Unified Combatant Command Spotlight: EUCOM | September 7, 2011
The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its area of focus covers 21,000,000 square miles (54,000,000 km2) and 51 countries and territories, including Europe, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Israel. The Commander of EUCOM simultaneously serves as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) within NATO. The current Commander of EUCOM is Admiral James G. Stavridis.
With national and international partners, U.S. European Command’s primary purpose to conduct military operations, international military partnering, and interagency partnering to enhance transatlantic security and defend the United States forward.
In early 1951, NATO established Allied Command Europe and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). General Dwight D. Eisenhower was called from retirement to become the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The United States sent massive reinforcements to Europe designed to deter the Soviet Union. The EUCOM was formed shortly in 1952.
During the Cold War and the Kosovo War, EUCOM was the lead command for potential operations. During the Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch, EUCOM controlled the forces flying from Incirlik Air Base.
EUCOM was established on 1 August 1952, to provide "unified command and authority" over all United States forces in Europe.
America's rapid post-war demobilization, followed by the end of the occupation of Germany in 1949, led many to question the United States' commitment to defend Western Europe against the spread of communism. Western nations questioned how they could provide for the common defense and simultaneously questioned America's role in such defense. In 1948–1949, the Berlin Blockade motivated Western Europe and the United States to create a military alliance. In 1949, the allies established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
From 1950 to 1953 United States military personnel in Europe grew from 120,000 to over 400,000.
EUCOM and its components continued to provide military assistance throughout Europe, as well as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, noncombatant evacuation, support to peacekeeping operations, and other non-traditional missions in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. For example, after the Congo became independent in 1960, EUCOM joined in several multinational operations in that country, including peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and noncombatant evacuation in 1960, 1964, 1967 and again in 1978. In the Middle East, EUCOM provided military assistance to Israel as well as noncombatant evacuation of American citizens in 1967, 1973, and 1982–1984.