Supreme Allied Commander

Supreme Allied Commander is the title held by the most senior commander within certain multinational military alliances. It originated as a term used by the Allies of World War I during World War I, and is currently used only within NATO. The current NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe is U.S. General Tod D. Wolters.

World War I

On 26 March 1918, the French marshal Ferdinand Foch was appointed Supreme Allied Commander, gaining command of all Allied forces everywhere, and coordinated the French, British, American, and Italian forces to stop the Spring Offensive, the last massive offensive of the German Empire.[1] He was the one who accepted the German cessation of hostilities in his private train.

World War II

During World War II, the Allied leaders appointed Supreme Allied Commanders to manage the multi-nation, multi-discipline fighting forces for a particular theatre of war. These Supreme Allied Commanders were given operational control over all air, land, and sea units in that theatre. In other cases, senior commanders were given the title Commander-in-Chief.

These Supreme Allied Commanders were drawn from the most senior leaders in the British Armed Forces and United States Armed Forces. These commanders reported to the British/American Combined Chiefs of Staff, although in the case of the Pacific and South East Asia, the relevant national command authorities of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff or the British Chiefs of Staff Committee had responsibility for the main conduct of the war in the theatre, depending on the Supreme Commander's nationality.

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower served in successive Supreme Allied Commander roles. Eisenhower was the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force for the Mediterranean theatre. Eisenhower then served as Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF) in the European theatre, starting in December 1943 with the creation of the command to execute Operation Overlord and ending in July 1945 shortly after the End of World War II in Europe. In 1951, Eisenhower would again be a Supreme Allied Commander, the first to hold the post for NATO (see next section).

Field Marshal Henry Maitland Wilson succeeded Eisenhower in the Mediterranean theatre, given the title Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean. Wilson was succeeded by Field Marshal Harold Alexander, who continued in charge of those Allied forces until the end of the war.

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Louis Mountbatten was Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia (SACSEA) throughout most of its existence. He replaced General Archibald Wavell.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was named the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the China war zone (CBI) on 1942. However, US forces in practice were usually overseen by General Joseph Stilwell, the Deputy Allied Commander in China and South East Asia Command (SEAC). Until late 1944 that the land forces chain of command was clarified, after Stilwell was recalled to Washington. His overall role, and the CBI command were then split among three people: Lt Gen. Raymond Wheeler became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia; Maj. Gen. Albert Wedemeyer became Chief of Staff to Chiang, and commander of US Forces, China Theater (USFCT). Lt Gen. Daniel Sultan was promoted, from deputy commander of CBI to commander of US Forces, India-Burma Theater (USFIBT) and commander of the NCAC.

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was appointed Supreme Allied Commander, South West Pacific Area (SWPA) on 18 June 1942.[2] However, he preferred to use the title Commander-in-Chief. During the Allied occupation of Japan following the war, MacArthur held the title of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP).The Pacific Ocean Areas (POA), divided into the Central Pacific Area, the North Pacific Area and the South Pacific Area,[3]:652–653 were commanded by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean Areas.


The term came into use again with the formation of NATO in 1949. In 1952, Allied Command Europe was established, led by Eisenhower. He became the Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR). Soon afterwards, Allied Command Atlantic was established, at Norfolk, Virginia, under Lynde McCormick, a U.S. Navy admiral. His title was Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT), and the entire command was usually known as SACLANT. Both Supreme Commander have, until 2009, been American, with a deputy commander from another NATO member, though only British and Germans have held the post.

In June 2003, the commands were reshuffled. One command was given responsibility for operations, and one for transforming the military components of the alliance to meet new challenges. In Europe, Allied Command Operations was established from the former Allied Command Europe, and given responsibility for all NATO military operations worldwide. However, for legal reasons, SACEUR retained the traditional title including Europe.[4] In the United States, SACLANT was decommissioned and Allied Command Transformation established. The headquarters of ACT is at the former SACLANT headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Each has a Supreme Allied Commander as its commander.

