What is SHAPE?

The NATO Headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, is the political headquarters of the Alliance and the permanent home of the North Atlantic Council, NATO's senior political decision-making body.

At the strategic level, the NATO Command Structure (NCS) encompasses two Commands – Allied Command Operations (ACO) responsible for planning and execution of all NATO operations and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) responsible for NATO's transformation.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) located in Mons, Belgium, is the strategic level headquarters of ACO and commanded by Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). SACEUR assumes the overall command of operations at the strategic level and exercises his responsibilities from SHAPE. He issues strategic military direction to the subordinate commanders. SACEUR is responsible for the preparation and conduct of all Alliance military operations, including routine operational activities and other non-operational tasks in accordance with the division of responsibilities between both SCs.

The new ACO structure comprises a strategic level headquarters (SHAPE), two joint force command headquarters, a static maritime command headquarters and a new land command headquarters. The new organisation will also strengthen the capability to command and control air operations through a static air command headquarters, two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) and a Deployable Air Command and Control Centre (DACCC). It will also include the NATO Communications and Information Systems Group (NCISG) responsible to provide deployed CIS services. This model meets NATO's Level of Ambition (LoA) with the contribution of the NATO Force Structure (NFS).

The ACO structure has been adapted to provide the joint level of C2 arrangements for up to two deployed Major Joint Operations (MJOs) and for one maritime-heavy and one air-heavy Small Joint Operations (SJOs) from static locations. It also includes a deployable land command and control capability. The joint C2 capability to mount a MJO+ is provided from one of the JFC HQs which will then be augmented from different sources (NCS, NFS and member nations).


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