Supreme Allied Commander Europe

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Supreme Allied Commander Europe
SHAPE coat of arms
General Christopher G. Cavoli
since 4 July 2022[1]
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe)
Reports toNorth Atlantic Council,
through NATO Military Committee
ResidenceChateau Gendebien
SeatCasteau, Mons, Belgium
NominatorPresident of the United States,
with Senate advice and consent
AppointerNorth Atlantic Council
Formation2 April 1951
First holderGeneral of the Army
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is the commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Allied Command Operations (ACO) and head of ACO's headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). The commander is based at SHAPE in Casteau, Belgium. Effectively SACEUR is the second-highest military position within NATO, below only the Chair of the NATO Military Committee in terms of precedence. There is another Supreme Allied Commander in NATO, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), titularly equal, but their duties are less important. SACT, in Norfolk, Virginia, has responsibility for capability development, rather than operations.

SACEUR has always been held by a U.S. military officer, and the position is dual-hatted with that of Commander of United States European Command.

The current SACEUR is General Christopher G. Cavoli of the United States Army.

List of holders[edit]

Gen. Eisenhower in front of the flag of SHAPE on 8 October 1951
2013 SACEUR change of command at SHAPE

Since 2003 the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) has also served as the head of Allied Command Europe and the head of Allied Command Operations. The officeholders have been:[2]

No. Portrait Supreme Allied Commander Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower, DwightGeneral of the Army
Dwight D. Eisenhower
2 April 195130 May 19521 year, 58 days United States Army
Matthew Ridgway
Ridgway, MatthewGeneral
Matthew Ridgway
30 May 195211 July 19531 year, 42 days United States Army
Alfred Gruenther
Gruenther, AlfredGeneral
Alfred Gruenther
11 July 195320 November 19563 years, 132 days United States Army
Lauris Norstad
Norstad, LaurisGeneral
Lauris Norstad
20 November 19561 January 19636 years, 42 days United States Air Force
Lyman Lemnitzer
Lemnitzer, LymanGeneral
Lyman Lemnitzer
1 January 19631 July 19696 years, 181 days United States Army
Andrew Goodpaster
Goodpaster, AndrewGeneral
Andrew Goodpaster
1 July 196915 December 19745 years, 167 days United States Army
Alexander M. Haig Jr.
Haig, AlexanderGeneral
Alexander M. Haig Jr.
15 December 19741 July 19794 years, 198 days United States Army
Bernard W. Rogers
Rogers, BernardGeneral
Bernard W. Rogers
1 July 197926 June 19877 years, 360 days United States Army
John Galvin
Galvin, JohnGeneral
John Galvin
26 June 198723 June 19924 years, 363 days United States Army
John Shalikashvili
Shalikashvili, JohnGeneral
John Shalikashvili
23 June 199222 October 19931 year, 121 days United States Army
George Joulwan
Joulwan, GeorgeGeneral
George Joulwan
(born 1939)
22 October 199311 July 19973 years, 262 days United States Army
Wesley Clark
Clark, WesleyGeneral
Wesley Clark
(born 1944)
11 July 19973 May 20002 years, 297 days United States Army
Joseph Ralston
Ralston, JosephGeneral
Joseph Ralston
(born 1943)
3 May 200017 January 20032 years, 259 days United States Air Force
James L. Jones
Jones, JamesGeneral
James L. Jones
(born 1943)
17 January 20037 December 20063 years, 324 days United States Marine Corps
Bantz J. Craddock
Craddock, BantzGeneral
Bantz J. Craddock
(born 1949)
7 December 20062 July 20092 years, 207 days United States Army
James G. Stavridis
Stavridis, JamesAdmiral
James G. Stavridis
(born 1955)
2 July 200913 May 20133 years, 315 days United States Navy
Philip M. Breedlove
Breedlove, PhilipGeneral
Philip M. Breedlove
(born 1955)
13 May 20134 May 20162 years, 357 days United States Air Force
Curtis Scaparrotti
Scaparrotti, CurtisGeneral
Curtis Scaparrotti
(born 1956)
4 May 20163 May 20192 years, 364 days United States Army
Tod D. Wolters
Wolters, Tod D.General
Tod D. Wolters
(born 1960)
3 May 20194 July 20223 years, 62 days United States Air Force
Christopher G. Cavoli
Cavoli, Christopher G.General
Christopher G. Cavoli
(born c. 1965)
4 July 2022Incumbent1 year, 234 days United States Army


The position of Deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe (DSACEUR) has been known as Deputy Head of Allied Command Operations since 2003. From January 1978 until June 1993 there were two DSACEURs, one British and one German. From July 1993 this reverted to a single DSACEUR. With a small number of exceptions who were German military officers, DSACEUR is normally a British military officer. The officeholders have been as follows:

