Supreme Allied Commander is the title held by the most senior commander within certain multinational military alliances. It originated as a term used by the Allies during World War I, and is currently used only within NATO - for Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.
On 26 March 1918, the French marshal Ferdinand Foch was appointed Supreme Allied Commander, gaining command of all Allied forces everywhere, and coordinated the French, British, American, and Italian forces to stop the Spring Offensive, the last massive offensive of the German Empire.He was the one who accepted the German cessation of hostilities in his private train.
On April 14, 1918, at his own request, Foch was appointed, "Commander in Chief of the Allied Armies". Despite his promotion 19 days earlier, and the subsequent Beauvais Conference of April 3, 1918, he was not provided a title. He remedied this by making up his own title and by writing to Prime Minister Clemenceau to request it, which was immediately granted. This is important because the Doullens Conference of March 26th was kept a secret until March 30th, and still not known to most of the army once it was published.
This section does not cite any sources . (June 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
During World War II, the Allied leaders appointed Supreme Allied Commanders to manage the multi-nation, multi-discipline fighting forces for a particular theatre of war. These Supreme Allied Commanders were given operational control over all air, land, and sea units in that theatre. In other cases, senior commanders were given the title Commander-in-Chief.
These Supreme Allied Commanders were drawn from the most senior leaders in the British Armed Forces and United States Armed Forces. These commanders reported to the British/American Combined Chiefs of Staff, although in the case of the Pacific and South East Asia, the relevant national command authorities of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff or the British Chiefs of Staff Committee had responsibility for the main conduct of the war in the theatre, depending on the Supreme Commander's nationality.
General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower served in successive Supreme Allied Commander roles. Eisenhower was the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force for the Mediterranean theatre. Eisenhower then served as Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF) in the European theatre, starting in December 1943 with the creation of the command to execute Operation Overlord and ending in July 1945 shortly after the End of World War II in Europe. In 1951, Eisenhower would again be a Supreme Allied Commander, the first to hold the post for NATO (see next section).
Field Marshal Henry Maitland Wilson succeeded Eisenhower in the Mediterranean theatre, given the title Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean. Wilson was succeeded by Field Marshal Harold Alexander, who continued in charge of those Allied forces until the end of the war.
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Louis Mountbatten was Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia (SACSEA) throughout most of its existence. He replaced General Archibald Wavell.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was named the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the China war zone (CBI) on 1942. However, US forces in practice were usually overseen by General Joseph Stilwell, the Deputy Allied Commander in China and South East Asia Command (SEAC). Until late 1944 that the land forces chain of command was clarified, after Stilwell was recalled to Washington. His overall role, and the CBI command were then split among three people: Lt Gen. Raymond Wheeler became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia; Maj. Gen. Albert Wedemeyer became Chief of Staff to Chiang, and commander of US Forces, China Theater (USFCT). Lt Gen. Daniel Sultan was promoted, from deputy commander of CBI to commander of US Forces, India-Burma Theater (USFIBT) and commander of the NCAC.
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was appointed Supreme Allied Commander, South West Pacific Area (SWPA) on 18 June 1942. 652–653 were commanded by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean Areas.However, he preferred to use the title Commander-in-Chief. During the Allied occupation of Japan following the war, MacArthur held the title of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP).The Pacific Ocean Areas (POA), divided into the Central Pacific Area, the North Pacific Area and the South Pacific Area, :
The term came into use again with the formation of NATO in 1949. In 1952, Allied Command Europe was established, led by Eisenhower. He became the Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR). Soon afterwards, Allied Command Atlantic was established, at Norfolk, Virginia, under Lynde McCormick, a U.S. Navy admiral. His title was Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT), and the entire command was usually known as SACLANT. Both Supreme Commander have, until 2009, been American, with a deputy commander from another NATO member, though only British and Germans have held the post.
In June 2003, the commands were reshuffled. One command was given responsibility for operations, and one for transforming the military components of the alliance to meet new challenges. In Europe, Allied Command Operations was established from the former Allied Command Europe, and given responsibility for all NATO military operations worldwide. However, for legal reasons[ further explanation needed ], SACEUR retained the traditional title including Europe. In the United States, SACLANT was decommissioned and Allied Command Transformation established. The headquarters of ACT is at the former SACLANT headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Each has a Supreme Allied Commander as its commander.
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). Since 1967 it has been located in Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons, but it had previously been located, from 1953, at Rocquencourt, next to Versailles, France. From 1951 to 2003, SHAPE was the headquarters of Allied Command Europe (ACE). Since 2003 it has been the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, controlling all NATO operations worldwide.