See also


  1. ^ Messenger, Charles (2001). Reader's Guide to Military History. pp. 170–71.
  2. ^ Milner, Samuel (1957). Victory in Papua (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. p. 22. LCCN 56-60004. OCLC 220484034. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  3. ^ Potter & Nimitz (1960).
  4. ^ Pedlow, Evolution of NATO's Command Structure 1951-2009.
  5. ^

External links

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was created by an act of the United States Congress on July 6, 1960. The medal was intended as a new decoration of the United States Air Force to replace the policy of awarding the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Air Force personnel.The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any member of the United States Air Force who has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility. The interpretation of the phrase "great responsibility" means that this medal is generally awarded only to officers who hold at least the rank of Major General. However, as is customary for most military decorations, the requirements for the Distinguished Service Medal are interpreted more liberally when awarded upon retirement. As a result, it is the typical decoration for a retiring Brigadier General, and in recent years it has also been awarded to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force upon retirement.

Cases of the award of this decoration to an individual who was not a general officer, or the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, are unusual. The medal is typically awarded to senior Air Force generals. Two notable exceptions are astronauts Buzz Aldrin who was awarded this decoration even though he retired as a colonel and Colonel David Scott (who flew on Gemini 8, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15) who was awarded the medal twice.Recipients during the medal's first 6 years included General Emmett E. "Rosie" O'Donnell, Jr. (a United States Air Force four-star general who served as Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces from 1959 to 1963). O'Donnell also led the first B-29 Superfortress attack upon Tokyo during World War II after the 1942 Doolittle Raid.

Another early recipient of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was Major General Osmond J. Ritland, USAF, who received his medal on November 30, 1965, upon his retirement.Additional awards are denoted with oak leaf clusters.This award is comparable to the Department of the Air Force Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service given to civilian employees of the Department of the Air Force.

Allied Command Transformation

Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is a military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed in 2003 after restructuring.

It was intended to lead military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities, using new concepts such as the NATO Response Force and new doctrines in order to improve the alliance's military effectiveness. Since France rejoined the NATO Military Command Structure in mid-2009, a significant change took place where the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) became a French officer. The first French officer to serve as SACT was French Air Force General, Stephane Abrial (2009–2012).

Allied Land Command

Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) is the standing headquarters for NATO land forces which may be assigned as necessary. The Commander LANDCOM is the prime land warfare advisor to the Alliance. When directed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, it provides the core of the headquarters responsible for the conduct of land operations. The command is based at Şirinyer (Buca), İzmir in Turkey.

Allied Maritime Command

Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) is the central command of all NATO maritime forces and the Commander MARCOM is the prime maritime advisor to the Alliance. When directed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), it provides the core of the headquarters responsible for the conduct of maritime operations. The command is based at the Northwood Headquarters in northwest London.

Bernard W. Rogers

Bernard William Rogers (July 16, 1921 – October 27, 2008) was a United States Army general who served as the 28th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and later as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander in Chief, United States European Command.

Besides the Distinguished Service Cross, Rogers' decorations included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, four awards of the Legion of Merit and three awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (CMC) is the head of the NATO Military Committee, which advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. He is the senior military spokesman of the 29-nation alliance and principal advisor to the Secretary General. The Chairman is one of the foremost officials of NATO, next to the Secretary General and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He is assisted by the Deputy Chairman, who advises the Deputy Secretary General and serves as the principal agent for coordination of nuclear, biological, and chemical matters for the Military Committee.The current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, former Chief of Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces, who took office on 29 June 2018.

Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army)

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is a military award of the United States Army that is presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service that is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.Separate Distinguished Service Medals exist for the different branches of the military as well as a fifth version of the medal which is a senior award of the United States Department of Defense. The army version of the Distinguished Service Medal is typically referred to simply as the "Distinguished Service Medal", while the other branches of service use the service name as a prefix.

For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war, and requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance.

Awards may be made to persons other than members of the United States Armed Forces for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances, with the express approval of the president in each case.

George Joulwan

George Alfred Joulwan (born November 16, 1939, Pottsville, Pennsylvania) is a retired United States Army general. He finished his military career as the Commander-in-Chief, United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR) in 1997.Over a military career spanning 36 years, General Joulwan fought in Vietnam, Panama, and El Salvador. As the Supreme Allied Commander, he conducted over 20 operations in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East. When the United States sent forces into Bosnia in the 1990s, General Joulwan played the leading role in troop deployment, earning praise by President Clinton upon Joulwan's retirement.As SACEUR, General Joulwan created a strategic policy for the United States military engagement in Africa, which was the first time in U.S. history that such a policy had been crafted.

