In the face of a “resurgent Russia” and other emerging challenges, NATO needs to stay agile and ready to “fight tonight,” the alliance’s new supreme allied commander for Europe said today.

Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti assumed command of NATO’s Allied Command Operations from Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove in a ceremony today at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe here.

Scaparrotti took the helm of U.S. European Command yesterday from Breedlove, who is retiring from the military after 39 years of service.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Scaparrotti and praised Breedlove’s vision and leadership during a time of immense change and challenges in the security landscape, including with an aggressive Russia.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, attended the ceremony. While not part of the public speaking program, he privately congratulated Scaparrotti and thanked Breedlove for his decades of service.

Dunford noted the challenges Breedlove has faced, including violent extremism and Russian aggression, Dunford’s spokesman, Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, said.

In addition, Hicks said, Dunford commended Breedlove for his leadership as the NATO combat mission ended in Afghanistan and its current mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces began.

Russia and Other Concerns

NATO is facing a “resurgent Russia striving to project itself as a world power,” Scaparrotti said. Other concerns for the alliance are terrorism, as well as a refugee crisis “being driven by instability in North Africa and the Middle East,” he said.