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Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM)

Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) actively campaigns in support of Alliance Collective Defence.


Welcome Transforming SOF

The Alliance’s fundamental purpose and most significant responsibility is to ensure the collective defence of NATO Allies. Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) promotes and ensures that the SOF of NATO support Alliance efforts to deter in peacetime and defend in crisis and conflict against the Alliance’s two main threats, Russia and Terrorist Organizations. SOFCOM enables our forces’ collective readiness, responsiveness, deployability, integration, and interoperability through policy, doctrine, education, training, verification, and certification. SOFCOM’s leadership’s synchronises Allied and Partner SOF activities to support NATO’s three core tasks: deterrence and defence, crisis prevention and management, and cooperative security.


Mission Focusing Special Operations

The mission of SOFCOM is to provide strategic advice, enable development, and synchronise activities to deter threats and defend the Alliance.


Vision Adapting to Change

SOFCOM coheres the NATO SOF enterprise to establish a theatre architecture for the SOF Domains. SOFCOM will build and operate an organization to deliver SOF effects in a rapidly evolving strategic context. Furthermore, SOFCOM will build and enable NATO SOF capability and interoperability, with a renewed focus on developing strategic advantages to deter and defend against all threats from all directions.

Featured SOFCOM News

The latest news and information on the SOFCOM missions.


About Us

What is SOFCOM?

Since 2010, SOFCOM has increased the readiness and interoperability of Allied SOF forces and assisted NATO to develop and integrate partner SOF forces. NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) are designed to respond to complex and dynamic security missions within the evolving strategic environment that compliment NATO air, maritime and land forces and are relevant across the full range of military operations. Special Operations are military activities conducted by specially designated, organised, trained, and equipped forces using distinct techniques and modes of employment. These activities may be conducted independently or with conventional forces across the full range of military operations. Political-military considerations may require clandestine operations and acceptance of a degree of political or military risk not associated with operations by conventional forces. Special operations create strategic or operational level effects or are executed where significant political risk exists. Special Operations Forces serve the Alliance’s collective defence by supporting NATO’s Strategic Concept through deterrence and defence, crisis response and management and cooperative security.

Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) serves as the primary focal point for Allied SOF.

SOFCOM History

At the 2006 NATO Summit in Riga, Allied Heads of State and Government agreed to launch a Special Operations Forces Transformation Initiative to increase Allied and partner SOFs’ ability to train and operate together, including improving equipment capabilities.

The NATO SOF Coordination Center (NSCC) was created to implement the SOF Transformation Initiative and synchronize SOF capability development across NATO. The NSCC supported NATO’s International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan and stood up the NATO Special Operations University (NSOU). In 2010, the NSCC was reflagged as NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ). In 2018, NATO Allies designated NSHQ as the Theatre Component Command for NATO SOF activities. In 2023, NSHQ was reflagged as Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) to align with other NATO Theatre Component Commands (AIRCOM, LANDCOM, MARCOM). Today, SOFCOM’s mission is to enhance interoperability among Allied and partner SOF operators. As such, SOFCOM is the Theatre Component Command for NATO SOF activities undertaken by contributions from national SOF units. The SOFCOM Commander, as the Theatre SOF Component Commander, provides strategic SOF-related advice, enables SOF development and synchronises SOF operations and exercises to deter threats and defend the Alliance.



SOFCOM's unit emblem represents the three dimensions of SOF capabilities: The sword and trident symbolise land and maritime capabilities. The wings represent the air component and express the ability of SOF to respond rapidly over great distances, overcoming obstacles in the path of mission accomplishment. The parachute represents SOF’s airborne capability. The shades of blue represent the North Atlantic’s seasonal faces, indicating SOF’s dedication to the Alliance through the calms and storms of today's challenging environment. The NATO emblem is placed in the middle, reflecting the overall architecture wherein SOFCOM operates. The Latin motto "Unitate Sententiae, Certo Actio" translates to "Through Unity of Purpose, Certainty of Action".


  • SOFCOM is recognized as a NATO Military Body under the NATO Force Structure during a crisis. It is a Memorandum of Understanding organisation with the United States as the lead framework nation.
  • Located on the same premises as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, SOFCOM is under the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) operational command.
  • The SOFCOM Commander is dual-hatted as SACEUR’s Special Operations Advisor (SOFAD).
  • Twenty-seven NATO member countries and three partners (Austria, Ireland, and Sweden) are represented among the 200-plus headquarters staff.
  • The SOF of NATO are organized in a manner with land, maritime and air units to allow Allies and partners to coherently and efficiently act together to achieve tactical, operational, and strategic objectives.
  • Special operations can be conducted independently or in conjunction with conventional forces, interagency partners, and operations by, with, or through local or surrogate forces. Most SOF operations require non-SOF support.


What are the roles of SOFCOM in NATO?

SOFCOM is co-located with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium. It falls under the operational command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). Twenty-seven NATO member countries and three partners (Austria, Ireland and Sweden) are represented among the 200-plus headquarters staff.

SOFCOM's mission is to enhance the interoperability of Allied SOF and the integration of partner SOF alongside NATO forces. In 2018, Allies gave SOFCOM the responsibilities to act as the Theatre Component for NATO SOF. The SOFCOM Commander, as the Theatre Component Commander, provides strategic SOF Advice, enables SOF development and synchronises SOF activities to deter threats and defend the Alliance.

The NATO Special Operations University on Chièvres Air Base in Belgium provides training and education to build Allies' and partners' SOF capabilities, capacity and interoperability. This effort enhances the development of capable, realistic, geographically oriented SOF relationships and structures to create effects in peacetime, crisis and conflict.

SOFCOM, in support of the Alliance's Special Operations Forces, continues to adapt, coordinate, enable and support the integration of multinational SOF, ensuring the Alliance’s collective defence based on 360-degree approach.


Getting to SHAPE

SOFCOM is located at SHAPE, in Mons Belgium.

The recommended airports for arrivals and departures are Brussels Airport (BRU) for international flights or Charleroi Airport (CRL) for European and national flights. Transportation around Mons and most of Europe is relatively easy. This can be accomplished by train, bus, or taxi, depending on the destination.

The closest train stations are in the towns of Soignies (about 11 km to the northeast of SHAPE), Mons (7 km to the southwest), and Jurbise (9 km to the northwest).

GPS Reference

SHAPE: 50°30′01.6"N 3°58′59.7"E
Chièvres AB: 50°35′14.3"N 3°48′29.9"E

Additional Arrival Information

Contact Us

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Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM)

Building 915
B-7010, SHAPE
Email: webteam@nshq.nato.int