WEBEDITION
No. 2 - Mar. 1996
Vol. 44 - pp. 6-9

SHAPE and IFOR: adapting
to the needs of tomorrow

General George A. Joulwan
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)

Today, there is a new Alliance military structure which will be a worthy successor to the one which kept peace in Europe for over a generation. With well-trained, mobile forces and rapidly deployable command and control structures, NATO is proving it can respond robustly and quickly to its new mission of peace enforcement. SHAPE must be able to translate the instructions from NATO's political authorities into clear, precise, operational guidance for subordinate commanders to implement. It is doing just that for the Bosnian Implementation Force (IFOR). The new SHAPE has responded well to its mission of planning and supporting Operation Joint Endeavour in Bosnia. Although work will continue on streamlining operations and the force structure, nations must still meet force goals and force requirements, and provide resources to maintain an effective level of preparedness and readiness for the challenges ahead.


SACEUR, Gen. Joulwan
General Joulwan briefs the press on the status of the IFOR deployment.
(NATO photo 27Kb)
A few short years ago, no one could have envisioned that, today, NATO would be working side-by-side with Russia and other former adversaries in out-of-area peace enforcement operations. But Europe has changed dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact disappeared almost overnight. Where totalitarianism once ruled, democratic governments are gaining strength and maturity. Responding appropriately, Allied Command Europe greatly reduced the size and structure of its heavy forces. The allied corps arrayed from Norway to Turkey are part of the past. The Cold War is over. But, NATO's mission did not end with the collapse of a wall or the defeat of an ideology. NATO's mission continues today - a mission based on today's realities and tomorrow's opportunities.

In the 12 months since my last contribution to NATO Review, the pace of NATO's operational activity has increased greatly. Last September, NATO conducted a precise and successful air operation in Bosnia in response to a vicious mortar attack on a Sarajevo market that killed many innocent civilians and children. In December, NATO was committed to the largest land operation in its history in order to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement and to bring peace to Bosnia after four years of war. These decisive engagements did not just happen; they are the result of the transformation of our headquarters and command structure and the proven flexibility and adaptability of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE) and its subordinate commands.

Far-sighted diplomats, strategists and defence planners have worked hard to keep pace with changing security requirements. Today, we have a new Alliance military structure which, I am confident, will be a worthy successor to the one which kept peace in Europe for over a generation. Before us is an historic opportunity to expand the democratic and economic successes of Western Europe to all of Europe, with NATO and SHAPE playing a major role. Moreover, SHAPE will do so with a strong European identity within a viable transatlantic Alliance.

It is obvious to all today that the threat of attack on members of the Alliance is low. But NATO's collective defence capability, and now its force projection capability, must continue to buttress a strong and stable Europe. The need for a strong and flexible NATO remains because in Europe there is still a great deal of uncertainty and instability. Fragile democracies in countries impoverished by Communism struggle to maintain stability within their borders. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons continue to be stored in former republics of the Soviet Union. Even more immediate is the ethnic and religious conflict that has laid waste to large areas of the former Yugoslavia. To counter these threats, Europe has found that it can take advantage of the proven and capable security architecture that NATO had provided for over a generation.

With well-trained, mobile forces and rapidly deployable command and control structures, NATO is proving it can respond robustly and quickly to its new mission of peace enforcement. When instructed by NATO's political authorities, our forces can go anywhere needed to perform missions from the low end to the high end of the conflict spectrum.


From theory to practice

NATO's force capabilities and crisis management mission are essential to fostering peace and stability in the new Europe. If we can resolve differences before they explode into open conflict, or rapidly confront conflict before it destroys fragile democracies, then NATO's basic mission of deterrence will also be fulfilled. But it is essential to the success of all NATO's missions - from Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, to non-Article 5 missions in support of UN peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief - that SHAPE be able to translate the instructions from NATO's political authorities into clear, precise, operational guidance for subordinate commanders to implement. And, it has.

IFOR Troops
Members of the Russian IFOR contingent en route to Bosnia (AP 38Kb)
What's more, SHAPE has responsibility for the identification, force generation, force balancing, and movement of NATO and non-NATO forces to arrive at the right place at the right time as required by subordinate commanders. Major Subordinate Commanders (MSCs) are responsible for the mission training of designated NATO forces as well as for certification of non-NATO forces. MSCs are also involved in mounting key headquarters, such as the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), and assisting in the movement control of earmarked units. They also provide the flexibility to augment a committed headquarters with hundreds of staff officers and non-commissioned officers. SHAPE and Allied Command Europe have done just that for the Bosnian Implementation Force (IFOR) which has been structured around NATO's Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) headquarters. Where we discussed theory in the past, we now put theory into practice. This is the new SHAPE: dynamic, flexible, and relevant to the challenges of the 21st century.

After the January 1994 Summit of Heads of State and Government, SHAPE developed an operational concept linking the two initiatives of Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF). The political guidance given to SHAPE was to develop PfP in such a way as to execute missions with new partners and NATO forces. The theory of this new operational concept was to exercise with our new partners in order to train to common standards, procedures, and doctrine, and to be prepared to operate under a NATO or non-NATO CJTF. Two years later, we are doing just that in Bosnia under the auspices of operation Joint Endeavour. Many of our partner nations' forces which trained in the PfP programme have joined us in Joint Endeavour. Many partner nations not only have forces but staff officers as well working with IFOR to bring peace to a troubled area of Europe. It truly is a new NATO and a new Europe. It is one team with one mission.


Innovative methods of operation

The new SHAPE has responded well to its mission of planning and supporting operation Joint Endeavour. When SACEUR was appointed the overall responsible authority for the Bosnian mission, SHAPE rapidly developed a concept of operations and of an operations plan that was approved by the Military Committee and the North Atlantic Council. The quick response was the result of several innovations in SHAPE's methods of operation.

Sava Bridge crossing
A tank from the US First Armoured Cavalry crosses from Croatia into Bosnia on a pontoon bridge built by IFOR forces across the Sava River (AP 29Kb)
First, the ACE Reaction Force Planning Staff (ARFPS) was revitalized and directly involved in strategic planning. The ARFPS has been a major reason for the success to date. Second, SHAPE's Crisis Response Center (CRC) was activated in the winter of 1993-94 to monitor the deepening crisis in the former Yugoslavia.

The Crisis Management Organization (CMO) - a paper organization as old as SHAPE itself - was activated late in 1995 to coordinate SHAPE's overall direction of operation Joint Endeavour. Fully operational, the CMO consists of elements from all of SHAPE's peacetime divisions. Cells from Operations, Intelligence, Logistics, Mobility, Resources, Public Information, Communications and Systems divisions, and liaison elements