The SHAPE Officers' Association


The SHAPE Officers' Association (SOA) was founded in 1961 by a group of officers at SHAPE, at that time located in Paris. They established not only our Association but began what has become a fine tradition, an annual reunion. The first such event occurred on October 7, 1961. It was attended by General Gruenther, a previous Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Norstad (then SACEUR) and about 200 other officers from all NATO nations. General Gruenther became the first President, a post he held until 1975. He was followed by General Lemnitzer (from 1975 to 1987), General Rogers (1987-1997) and General Shalikashvili (1997-2004), all previous SACEURs. General Peter CARSTENS, DEU A (Retired), a former Chief of Staff was our fifth President from 2004 to 2008, followed by  General George A. Joulwan, USA, (Retired) from 2008 to 2011 as the sixth President of the Association. In 2011 General James L. Jones, United States Marine Corps (Retired) became the seventh President of the Association. He stepped down in 2014, when General John A. Shaud, United States Air Force (retired) took over the helm of the SOA.

Today, the SHAPE Officers' Association counts some 470 members.

The aims of the SOA are threefold:

  • to foster friendships among officers/civilians of equivalent rank who serve at SHAPE and with those who have served at SHAPE

  • to keep members informed about SHAPE and the military situation in NATO;

  • and  to enable members to support and propagate the mission and the objectives of SHAPE and, more generally the Alliance - In short, to perpetuate the traditions of SHAPE.

SOA activities include sponsored events, both professional and casual in nature. One of the most important annual events is the Symposium, being held early October. This Symposium brings SOA members from across the Alliance back to SHAPE for academic and social events. In order to welcome the members to this important gathering, the Symposium starts with a happy hour to which distinguished guests are invited. The following day the General Assembly takes place. This is a very important part of the SOA calendar, since here all the important decisions pertaining to the life of the SOA are taken. In the afternoon briefings are given in order to inform the SOA members of the latest developments of SHAPE and the Alliance. The Symposium always ends with a formal dinner.   A second highlight is the annual award of scholarships to distinguished highschool graduates. Since 2012, when the SOA scholarship program was launched, eight highly gifted young people were awarded an SOA scholarship.

What can SOA do for you?

If you are just arriving at SHAPE: Membership can help you become acquainted with your surroundings, with staff members and with issues you will be working with. During your stay, membership will allow you to attend SOA sponsored events and to make lasting friendships among SOA members. If you are about to leave SHAPE and you are not a member yet, SOA membership will ensure you to stay in touch with SHAPE and with ex-colleagues. and be informed about developments and issues affecting SHAPE and the Alliance.

How do I join the SOA?

You’ll have to complete a Membership Application Form and pay a small fee (10 Euros p.a. the SOA offers you free membership for the first year). The SOA Office is located in the Main Building, Room 249, phone number +32(0)65 446292.

 If you would like to join the SHAPE Officers' Association, please complete the application form.



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