United States European Command
United States European Command (EUCOM) is a geographically-oriented Unified Combatant Command (UCC). Its responsibilities include Europe, and the countries of North Africa and Middle East that are on the coast of the Mediterranean Se. United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) is a sub-regional command of EUCOM. Its commanding officer, a four-star general or admiral, also is the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. The inclumbent is Admiral James G. Stavridis.
A major part of NATO, European Command plans for regional contingencies, and when ordered, employs military forces within the region, either as a Standing Joint Force Headquarters, or through specialized Joint Task Forces. EUCOM is the only regional combatant command with a headquarters forward deployed outside the United States.
A recent (2003-2006) EUCOM commander, James Jones, was the first Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in the Obama Administration.
EUCOM is a direct descendant of the World War II command, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) The administration and supply of U.S. forces in SHAEF were the responsibilities of the "European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army--Communications Zone (ETOUSA-COMZ)." General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded both SHAPE and ETOUSA-COMZ.
Two weeks after the redesignation of ETOUSA-COMZ as "U.S. Forces, European Theater (USFET)" on 1 July 1945, SHAEF was inactivated (14 July 1945). USFET, however, never truly unified. The Army component staff duplicated the EUCOM staff.
The Berlin blockade
A Soviet blockade of West Berlin, beginning on 20 June 1948, triggered an Allied response in the form of the Berlin Airlift (26 June 1948 -30 September 1949). General Lucius D. Clay, the Military Governor (U.S.) and Commander-in-Chief, European Command observed in April 1949 that: "Among our Armed Forces, the Airlift has become a symbol of unity, with the Air Force, Army and Navy all cooperating to the limit to fulfill the highest expression of American will--Freedom."
These combined events led to the formation of NATO.
NATO and SACEUR
The Soviet blockade of the three western sectors of Berlin also catalyzed the signing of the treaty that established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 4 April 1949 (effective date 24 August 1949).
On 19 December 1950, General Eisenhower became the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). He subsequently activated the Allied Command Europe (ACE) and established his headquarters at Roquencourt (Paris) on 2 April 1951.
U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) is a major sub-headquarters; Seventh United States Army is the land forces component for EUCOM. V Corps is normally assigned to the Seventh Army, but was detailed to United States Central Command for the Iraq War; V Corps was the major Army ground headquarters in the major combat phase.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe is based in Lisbon; United States Sixth Fleet is the maritime component.
U.S. Air Forces Europe has five main operating bases along with 80 geographically separated locations. The main operating bases are: RAF bases Lakenheath and Mildenhall in England; Ramstein and Spangdahlem air bases in Germany; and Aviano AB, Italy. Its major subcommands are the Third Air Force and Seventeenth Air Force, the latter also designated Air Forces Africa.
The 10th Special Forces Group has Europe as its area of responsibility. There may be forward-deployed elements of Delta Force, or at least a prepared base for them. MG Michael Repass commands the theater-level, multiservice special operations organization.