In 1977, the SACEUR announced that LANDSOUTHEAST’s command structure would be reviewed in accordance with an agreement reached between NATO and the Turkish government.
Under the revised Command Structure, which became effective July 1, 1978, the commander of LANDSOUTHEAST would be a Turkish four-star general, his deputy a U.S. two-star general, and the chief of staff also a Turkish two-star. Turkish Army Gen. Vecihi Akýn was the first Turkish Commander of LANDSOUTHEAST.
The new strategic environment emerging from the major changes that occurred in the international political scene since 1989 (i.e., fall of the Berlin Wall and German Reunification, dissolution of the Soviet Union, etc.), necessitated a comprehensive review of NATO's strategic concept, leading to the development of new plans to modify the Military Command Structure. These changes would eventually impact LANDSOUTHEAST's future.
At the November 2002 Prague Summit, the NATO Heads of State and Government endorsed in principle a revised operational command structure based on the minimum military requirement. On June 12, 2003, the new NATO Command Structure was finalised and approved by the Defence Planning Committee in Ministerial Session. This planned called for the activation of a Joint Forces Command (JFC) headquarters in Naples, Italy, along with three subordinate Component Commands: the Air Component Command (ACC) in Izmir, Turkey, the Maritime Component Command (MCC) in Naples and the Land Component Command (LCC) in Madrid, Spain.
At the NATO Lisbon Summit of 2010, Alliance nations agreed that NATO should transition towards a leaner structure in an effort to address the current economic climate. During the Chicago Summit of May 2012, all 28 nations unanimously agreed to reduce the number of major headquarters from 11 to only six and to reduce the number of staff from 13,000 to around 8,800 under a move called NATO Command Structure Review.
Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) was established in Izmir, Turkey, December 1, 2012, at the former NATO Air Command-Izmir, which deactivated the following year on June 1, 2013. The SACEUR, U.S. Navy Admiral James G. Stavridis, presided, unfurling the LANDCOM colors to pass to its first commanding general, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges. LANDCOM's premier Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL), Canadian Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Saulnier, would serve as an important symbol for Hodges' vision to instill an ethos across all NATO armies that sought to empower the Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) with greater influence and responsibility for training Soldiers and advising commanders.
As part of the Allied Command Operations (ACO) reformation, two existing land force headquarters -- Forces Command Heidelberg (Germany) and Forces Command Madrid (Spain) -- were to be deactivated in early 2013. In addition, for the first time in NATO history, the NCS had to develop a deployment capability to offer the North Atlantic Council (NAC) with flexible and highly responsive options to prepare for and deter emerging and unanticipated threats to the Alliance's security.
LANDCOM would be the first of the three solitary component commands to be required to reach Full Operating Capability (FOC) by December 2014, which was the deadline for NATO operations in Afghanistan in support of International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) to conclude and transition to Operation Resolute Support.
Since its founding in 1949, the transatlantic Alliance's flexibility, embedded in its original Treaty, has allowed it to suit the different requirements of different times. In the 1950s, the Alliance was a purely defensive organisation. In the 1960s, NATO became a political instrument for détente. In the 1990s, the Alliance was a tool for the stabilisation of Eastern Europe and Central Asia through the incorporation of new Partners and Allies. In the first half of the 21st century, NATO faces an ever-growing number of new threats. As the foundation stone of transatlantic peace and freedom, NATO must be ready to meet this challenge.
To contribute to that purpose, today, with its adapted structure and increased number of posts, LANDCOM is the Theatre Land Component and Land Advocate responsible for coordinating and synchronizing NATO and Partner Land Forces by enabling land domain READINESS, INTEROPERABILITY, STANDARDIZATION, and COMPETENCY; stands ready to deploy headquarters elements to provide planning, coordination, and C2 capabilities to Allied forces. LANDCOM will retain the capability to perform the role of MC-LCC as long as it is required, even on a permanent basis if the decision is made.