Military organisation and structures

  • Last updated: 15 Jul. 2014 14:50

NATO’s military organisation and structures comprise all military actors and formations that are involved in and used to implement political decisions that have military implications.

General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

The key elements of NATO’s military organisation are the Military Committee, composed of the Chiefs of Defence of NATO member countries, its executive body, the International Military Staff, and the military Command Structure (distinct from the Force Structure), which is composed of Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation, headed respectively by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation (SACT).

The Force Structure consists of organisational arrangements that bring together the forces placed at the Alliance’s disposal by the member countries, along with their associated command and control structures. These forces are available for NATO operations in accordance with predetermined readiness criteria and with rules of deployment and transfer of authority to NATO command that can vary from country to country.

Working mechanisms

In practice, the Chairman of the Military Committee presides over the Military Committee where each member country has a military representative (or Milrep) for his/her Chief of Defence. This committee, NATO’s most senior military authority, provides the North Atlantic Council and the Nuclear Planning Group with consensus-based military advice– that is, advice agreed to by all of NATO’s Chiefs of Defence.

The Military Committee works closely with NATO’s two Strategic Commanders – SACEUR, responsible for operations and SACT, responsible for transformation. They are both responsible to the Military Committee for the overall conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of responsibility.

On the one side, the Military Committee provides the Strategic Com