Relationships between U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Military Command Structures--Need for Closer Integration

LCD-77-491: Published: Aug 26, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 26, 1977.

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The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military command structures are similarly organized and have basically the same overall mission, which is to provide a combat-ready force to deter aggression from the Warsaw Pact nations.

The close relationship of the two command structures is best illustrated by: several U.S. commanders being also NATO commanders; NATO assuming operational command of U.S. combat forces in a NATO war; and NATO being heavily staffed with U.S. personnel in peacetime. There are at least two alternatives that should be considered in analyzing the U.S. command structure in Europe: integration of the U.S. unified command with NATO Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers, Europe, and integration of the component commands and the U.S. European Command.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should reexamine the U.S. command structure in Europe and make changes as necessary to insure that the structure is optimally organized to perform its primary wartime mission. The examination should include evaluation of the potential benefits of taking the leadership in giving NATO greater authority and control over peacetime logistics support in order to facilitate the transition to and effectiveness of wartime activities. The Secretary of Defense should also take a leadership role in encouraging a multilateral study to identify ways in which closer integration of the command structures of all the NATO member forces with the NATO command structure can be achieved.

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