Fact Sheet: NATO's New Streamlined Military Command Structure
(Source: US State Department; issued June 12, 2003)
NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels June 12 agreed on the
design of a new streamlined military command structure that is
described as leaner, more flexible, more efficient, and better able
to conduct the full range of Alliance missions."

One major change involves reducing the two operational strategic
commands to one -- Allied Command Operations, and creating a new
Allied Command Transformation.

Among other changes are the reduction of five operational regional
commands to two; reduction of 13 operational subordinate commands to
six; and reduction of Combat Air Operation Centres (CAOCs) from ten to

Following is a NATO fact sheet on the new command structure issued in
conjunction with the defense ministerial:


At their meeting on 12 June, Alliance Defence Ministers agreed on the
design of a new streamlined military command structure. It will be
leaner, more flexible, more efficient, and better able to conduct the
full range of Alliance missions.

At the strategic level, there will be only one command with
operational responsibilities, Allied Command Operations commanded by
SACEUR. It will perform the operational duties undertaken until now by
Allied Command Europe and Allied Command Atlantic. SACEUR will
continue to be dual-hatted as Commander US European Command. In
addition, a new functional command, Allied Command Transformation,
commanded by SACT (the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation) will
be established to take responsibility for promoting and overseeing the
continuing transformation of Alliance forces and capabilities. SACT
will be dual-hatted as Commander, US Joint Forces Command.

Allied Command Operations, with its headquarters, SHAPE, near Mons,
Belgium, will be responsible for all Alliance operations. The levels
beneath SHAPE will be significantly streamlined, with a reduction in
the number of headquarters. The operational level will consist of two
standing Joint Force Commands (JFCs) one in Brunssum, the Netherlands,
and one in Naples, Italy - which can conduct operations from their
static locations or provide a land-based Combined Joint Task Force
(CJTF) headquarters. There will also be a robust but more limited
standing Joint Headquarters (JHQ), in Lisbon, Portugal, from which a
deployable sea-based CJTF HQ capability can be drawn.

The component or tactical level will consist of six Joint Force
Component Commands (JFCCs), which will provide service-specific --
land, maritime, or air -- expertise to the operational level. Although
these component commands will be available for use in any operation,
they will be subordinated to one of the Joint Force Commanders. For
the Joint Force Command in Brunssum, there will be an Air Component
Command at Ramstein, Germany; a Maritime Component Command at
Northwood in the United Kingdom; and a Land Component Command at
Heidelberg, Germany. For the Joint Force Command in Naples, there will
be an Air Component Command at Izmir, Turkey; a Maritime Component
Command in Naples; and a Land Component Command at Madrid, Spain.

In addition to these component commands, there will be four static
Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) - in Uedem, Germany; Finderup,
Denmark; Poggio Renatico, Italy; and Larissa, Greece; and two
deployable CAOCs - in Uedem and Poggio Renatico. As the deployable
CAOCs will need to exercise their capability to mobilise and deploy,
the current facilities at Torrejon Air Base in Spain would be the
primary site for training and exercising in that region. A small NATO
air facility support staff would be stationed at Torrejon to support
this capability.

Allied Command Transformation, with its headquarters in Norfolk, US,
will oversee the transformation of NATO's military capabilities. In
doing so, it will enhance training, improve capabilities, test and
develop doctrines and conduct experiments to assess new concepts. It
will also facilitate the dissemination and introduction of new
concepts and promote interoperability.

There will be an ACT Staff Element in Belgium primarily for resource
and defence planning issues.

ACT will include the Joint Warfare Centre in Norway, a new Joint Force
Training Centre in Poland and the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned
Centre in Portugal. ACT Headquarters will also supervise the Undersea
Research Centre in La Spezia, Italy. There will be direct linkages
between ACT, Alliance schools and NATO agencies, as well as the US
Joint Forces Command. A NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational
Training Centre in Greece, associated with ACT, is also envisaged. In
addition, a number of nationally- or multinationally-sponsored Centres
of Excellence focused on transformation in specific military fields
will support the command. In sum, compared with the present military
command structure, the new structure implies the following key

At the strategic command level, reduction from the present two
operational strategic commands to only one, but creation of a
functional strategic command for transformation;

Below the strategic command level, the present five operational
regional commands will be reduced to only two (complemented by a more
limited third one), and the present thirteen operational subordinate
commands to only six;

This means a total reduction from twenty to eleven command

In addition, the number of Combat Air Operation Centres or CAOCs is
reduced from ten to six (4 static and 2 deployable). (ends)

Click here for other communiqués issued at NATO’s ministerial meeting.


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