Special Operations Command Europe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Special Operations Command Europe
SOCEUR’s Distinctive Unit Insignia
CountryUnited States
BranchJoint service
TypeSpecial Operations
RolePlanning and oversight of Special Forces in US European Command’s area of responsibility
Garrison/HQPatch Barracks, Germany
Motto(s)Semper Preparate (Always Prepared)
CommanderMaj. Gen. Kirk Smith (since June 2018)

Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR, pronounced “Sock-Yer”) is a subordinate unified command of United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM, pronounced So-Comm).


Based at Patch Barracks near Stuttgart, Germany, SOCEUR’s function is to plan for use of Special Operations forces within EUCOM’s area of responsibility, employ the forces, and assess whether they are achieving the desired results.[1] SOCEUR conducts these activities as part of the US effort to strengthen the military capabilities and security of partner nations in Europe and counter threats to the US and its European partners.[1]


Beret flash for US Army members of SOCEUR

Forces of the United States Special Operations Command for which SOCEUR is responsible include: 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne); Naval Special Warfare Unit 2; 352d Special Operations Wing; and the SOCEUR Signal Detachment.[2]

Geographic focus[edit]


SOCEUR’s area of responsibility is based on EUCOM’s.[3] It consists of 51 countries, and extends from Greenland to the European continent.[3] It includes all of Russia, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caucasus region, and Israel.[3]


In 1955, the US European Command established Support Operations Command Europe to provide planning and operational control for Special Operations forces in the EUCOM area of responsibility.[4] Later that year, EUCOM re-designated the new unit as Support Operations Task Force Europe (SOTFE).[4]

When France withdrew from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1967, SOTFE moved from its headquarters in Paris to Panzer Kaserne near Stuttgart, West Germany.[4] In 1968, SOTFE moved to Patch Barracks.[4]

As part of the Goldwater-Nichols Act reforms, on May 30, 1986, SOCEUR was confirmed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a subordinate unified command of EUCOM and the EUCOM Special Operations Director took on the added role of SOCEUR commander [4]

Originally focused on containment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War, after the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991 SOCEUR’s focus shifted to other European countries, Africa and the Middle East.[4] Since then, SOCEUR and its components have taken part in special operations during Operations Desert Storm, Provide Comfort and Provide Comfort II.[4] In addition, prior to the creation of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and Special Operations Command Africa, SOCEUR took part in activities in Africa to include Silver Anvil (Sierra Leone) and Atlas Response (Mozambique).[4] SOCEUR also participated in operations in the Balkans, including Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.[4]


Commanders of Special Operations Command Europe since its establishment as a EUCOM subordinate unified command include:




  • Cunningham, Henry (May 15, 2003). "Special Forces gets new leader". The War at Home. SOCNET.com.
  • Cook, Pamela A. Q. "U.S. Special Operations Command Europe commander departs". EUCOM.mil. Patch Barracks, Germany: United States European Command. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  • Sparks, Donald. "Special Operations Command Europe holds change of command". EUCOM.mil. Patch Barracks, Germany: United States European Command. Retrieved August 26, 2011.