Strategic and International Affairs
Mr. Stephen R. Covington has served as Special Advisor to ten SACEURs over the course of 30 years at SHAPE. He has advised SACEURs, Secretaries General, and other senior NATO political and military leaders on strategic, political-military issues during peace, crisis, and conflict, and developed a wide range of SACEUR initiatives pertaining to Alliance policy, operations, partnership, and adaptation. He has supported SACEURs in 14 NATO Summits, over 150 Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Chief of Defense Meetings, and executed high-level meetings in every country in Europe and Eurasia.
As Allied Command Operations (ACO) senior civilian adviser and member of the SHAPE Command Group, he is responsible for strategic assessments of international security and defense affairs, develops political-military strategic recommendations for SACEUR, and works directly with NATO Headquarters, Allied and Partner capitals, and International Organizations on behalf of SACEUR. Mr. Covington has led international negotiations in peace and crisis, designed and developed partnership frameworks, devised C2 arrangements for Russia military integration into IFOR, co-developed NATO HQ political documents and military assessments, and managed the Russian MOD/CHOD-SACEUR relationship for 13 years – working directly with the Russian General Staff on operations, partnership, security dialogue, defense concepts, operational art and planning, and military interoperability. In 2009, Mr. Covington represented SACEUR in the development of NATO’s latest Strategic Concept. In 2010, he conceived and designed SHAPE’s Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre. His most recent work has involved the development of strategic assessments, frameworks, and initial concepts for a changing Trans-Atlantic security environment.
He has authored numerous articles in international defense and national security journals, and was a contributing author to three books on European security. He lectures frequently in Europe and in the United States, and leads SACEUR’s strategic outreach to academic organizations, specialists, and security/defense think tanks. He received the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal (1992) for his work in support of SACEUR during the period that experienced the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union; the Department of Defense Civilian Meritorious Medal (1997) for his work in the Bosnian Crisis; the NATO Meritorious JOINT FORGE medal (1996) for his work with the Russian military in IFOR; and the NATO Meritorious Kosovo medal (2000) for his crisis work in Georgia, Moscow, Pristina, and Helsinki. He received the highest U.S. Presidential Rank Award twice (Meritorious and Distinguished). In 2005, he was awarded the Lithuanian "Cross of the Knight" medal by Lithuanian President Adamkus for his work from 1990-2004. On the 10th Anniversary of the NATO-Russia cooperation in IFOR operation in 2006, Russian Chief of the General Staff Y.N. Baluyevskiy awarded him honorary status for his work in the sphere of NATO and Russian operations, interoperability requirements, and his work in IFOR, SFOR, and KFOR.
As of 22 January 2019