Supreme Allied Commander

Supreme Allied Commander

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 Western Allies during World War II, and is currently used only within NATO. Dwight Eisenhower served as "Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force" (SCAEF) for the Battle of Normandy during World War II. The current commander of NATO's Allied Command Operations has the title "Supreme Allied Commander Europe" (SACEUR).

World War II

During World War II, there were two areas which had supreme commanders in name and three others which effectively had supreme commanders. The two in name were the Supreme Allied Command South East Asia (SACSEA) and Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF) in northwest Europe. The Allied Mediterranean theatre's Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force, the American Commander-in-Chief South West Pacific and Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean Areas also functioned as de facto supreme commanders. These commanders reported to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, although in the case of the American commanders in the Pacific and SACSEA, the relevant national command authorities of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Chiefs of Staff Committee had responsibility of the main conduct of the war in the theatre of operations.

General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower was the most high profile of the supreme commanders. He served successively as the Allied Mediterranean theatre's Commander in Chief, Allied Force and then as European theatre's Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF). Eisenhower was succeeded as Commander in Chief, Allied Force by Field Marshal Henry Maitland Wilson who was in turn succeeded by Field Marshal Harold Alexander. The post of Supreme Commander South East Asia Command (SACSEA) was occupied throughout most of its existence by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten. The post of the American Commander-in-Chief South West Pacific was held by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

Following the end of the war, the term came into use again with the formation of NATO, at which point Eisenhower again found himself a Supreme Allied Commander.


The NATO structure is divided into two commands, one for operations and one for transformation. Each has a Supreme Allied Commander as highest ranking military officer.

* Allied Command Operations (ACO) is located at SHAPE, Mons, Belgium. It is headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), a U.S. four star general with the dual-hatted role of heading U.S. European Command. (For legal reasons SACEUR has retained the traditional title including Europe although the responsibilities were extended to all allied operations in 2003). The SACEUR and Secretary General of NATO both hold "Head of State" status, so as to be able to cut through red tape and contact anyone in the world in order to hold the Alliance together.

* Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is located in Norfolk, Virginia. It is headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), a U.S. flag (four star) general or admiral with the dual-hatted role as commander U.S. Joint Forces Command (COMUSJFCOM). This position is currently held by U.S. Marine General James Mattis.


Until June 2003, the operational structure of NATO was divided into "Europe" and "Atlantic". Correspondingly the commanders were known as "Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic" (SACLANT) and "Supreme Allied Commander Europe" (SACEUR).

The first SACEUR (1951-1952) was General Dwight Eisenhower. The current (since 2007) Commander is General Bantz J. Craddock (Army), who succeeded General James L. Jones (Marine Corps). The Supreme Commander is always an American, with a deputy officer from another NATO member. For a full list of officers appointed to the position of SACEUR, please see list

In June 2003, the SACLANT organisation was decommissioned and Allied Command Transformation was established. This is a transitory command, intended to reshape the NATO command structure to respond to rapidly changing world situations and technology. The commander of the organization is General James Mattis, U.S. Marine Corps. The headquarters of ACT is at the former SACLANT headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

ee also

*Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)
*Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT)
*Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps
*Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force
*Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Occupied Japan

External links

* [ ACO/SHAPE homepage]
* [ ACT homepage]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic — Infobox Military Unit unit name=Allied Command Atlantic caption=ACLANT Emblem. dates= 30 January 1952 19 June 2003 country= allegiance=NATO branch= type= role= size= command structure= garrison=Norfolk, Virginia garrison label= motto= colors=… …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Allied Commander Europe — Der Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) war ursprünglich der Oberkommandierende des strategischen NATO Kommandos Europa und ist seit 2004 der militärstrategisch verantwortliche Oberbefehlshaber des Bündnisses für Operationen. Das Supreme… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Supreme Allied Commander Transformation — Der Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) ist der Oberkommandierende des Allied Command Transformation der NATO. Der Posten ist mit einem General oder Admiral besetzt. Von 2002 bis 2005 war der SACT gleichzeitig der Kommandeur des US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Supreme Allied Commander Europe — noun commanding officer of ACE; NATO s senior military commander in Europe • Syn: ↑SACEUR • Hypernyms: ↑commanding officer, ↑commandant, ↑commander • Member Holonyms: ↑Allied Command Europe, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic — noun commanding officer of ACLANT; a general of the United States Army nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the North Atlantic Council • Syn: ↑SACLANT • Hypernyms: ↑commanding officer, ↑commandant, ↑commander • Member… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander — Frederick E. Morgan Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander, kurz COSSAC, war die Dienstbezeichnung für den am 13. April 1943 ernannten Chef des Stabes des – damals noch nicht bestimmten – Oberbefehlshabers der alliierten Streitkräfte in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe — SHAPE Emblem. Active 1951 present Country …   Wikipedia

  • Allied Command Operations — Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Wappen Aktiv 1951 1967 1967 heute Typ …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force — (abbreviated as SHAEF, pronounced shāf ), was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of SHAEF throughout its existence.… …   Wikipedia

  • Allied Command Transformation — Emblem Active 19 June 2003 Present …   Wikipedia

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