casteau, Belgium. SACEUR is the second-highest military position within NATO, below only the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in terms of precedence. SACEUR has always been held by a U.S. military officer, and the position is dual-hatted with that of Commander of United States European Command. The current SACEUR is General Tod D. Wolters of the United States Air Force.