Ian Forbes

Admiral Sir Ian Andrew Forbes, (born 24 October 1946) is a former Royal Navy officer who served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.

James Perowne

Admiral Sir James Francis Perowne, (born 29 July 1947) is a former Royal Navy officer who served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic from 1998 to 2002.

John McColl

General Sir John Chalmers McColl, (born 17 April 1952) is a retired senior British Army officer and a past Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. McColl previously served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 2007 to 2011.

List of United States Navy four-star admirals

This is a complete list of four-star admirals in the United States Navy. The rank of admiral (or full admiral, or four-star admiral) is the highest rank normally achievable in the U.S. Navy. It ranks above vice admiral (three-star admiral) and below fleet admiral (five-star admiral).

There have been 269 four-star admirals in the history of the U.S. Navy. Of these, 228 achieved that rank while on active duty, 40 were promoted upon retirement in recognition of combat citations, and one was promoted posthumously. Admirals entered the Navy via several paths: 235 were commissioned via the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), 19 via Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), 8 via Officer Candidate School (OCS), 2 via warrant, 2 via Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS), one via direct commission (direct), one via the Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) program, and one via the U.S. Merchant Marine.

Mountbatten, Singapore

Mountbatten is a neighbourhood located in the planning area of Marine Parade, Singapore.

The neighbourhood is named after Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander of the South East Asia Command, Governor General of India and British Military Administrator of Malaya from 1945 to 1946.

Mountbatten is served by Mountbatten MRT Station and Dakota MRT Station on the Circle MRT Line. Both stations are situated under Old Airport Road.

Mountbatten Road is a major thoroughfare that stretches all the way from the junction with Nicoll Highway, Guillemard Road and Sims Way (where Kallang Airport Way branches out from Sims Way) in Kallang to Haig Road in Katong where it continues eastward as East Coast Road.

Secretary General of NATO

The Secretary General of NATO is an international diplomat who serves as the chief civil servant of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The officeholder is responsible for coordinating the workings of the alliance, leading NATO's international staff, chairing the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and most major committees of the alliance, with the notable exception of the NATO Military Committee, as well as acting as NATO's spokesperson. The Secretary General does however not have any military command role; political, military and strategic decisions ultimately rest with the member states. Together with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and the Supreme Allied Commander, the Secretary General is one of the foremost officials of NATO.

The current Secretary General of NATO is former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who took office on 1 October 2014. Stoltenberg's mission as Secretary General was extended for another four-year term, meaning that he will lead NATO until September 30, 2022.

Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic

The Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) was one of two supreme commanders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the other being the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The SACLANT led Allied Command Atlantic is based at Norfolk, Virginia. The entire command was routinely referred to as 'SACLANT'.

In 1981 SACLANT's wartime task was listed as being to provide for the security of the area by guarding sea lanes to deny their use to an enemy and to safeguard them for the reinforcement and resupply of NATO Europe with personnel and materiel.The command's area of responsibility extended from the North Pole to the Tropic of Cancer as well as extending from the east coast of the North America to the west coast of Africa and Europe, including Portugal but not the English Channel, the British Isles, and the Canary Islands.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe

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. SACEUR is the second-highest military position within NATO, below only the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in terms of precedence.

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 Tod D. Wolters of the United States Air Force.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force

Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF; SHAYF) was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commander in SHAEF throughout its existence. The position itself shares a common lineage with Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Atlantic, but they are different titles.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). Since 1967 it has been located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons, but it had previously been located, from 1953, at Rocquencourt, next to Versailles, France. From 1951 to 2003, SHAPE was the headquarters of Allied Command Europe (ACE). Since 2003 it has been the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, controlling all NATO operations worldwide.

SHAPE retained its traditional name with reference to Europe for legal reasons although the geographical scope of its activities was extended in 2003. At that time, NATO's command in Lisbon, historically part of Allied Command Atlantic, was reassigned to ACO. The commander of Allied Command Operations has also retained the title "Supreme Allied Commander Europe" (SACEUR), and continues to be a U.S. four-star general officer or flag officer who also serves as Commander, U.S. European Command.

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