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NATO Special Operations University (NSOU)

The Crossroads of NATO SOF

The NSOU provides a physical and virtual common space where the entire NATO SOF community can assemble and create lasting relationships throughout the Alliance. The university endeavours to provide the right training to the right people at the right time. For the school to remain current and relevant, the NSOU employs a wide variety of teaching methods with diverse instructor backgrounds. The university has been a crossroads for over 15,000 NATO SOF professionals throughout its history and strives to continue supporting the community for decades to follow.

The NSOU delivers and hosts courses from various domains, including Operations (NRF preparation), Intelligence and Technical exploitation, Air development, and Maritime development. Although the Human Performance and Medical programmes are not NSOU curricula, they are coordinated/hosted by NSOU and provided to the NATO SOF community by the University College Cork (Ireland).

How to register for a course?

To register for a class, first you must locate the desired event in the catalog.

On the main SOFCOM portal, click on the TRAINING link to view a catalog of all training events. In the event catalog, there are filters available under Course Finder on the right-hand side of the page. These filters allow you to sort the courses by type and keywords.

Next, click on the blue Read More or green Register button in the event description. In the Course Iterations section of the course details page, choose the appropriate iteration and click the green Register button. If your registration is successful, the green Register button changes to indicate Applied, and a request is sent to the designated NTM to begin the approval process.


NATO Special Operations University (NSOU) is the leader in delivering world-class education and training to NATO SOF. NSOU courses provide timely and relevant instruction that are pivotal for enhancing the capabilities, interoperability, and effectiveness of Alliance and Partner nation’s SOF. The NSOU webpage is your access point for the delivery of NSOU services.


Mission Provide World-Class Learning

The NATO Special Operations University, as the leader for NATO Special Operations Force education and individual training, provides relevant, world-class curricula to enhance the capabilities, interoperability, and effectiveness of the SOF community throughout the Alliance and across Partner Nations.


Vision Innovative Educational Strategies

NSOU will continue to provide a global SOF network by building a collaborative community of practice among NSOU students and alumni, cultivating a lifelong learning ethos, developing academic credentials pathways, and meeting the evolving SOF challenges of the 21st century. As this collaborative community grows and through the delivery of a credible, adaptable, and relevant curriculum, NSOU’s vision of becoming the NATO Special Operations University will be realised.


Goals A Distinguished Educational and Training Facility

NSOU strives to remain a distinguished education and training facility (ETF) as validated by its accreditors, recognised by students for its outstanding academic and occupational curriculum, and respected among its peer educational institutions. NSOU aspires to develop college/university partnerships for credit equivalency and to create degree pathways for students completing NSOU courses and programmes in pursuit of the NATO Special Operations University (NSOU) designation by 2023.


About Us

What is NSOU?

The NATO Special Operations University, or NSOU, provides SOFCOM with an engagement capability focused on training and education for the Alliance and partner nations' SOF. The university is an extension of the Deputy Chief of Staff – Warfare Development (DCOS WD), which includes the Education, Doctrine, Special Operations Forces Command Joint Medical Division (SOFCOM JMED), Maritime Development Division (MDD), and Air Development Division (ADD). The DCOS WD ensures that the school's curriculum is synchronised with doctrine, training, and operations.

Located approximately 19 kilometres north of SHAPE, the NSOU provides the command with a physical and virtual SOF campus at Chièvres Air Base. NSOU facilities were purposely built to exploit technology and incorporate the SOF mindset into the academic design to provide an environment that educates and trains for uncertainty. The campus’ flexible infrastructure and technology also supports how adults learn best to meet thoughtful educational objectives. Classrooms are configured to accommodate the best learning environment, including two operational centres, multiple syndicate rooms with moveable high-quality whiteboard walls, and mobile desks with computers for lectures, syndicate discussion, and planning spaces.

The university conducts courses organically and hosts courses from partner military education and training institutions as part of the overall NSOU.

Chièvres Air Base (AB)

Home of NATO SOF Campus

Chièvres Air Base (AB) has been associated with the military history of Belgium since 1917. In 1917, Germany first landed an aircraft outside the village of Chièvres in the fields they determined to be a prime location for a military air base. When World War I ended in 1918, Germany left Belgium without completing the air base.

The potential air base land was returned to agriculture until the late 1930s, when the Belgian government decided to establish the airfield for Belgian military aviation. However, these plans came to a halt during World War II (May 1940), when Germany once again invaded the area and began to finish what they had started in 1917.

During the building of the German air base in 1940-41, more than 9,000 men and women were employed to build the runways, hangars, barracks, and flak towers. In May 1940, the Germans added 1,050 acres to the airfield, eight times larger than the Belgians had initially planned for in 1939. The airfield reached it’s maximum size of more than 3,706 acres in 1944.

The first unit to occupy Chièvres AB in 1940 was the Jagdegeschwader 26 from the Luftwaffe fighter wing, whose mission was to attack the beachhead of Dunkirk, France, and bomb airfields and aeroplane factories in the neighbourhoods of Paris. Later, the Italian 43rd Group used Chièvres AB as their base of attack for air raids over Britain. The Italian 43rd Group was recalled from Chièvres AB to Italy in December 1940, and German forces once again occupied Chièvres AB.

The Germans stayed at Chièvres AB until they retreated in August 1944. Before leaving, the Germans destroyed all of the airfield’s infrastructure and installations and burned all the base documents and records. As a result, the entire history of Chièvres AB over the last years disappeared in smoke.

Within a week of liberation, the U.S. Army engineers established a camp at Chièvres AB and began to rebuild the destroyed airfield. By October 1944, the air base was once again fully operational. In December 1945, U.S. Army personnel and engineers returned it to the Belgian military authorities.

From December 1950 to December 1967, Chièvres AB established the Belgian 7th Wing and hosted flight schools and a military training centre. On 31 December 1967, Chièvres AB was given to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) as a support installation. In January 1968, the U.S. Army established the NATO SHAPE Support Group on Chièvres AB to provide logistic and aircraft transportation support to NATO and SHAPE.

In 2009, the NATO SOF Coordination Center (NSCC) added its training and education compound to Chièvres AB, supporting the Alliance SOF mission. On 1 March 2010, the NSCC was redesigned as the Allied Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM). It remains so today.

Click here to find out more about Chièvres AB...

Contact Us

We are here to help!

NATO Special Operations University

B-7940, Brugelette-Chièvres

Email Address: nsoscourseadmin@nshq.nato.int