NATO Combined Air Operations Center activated in Spain

The CAOC in Spain is responsible for all air operations in NATO airspace south of the Alps, from the Azores to Turkey

From Allied Command Operations:  In the presence of Spanish Minister of Defence, D. Pedro Morenés Eulate, and the Spanish Chief of Defence, General Admiral Fernando García Sánchez, NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón (CAOC TJ), Spain, was activated during a ceremony at its new premises north east of the Spanish Capital of Madrid on 7 February 2013.

CAOC TJ is one of two Allied Combined Air Operations Centres, which are responsible for the planning, direction, coordination and supervision of air operations in their respective areas of operation. While CAOC TJ will from now on officially execute this function for the southern region of NATO Europe, its sister CAOC at Uedem, located in the north west of Germany, will have the same mission north of the Alps.

As the representative of NATO, four-star General Philip M. Breedlove USA Air Force, the Commander the single Allied Air Command at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, passed the NATO flag to the Commander of CAOC TJ, Major General Rubén C. García Servert, Spanish Air Force.

“This ceremony reflects all the support we received from all entities involved in the implementation of CAOC Torrejón,” said Major General Severt, “today is a special day for CAOC Torrejón, a new Alliance unit that was activated as scheduled on 1 January of this year, and will officially assume the challenging role of air defence of Southern Europe as of this upcoming 1 July.”

In his speech that followed General Servert’s remarks, General Breedlove welcomed CAOC Torrejón into the NATO Command Structure. “This is a significant achievement for the Alliance and for Air Command,” he added, “the tireless work and personal efforts of many of you here today and across the NATO community have been outstanding. In Air Command and here at Torrejón we have the best team that will continue to deliver to the highest standards.”

A parade of troops concluded the official inaugurating ceremony. CAOC TJ is now formally responsible for all air operations in NATO airspace from the Canary Islands to Hungary and the Azores to Turkey and will be capable of executing contingency air operations when called upon. Eventually, 16 NATO nations will fill the authorized 185 posts and ensure CAOC TJ will be able to execute this challenging mission.  (photo: Spain’s Ministry of Defense)

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