No. Portrait Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Start of term End of term Branch Unit of Commission
1. Field Marshal

The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG GCB DSO PC DL

2 April 1951 23 September 1958  British Army Royal Warwickshire Regiment
2. General

Sir Richard Gale, GCB KBE DSO MC

23 September 1958 22 September 1960  British Army Worcestershire Regiment
3. General

Sir Hugh Stockwell, GCB KBE DSO*

22 September 1960 1 January 1964  British Army Royal Welch Fusiliers
4. Marshal of the Royal Air Force

Sir Thomas Pike, GCB CBE DFC* DL

1 January 1964 1 March 1967 United Kingdom Royal Air Force N/A
5. General

Sir Robert Bray, GCB KBE DSO*

1 March 1967 1 December 1970  British Army Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment
6. General

Sir Desmond Fitzpatrick, GCB GCVO DSO MBE MC

1 December 1970 12 November 1973  British Army 1st The Royal Dragoons
7. General

Sir John Mogg, GCB CBE DSO*

12 November 1973 12 March 1976  British Army Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
8. General

Sir Harry Tuzo, GCB OBE MC DL

12 March 1976 2 November 1978  British Army Royal Artillery
9. General

Gerd Schmückle

3 January 1978 1 April 1980 Germany German Army -
10. General

Sir Jack Harman, GCB OBE MC

2 November 1978 9 April 1981  British Army 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays)
11. Admiral

Günter Luther

1 April 1980 1 April 1982 Germany German Navy Naval aviation
12. Air Chief Marshal

Sir Peter Terry, GCB AFC

9 April 1981 16 July 1984 United Kingdom Royal Air Force Royal Air Force Regiment (anti-aircraft artillery)
13. General

Günter Kießling

1 April 1982 2 April 1984 Germany German Army -
14. General

Hans-Joachim Mack

2 April 1984 1 October 1987 Germany German Army Bundesgrenzschutz
15. General

Sir Edward Burgess, KCB OBE

16 July 1984 26 June 1987  British Army Royal Artillery
16. General

Sir John Akehurst, KCB CBE

26 June 1987 17 January 1990  British Army Northamptonshire Regiment
17. General

Eberhard Eimler

1 October 1987 2 October 1990 Germany German Air Force N/A
18. General

Sir Brian Kenny, GCB CBE

17 January 1990 5 April 1993  British Army 4th Queen's Own Hussars
19. General

Dieter Clauss

2 October 1990 1 July 1993 Germany German Army -
20. General

Sir John Waters, GCB CBE

5 April 1993 12 December 1994  British Army Gloucestershire Regiment
21. General

Sir Jeremy Mackenzie, GCB OBE DL

12 December 1994 30 November 1998  British Army Queen’s Own Highlanders
22. General

Sir Rupert Smith, KCB DSO* OBE QGM

30 November 1998 17 September 2001  British Army Parachute Regiment
23. General

Dieter Stöckmann

17 September 2001 18 September 2002 Germany German Army Panzergrenadier
24. Admiral

Rainer Feist

18 September 2002 1 October 2004 Germany German Navy N/A
25. General

Sir John Reith, KCB CBE

1 October 2004 22 October 2007  British Army Parachute Regiment
26. General

Sir John McColl, KCB CBE DSO KStJ

22 October 2007 March 2011  British Army Royal Anglian Regiment
27. General

Sir Richard Shirreff, KCB CBE

March 2011 March 2014  British Army 14th/20th King's Hussars
28. General

Sir Adrian Bradshaw, KCB OBE

March 2014 March 2017  British Army 14th/20th King's Hussars
29. General

Sir James Everard, KCB CBE

March 2017 April 2020  British Army 17th/21st Lancers
30. General

Sir Tim Radford, KCB DSO OBE

April 2020 July 2023  British Army The Light Infantry
31. Admiral

Sir Keith Blount, KCB OBE FRAeS

July 2023 Incumbent  Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm

Role in intra-European defence integration[edit]

DSACEUR's role in European Union missions[edit]

Under the 2002 Berlin Plus agreement, SHAPE may take part in the European Union's (EU) command and control structure as an operational headquarters (OHQ) for EU missions. In such an instance, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), who is always a European, would serve as Operation Commander (OpCdr). This use of SHAPE by the EU is subject to a "right of first refusal", i.e. NATO must first decline to intervene in a given crisis,[3][4] and is contingent upon unanimous approval among NATO states, including those outside of the EU.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NATO Secretary General at Allied Command Operations change of command". NATO. 1 July 2022. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  2. ^ List of Former SACEURs
  3. ^ "EU Operations Centre".
  4. ^ The Heritage Foundation report, March 24, 2008. [1]
  5. ^ Bram Boxhoorn, Broad Support for NATO in the Netherlands, 21-09-2005, "Article". Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2007.

External links[edit]