NATO Military Committee visits Allied Special Operations Forces Command
On 8 February 2024, the NATO Military Committee visited Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) headquartered at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), Belgium. The visit included discussions on the Special Operations Forces (SOF) domain and SOF contributions to NATO’s multi-domain operations that are flexible, tailorable, and adaptable to the diverse challenges across the Euro-Atlantic area.
SOFCOM Deputy Commander, Brigadier Neil Grant DSO MC, received the NATO and Invitee Military Representatives: “Today’s visit of the Military Committee highlights the strategic role of SOFCOM to proactively work with and through Allied and Partner SOF in peacetime, crisis and conflict to enable SACEUR and the Joint Force Commanders to defend every inch of the Alliance.” Throughout the morning, the NATO Military Committee received briefings on SOFCOM and the role of Allied and Partner SOF contributions to collective defence as high-end specialized assets with the ability to deliver strategic effects around NATO’s core cause to protect and defend each other.
SOFCOM serves as NATO’s SOF Theatre Component Command and plays a pivotal role in the deterrence and defence of the NATO Alliance. SOFCOM coheres NATO Special Operations Forces to deliver SOF effects for a rapidly evolving strategic environment by adapting, coordinating, enabling, and supporting the integration of multinational SOF, ensuring a 360-degree approach to the Alliance’s collective defence.
Admiral Bauer highlighted the role of SOFCOM and the critical expertise Allied SOF bring to the Alliance. “Special Operations Forces are uniquely equipped to expect the unexpected – by default, they are trained to be flexible, fast and independent. They have a small footprint, with high-level of precision. True professionals, who do not only possess exceptional physical and psychological endurance, but who are also complex problem-solvers with an ability for critical thinking, flexibility and strength”, said Admiral Bauer. “With the threats that the Alliance is now facing, such as hybrid conflict situations, counterterrorism operations and operations against irregular forces, Special Operations Forces help keep NATO strong and safe,” he underscored, emphasizing the importance of Special Operations Forces in maintaining NATO's ability and capacity to address the diverse and evolving security challenges through their unique skills, adaptability, and expertise.
In the afternoon, the NATO Military Committee toured NATO Special Operations University located on Chievres Air Base, which provides training and education to enhance the development of capable, geographically oriented Allied and Partner SOF relationships and structures to achieve NATO objectives in peacetime, crisis, and conflict.