From International Operations to Territorial Defence: The Reform of Nato's Military Structures


  • Madelene Lindström
  • Johan Eellend
  • Mike Winnerstig

Publish date: 2015-05-29

Report number: FOI-R--4056--SE

Pages: 83

Written in: Swedish


  • Allied Command Operation (ACO)
  • Allied Command Transformation
  • (ACT)
  • Air-policing
  • Air Surveillance
  • Baltic Sea
  • Contingency planning
  • Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre (CCOMC)
  • Enhanced
  • Opportunities Program (EOP)
  • HQ LANDCOM Izmir
  • Northwood
  • HQ AIRCOM Ramstein
  • JFC Brunssum
  • JFC Naples
  • Multinational
  • Corps Northeast (MNC NE)
  • NATO Command Structure (NCS)
  • NATO Force
  • Structure (NFS)
  • NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU)
  • Readiness Action Plan
  • (RAP)
  • Sweden
  • Szczecin
  • Very High Readiness Joint Task Force
  • (VJTF).


NATO is a political organization aiming at defending the territorial integrity of its member states and at contributing to international stability and security. All decisions are made according to the consensus principle. NATO does not command any military forces of its own, but depends on the military resources of its member states. These resources can be made available to NATO according to pre-decided agreements. During the last few years, the Alliance has begun reorientating its strategic direction. International operations in faraway countries have been receiving less interest although there has been a will to preserve the experiences, not least in terms of interoperability, from Afghanistan and other operations. In the context of this reorientation a major overhaul of NATO's Command Structure (NCS) has been initiated. After the Russian aggression against Ukraine from 2014, NATO's traditional role as the framework for the territorial defence of its member states quickly received increased attention. The NATO summit in Cardiff (Wales) in 2014 in particular highlighted this role. The Swedish solidarity declaration of 2009 and its general security strategy, based on the principle "together with others", indicate that Swedish decisionmakers need good knowledge of NCS and NATO's Force Structure (NFS). Sweden is not a member of NATO but an advanced partner country and a member of the Enhanced Opportunities Programme (EOP). Given Swedish interest in participating in NATO exercises and crises management operations with NATO countries, it is important that Swedish decision-makers are familiar with NATO's political and military structures. This report describes the new command structure's design, size, hierarchy and organization. A main conclusion of the report is that two specific headquarters - JFC Brunssum in the Netherlands and the newly reinforced Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) in Szczecin, Poland - are of particular interest for Sweden.