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Turn of the Century

19 - The Revised Military Structure

While Balkan operations were the focus of the attention of AFSOUTH planners and operators, the Headquarters could not lose sight of other important events which marked the year of NATO's 50th Anniversary. 1999 was indeed a year of great changes within the Alliance. New members were admitted and a new military command structure took shape.

AFSOUTH held an official Accession Ceremony of the new NATO members – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland -- on 17 March 1999. With formal accession, Hungarian military personnel were integrated in the AFSOUTH staff, while Hungary became member of the Southern Region and part of AFSOUTH's area of responsibility. A few weeks later, another milestone was marked on the road towards adapting the NATO military arm to its new roles.

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20 - 1999: A Year of Major Changes

The year 1999 was certainly the busiest and most exciting time in AFSOUTH's history. As we have seen, the Naples NATO Headquarters was responsible for the military verification mission with which the international community cleared the way for a peaceful solution of the Kosovo crisis. AFSOUTH led the first ever major NATO air campaign, a success which will have an impact on the future use of air power. Meanwhile, it conducted the first ever NATO humanitarian operation, in Albania, while supporting similar efforts with its troops in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) (2). Immediately after the end of Operation "Allied Force," it was again AFSOUTH, as Joint Force Command, that supervised the deployment of the NATO-led Kosovo Force and a mine-sweeping operation in the Adriatic Sea, cleaning up ordnance jettisoned during the air operation.

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21 - The End of The Century

For AFSOUTH the year 2000 was mainly marked by completing the transition into the new command structure and by a progressively increased engagement in Balkan operations. As the staffing headquarters for KFOR, AFSOUTH conducted a series of major programs to bring new teams rotating into key staff positions at KFOR up to the required standards of interoperability. This mission had particular relevance when a non-NATO headquarters, Eurocorps, was nominated to provide the core staff for KFOR headquarters (KFOR staff rotated every six months, with a single headquarters identified a constituting the core). Even though it was made up of personnel from NATO nations, Eurocorps is not part of the NATO structure and required familiarisation with NATO procedures as well as with the Kosovo operational environment. Not less demanding was the task to 'mount' the KFOR rotating headquarters, which was formed from within Southern Region headquarters, mainly from JCS of Verona and JCSE of Izmir. In this case the additional challenge was to integrate a staff coming from different headquarters even though they were already familiar with basic NATO procedures. This mission facilitated the selection as the next COMKFOR the AFSOUTH Chief of Staff, Lt.Gen. Carlo Cabigiosu, the first Italian officer assigned to this key position.

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22 - New Missions For The New Millennium

Early in the New Year, on 18 January 2001, AFSOUTH assumed operational responsibilities for the forces of Operation "Joint Guardian," which included the Kosovo Force. KFOR at the time was comprised of forces from 39 nations, 20 of which were not part of NATO (Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, and Ukraine).
KFOR soldiers overlooking control point north of Donji Livoc.

A total of 42,000 troops were deployed in Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2) and Albania. The transition was indeed seamless; even though the situation in Kosovo and in Southern Serbia was far from being stable. There was a constant risk of escalation of hostilities at various potential flash points, like the town of Mitrovica. During the same period, tension was also very high in areas just across the Kosovo southern and south-eastern borders because of activities by Albanian armed extremists.

Just one month later, on 19 February, the land forces of Operation "Joint Forge," the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) for Bosnia-Herzegovina, were transferred to the operational control of AFSOUTH. Thirty-four nations contributed to SFOR, including 15 non-NATO nations (Albania, Austria, Argentina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden), for a total of about 20,000 troops.

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23 - From The Successes of 50 Years To Prospects For The Future

It was impossible to predict how long AFSOUTH would have to cope with the Balkan problems. It will be "as long as needed". Meanwhile, the headquarters remained projected towards its normal long-term basic commitments: to be able to defend peace while projecting stability. Exercise programs therefore could not lose their momentum and continued along a pattern of effectiveness and with the increased involvement of non-NATO partners. To be able to cope with the new complex array of commitments, AFSOUTH was also planning for construction of a new facility, where a state-of-the-art headquarters will guarantee all the needed working command, control and communication resources while providing much better quality of life. AFSOUTH celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 21 June 2001. After 50 years of a happy marriage with the city of Naples, the headquarters was preparing to move a few miles west, in a compound called AFSOUTH 2000.

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24 - The Growing Operational Role

On 9 October 2001, following the North Atlantic Council's decision on implementation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty as a consequence of the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States, NATO's STANAVFORMED was ordered to deploy to the Eastern Mediterranean to provide NATO presence in the area while demonstrating NATO's resolve and solidarity (Operation Active Endeavour).

Two weeks later Admiral Gregory G. Johnson, U.S. Navy, succeeded Admiral James O. Ellis, U.S. Navy, as Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe. In his inaugural speech he challenged the AFSOUTH personnel to set aside all thinking and to concentrate on innovative approaches. He said "we must not be a reactionary force frozen in old and comfortable ways of doing things; rather, we must bean engine of innovative leadership that leads AFSOUTH and NAVEUR to effective solutions."

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25 - Deactivation of AFSOUTH

2004 began with the initial transition of AFSOUTH towards the new organization and the new mission which the Headquarters was to pass to its successor headquarters, Joint Force Command Naples. Selected staff members began to assume new responsibilities to parallel their duties in the anticipated new structure and – as a very symbolic introduction of a transition into the future – a ground breaking ceremony was conducted on 28 January 2004 at Lago Patria, some 20 kilometers west of Naples, at the site where a completely new facility will be built to host Joint Force Command Naples.

The impact of the new NATO Command Structure on AFSOUTH – which, together with AFNORTH, comprised NATO's second level of command – was the conversion to a Joint Force Command (JFC), responsible to establish a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) HQ for its expeditionary missions. These NATO-dedicated force headquarters would mount a smaller Deployed Joint Task Force (DJTF) as the "seed” for larger command and control formations which various missions may require. As part of the conversion, NAVSOUTH was to become the Maritime Component Command (MCC) as CC-Mar Naples and remain in Naples; a Land Component Command (LCC) was to be established in Madrid, Spain as CC-Land Madrid; and AIRSOUTH was to convert to the Air Component Command (ACC) and relocate to Izmir, Turkey as CC-Air Izmir.

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26 - JFC Naples Transforms

At the Lisbon Summit, November 2010, NATO leaders endorsed a new Strategic Concept, which states that the Alliance will "engage in a process of continual reform, to streamline structures, improve working methods and maximise efficiency."  In parallel, NATO also enaged in the reform of its Command Structure – the NATO Command Structure Review - and that of its Agencies – the NATO Agencies Review.  The Agencies' Review aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of capabilities and services, to achieve greater synergy between similar functions and increase transparency and accountability.

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Allied Joint Force Command Naples
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