Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) was established in Izmir, Turkey, December 1, 2012, following an activation ceremony on Nov,. 30, 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.
Hodges arrived earlier that year in June 2012, leading a small number of multinational officers who would form the stand-up team (SUT) to prepare the new NATO headquarters in advance of its activation. 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. However, LANDCOM would assume their 90% of their missions with barely 10% of its own headquarters' positions filled. 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. The headquarters first had to achieve Initial Operating Capability (IOC), defined as 75% of its Peacetime Establishment filled and trained to conduct the majority of their mission essential tasks.