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Jan 29 2021

Change of Command at NATO Special Operations Headquarters

MONS, Belgium - Lieutenant General Eric P. Wendt relinquished Command of NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) in a virtual ceremony attended by Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces (SOF) commanders and leaders on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Tod D. Wolters presided over the event.

“NSHQ has thrived under your leadership. The superb work and creative initiatives of Strategic Approach, Comprehensive Defence, SOF optimisations, and bringing NATO’s Combined Force Special Operations Component Command to initial operating capability have set the path forward for NSHQ and NATO SOF for years to come,” said Wolters.

During his tenure as Commander of NSHQ, Wendt directed the development of the first-ever Strategic Approach for NSHQ that placed time-linked, specific goals and objectives for the command and for NATO’s special operations forces over a multi-year period. He pushed forward the now-accepted NATO terminology and NATO unclassified Tier system of DSOF and separately for Force Multiplier SOF (FMSOF). Under Wendt’s command, NSHQ reached initial operating capability as the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command (CFSOCC) for NATO and as NATO’s Theatre SOF Component (TSC). In this same timeframe, NSHQ also led the way forward for NATO with the development of the Joint Fires Observer (JFO) program and courses, developing Comprehensive Defence handbook and initiated the Comprehensive Defence course at NSHQ’s NATO Special Operations School. NSHQ also spearheaded a key proposal for developing a NSATP taught by NATO special operations personnel to provide battle focused SOF training for special operators throughout the Sahel and Middle-East, who can then directly put this training to use in the fight against terrorism.


Lieutenant General Eric P. Wendt relinquished Command of NATO Special Operations Headquarters in a virtual ceremony attended by Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces commanders and leaders on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.

“It has been a tremendous honour to command NSHQ as NSHQ leads the NATO SOF Network forward. The people of NSHQ are remarkable, and they are the real secret of such a successful Special Operations organisation. I can think of no better way for an old Green Beret to finish uniformed service than by commanding an organisation that is full of truly motivated, multinational Special Operations people who relentlessly push the mission forward. It has been a real blessing,” said Wendt.

Wendt is retiring and returning home to the U.S. along with his wife, Dr. Katie Wendt, after over 34 years of active duty commissioned service, including 30 years in the US Army Special Forces known as “The Green Berets.”

A separate virtual assumption of command ceremony will take place after Wendt’s successor is approved by NATO and is confirmed by the US Senate. In the interim period, the NSHQ Deputy Commander, Brigadier General Rob Stephenson, will serve as acting commander.

Story by NATO Special Operations Headquarters

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