NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Countdown to the 20th Anniversary of Allied Command Transformation

May 3, 2023


NORFOLK, VA – Allied Command Transformation is approaching its 20th Anniversary, which will be celebrated in June. Allied Command Transformation was established in June 2003, with the aim of providing guidance and transformation throughout NATO’s Military Instrument of Power. Staffed by many of the Alliance’s best and brightest thinkers, Allied Command Transformation is NATO’s Strategic Warfare Development Command, which continues looking ahead to develop and refine the necessary tools, capabilities, and forces, ensuring NATO’s collective defence and deterrence posture.

Allied Command Transformation is NATO’s Strategic Warfare Development Command, responsible for leading transformation throughout the Alliance. This includes understanding the continuously evolving global security environment, improving interoperability and military effectiveness, and applying this in the form of refined and evolving capabilities. “After identifying future threats and challenges, NATO Allies will need to develop the necessary tools, capabilities and forces […] Allied Command Transformation plays an important part in capability development,” said French Air and Space Force General Philippe Lavigne, the current Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.

The history of Allied Command Transformation, which was formed in 2003, started in 1952, with the formation of Allied Command Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2003, NATO shifted operational roles away from the command, which would instead take on a transformational role, considering the changing military requirements of NATO. Organized around four principal functions, Allied Command Transformation provides conceptual frameworks, explores capability development, and improves interoperability throughout the Alliance.

Four principal functions of Allied Command Transformation:

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Development of Capabilities
  • Education, Training and Exercises
  • Cooperation and Engagement

NATO’s military effectiveness is vital to ensuring freedoms and securities throughout the Alliance, where constant changes in security landscape present frequent challenges. Throughout Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, changes in the security landscape have required continued adaptation, anticipation, and application of NATO’s structures, forces, policy and doctrines.

United States Marine Corps General Jim Mattis, former Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, shared his thoughts: “Allied Command Transformation has delivered top-notch guidance as a thought-leader helping to build the necessary consensus across the nations. Often tested but never caught short, NATO owes much of its effectiveness to Allied Command Transformation’s anticipatory leadership and the intellectual rigor it brings to bear in the cause of peace and protection of our way of life.”