Hundreds of guardsmen to be deployed for NATO summit
Hundreds of soldiers from the Illinois National Guard will be deployed in Chicago for the upcoming NATO summit to help move foreign delegations, among other duties, an official said Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
The 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold its annual summit in this U.S. city on May 20-21, which is expected to attract thousands of anti-war protestors.
Between 500 and 600 guardsmen will be in Chicago as part of the teams moving NATO delegations between venues and performing ceremonial tasks related to the meetings, Chicago Tribune quoted Maj. Troy Scott, deputy director of domestic operations for the Illinois National Guard, as saying.
Scott said that another contingent of guard troops will conduct a large-scale domestic response drill outside Cook County during the summit, ready to provide support in the event of any problems in Chicago.
Several Black Hawk helicopters recently swept over Chicago downtown in a routine training session "in cities across the country," according to the city's Office of Emergency Management.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that security will be paramount with world leaders in town and he is confident that police can maintain order.
Created in 1949, NATO has been involved in many military operations, including those in Kosovo, Afghanistan and most recently Libya.
But the military alliance has also become the major target of anti-war protestors. Some 30,000 protesters rallied at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal.