Historic milestone for NATO’s military command

SHAPE motto: "Vigilance is the price of liberty"

From James Stavridis, EUCOM:  We held a good event at my HQ late last week – a birthday party. We celebrated the first sixty years of this NATO strategic operational command.

Along with two of the youngest members of the command, I cut a birthday cake to celebrate the moment sixty years ago, on 2 April 1951, when SACEUR Dwight D. Eisenhower activated Allied Command Europe – the predecessor to today’s Allied Command Operations – and its headquarters, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

The history is pretty striking, I think. Since the signing of the Washington Treaty, we’ve seen the Alliance grow from the original 12 member countries to the 28 current ones, plus a large number of other nations linked to NATO, such as the 22 member Nations of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the 7 member Nations of the Mediterranean Dialogue, 4 members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and 4 contact countries. Nearly a billion people fall into either membership or partnership status. The 28 members control nearly 50% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, totally some $28 trillion dollars.

The bottom line is pretty simple: NATO has been a true success. Today we are operating on three continents with 140,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen conducting important operations from Afghanistan to Libya to the Balkans. …

Nearly four generations of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians have served the Alliance. From the most junior Private to senior Generals and Ambassadors, their work has defined this Alliance. It is strong and has endured because of their efforts.

Adm. James Stavridis, Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. (graphic: SHAPE)


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