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Updated: 29-Oct-2002 NATO Publications

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Chapter 12: The Military Command Structure
The Military Structure
  Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT)

The ACLANT Area of Responsibility (AOR) extends from the North Pole to the Tropic of Cancer and from the East Coast of North America to the West Coast of Africa and Europe (including Portugal, but not the English Channel, the British Isles or the Canary Islands).

NATO is an Atlantic Alliance, dependent on vital sea lines for economic well-being in peacetime and survival in war. The primary task of ACLANT is therefore to contribute to security in the Atlantic area by safeguarding the Allies' sea lines of communication, supporting land and amphibious operations, and protecting the deployment of the Alliance's sea-based nuclear deterrent.

The Alliance's Strategic Concept, approved by Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit in April 1999, reflects a broad approach to security which places increased emphasis on conflict prevention and crisis management. In keeping with this approach, NATO's maritime force structures have been adapted to meet the needs of today's security environment in order to provide the range of options needed to respond to peacetime, crisis or conflict situations.

NATO's new military command structure eliminates the need for permanently established boundaries between commands below the strategic level. There are five major subordinate commands, including three Regional Headquarters, which report directly to SACLANT. Each of the Regional Headquarters is responsible to SACLANT for planning and executing Alliance military activities and arrangements, in peace, crisis or conflict, including undertaking tasks which may be delegated to them within the ACLANT Area of Responsibility or beyond it if required.

The five major subordinate commands are as follows:

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