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commander in SHAEF throughout its existence. The position itself shares a common lineage with Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Atlantic, but they are different titles.
Allied Force Headquarters (AFHQ) was the headquarters that controlled all Allied operational forces in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II from late 1942 until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.
Lauris Norstad was an American General in the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force.
China Burma India Theater (CBI) was the United States military designation during World War II for the China and Southeast Asian or India–Burma (IBT) theaters. Operational command of Allied forces in the CBI was officially the responsibility of the Supreme Commanders for South East Asia or China. However, US forces in practice were usually overseen by General Joseph Stilwell, the Deputy Allied Commander in China; the term "CBI" was significant in logistical, material and personnel matters; it was and is commonly used within the US for these theaters.
Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS) is a NATO command with its headquarters at Brunssum, the Netherlands. It was established in 2004 from previous commands as part of NATO's continuing command structure reductions in the face of a then-diminishing threat.
The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is the commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Allied Command Operations (ACO) and head of ACO's headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). The commander is based at SHAPE in Casteau, Belgium. SACEUR is the second-highest military position within NATO, below only the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in terms of precedence.
Allied Command Operations (ACO) is one of the two strategic commands of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the other being Allied Command Transformation (ACT). The headquarters and commander of ACO is Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), respectively.
The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of the eleven unified combatant commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its area of focus covers 21,000,000 square miles (54,000,000 km2) and 51 countries and territories, including Europe, Russia, Greenland, and Israel. The Commander of the United States EUCOM simultaneously serves as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) within NATO, a military alliance. During the Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch, EUCOM controlled the forces flying from Incirlik Air Base.
Alfred Maximilian Gruenther was a senior United States Army officer, Red Cross president, and bridge player. At age fifty-three, he became the youngest four-star general in the U.S. Army's history. He succeeded General Matthew Ridgway as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) serving from 1953 to 1956.
Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is a military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed in 2003 after restructuring.
Allied Joint Force CommandNaples is a NATO military command based in Lago Patria, in the Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy. It was activated on 15 March 2004, after what was effectively a redesignation of its predecessor command, Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH), originally formed in 1951. In NATO Military Command Structure terms, AFSOUTH was a "Major Subordinate Command". The commander of JFC Naples reports to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Casteau, Belgium.
Joint Force Command Lisbon was one of the largest NATO bases in south Europe Allied Command Operations. It was based in Oeiras, near Lisbon, Portugal. In 2009 a French lieutenant general took command from the previous US Navy admiral who had filled the post for a number of years. It was deactivated in 2012.
The Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) was one of two supreme commanders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the other being the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The SACLANT led Allied Command Atlantic is based at Norfolk, Virginia. The entire command was routinely referred to as 'SACLANT'.
Exercise Mainbrace was the first large-scale naval exercise undertaken by the newly established Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT), one of the two principal military commands of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was part of a series of NATO exercises jointly commanded by Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic Admiral Lynde D. McCormick, USN, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Matthew B. Ridgeway, U.S. Army, during the Fall of 1952.
Admiral Lynde Dupuy McCormick was a four-star admiral in the United States Navy who served as vice chief of naval operations from 1950 to 1951 and as commander in chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet from 1951 to 1954, and was the first supreme allied commander of all NATO forces in the Atlantic.
Admiral Jerauld Wright was an officer in the United States Navy. He served as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic Command (CINCLANT) and the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT), and became the second Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), from April 1, 1954, to March 1, 1960, serving longer in these three positions than anyone else in history.
The Structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is complex and multi-faceted. The decision-making body is the North Atlantic Council (NAC), and the member state representatives also sit on the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) and the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG). Below that the Secretary General of NATO directs the civilian International Staff, that is divided into administrative divisions, offices and other organizations. Also responsible to the NAC, DPC, and NPG are a host of committees that supervise the various NATO logistics and standardisation agencies.
Philip Mark Breedlove is a retired four-star General in the United States Air Force who served as the Commander, U.S. European Command, as well as the 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations, from May 2013 until May 4, 2016. He previously served as the Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe, which he concurrently served as Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa, Commander, Air Component Command, Ramstein, and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Center. He previously served as the 36th Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force from January 14, 2011, to July 27, 2012. On 10 May 2013, in a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, Breedlove took over the command of USEUCOM. Three days later, on May 13, 2013, he assumed command as SACEUR.
Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) is the central command of all NATO maritime forces and the Commander MARCOM is the prime maritime advisor to the Alliance. When directed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), it provides the core of the headquarters responsible for the conduct of maritime operations. The command is based at the Northwood Headquarters in northwest London.