Following the decision by the NATO member
nations at the Prague Summit to fundamentally transform the Alliance and
its functioning, a new
NATO military command structure (NCS) is being fashioned. Although
the NCS retains the main features of the previous structure (one overall
military authority – MC - and two strategic commands, - SCs -) it is a
leaner, more efficient and effective, and highly deployable one.
A key feature of the NCS is the regrouping of all
operational forces and operations under one SC, leaving the responsibility
for all NATO transformation and interoperability activities to the other SC.
The two strategic commands are:
Allied Command Operations (ACO – responsible for all operations);
Allied Command Transformation (ACT – responsible for all
transformation and interoperability activities).
The Headquarters of the two strategic commands
- Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT),
located at Norfolk, Virginia, USA;
- Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).
The Strategic Command Transformation, which is
headed by the Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation (SACT), is
responsible for the continuing transformation of military capabilities and
promotion of interoperability of Alliance forces, where appropriate, in
co-operation with the Strategic Command Operations.
The Strategic Command Operations, which is headed
by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), is supported by two joint
force commands able to generate a land-based Combined Joint Force (CJTF)
headquarters (at regional operational level) and a robust but more limited
standing joint headquarters from which a sea-based CJTF headquarters
capability can be drawn.
To support the regional operational level, there
is a third level:
the component/tactical level. It consists of six joint force component
commands, which provide service-specific (land, maritime or air) expertise
to the operational level. For maritime operations, CC MAR HQ Northwood,
which is located in Northwood (UK) and is one of the two maritime component
commands, provides the necessary maritime expertise and support to joint