The Allied Air Command Ramstein, also AC Ramstein (Air), is the headquarters commanding NATOs air forces in Central Europe. Originally named Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE) its task was to provide centralized direction and control for NATO air forces in the European Central Region corresponding to West Germany south of the river Elbe, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Post Cold War[edit | edit source]
During the early 1990s, following the relaxation of the tensions between East and West, a major reorganization of the NATO command and control structure was undertaken. As part of this, and to take account of the decrease in the number of allied aircraft in Europe, a rationalization of the Central Region air force headquarters occurred in 1993 with the closing of Second Allied Tactical Air Force and Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force and the expansion of AAFCE to meet the new increased task as it absorbed functions previously undertaken by the two subordinate ATAFs.
This change in structure was marked by a ceremony at Ramstein on 1 July 1993, when the headquarters was officially renamed AIRCENT. A further consequence of NATO's reorganization was an increase in the area of responsibility for Allied Forces Central Europe by the addition, on 1 January 1994, of Denmark and the northern parts of Germany, both of which were previously under NATO's Allied Forces Northern Europe command. As a result, Denmark joined the six nations, which staffed the headquarters since its inception: Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
NATO expansion[edit | edit source]
With the accession of three new members, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic to NATO in March 1999, Poland's and the Czech Republic's airspaces and air forces became part of the AIRCENT and have since contributed to AIRCENT’s task and mission.
On 3 March 2000, AIRNORTHWEST (High Wycombe, UK) and AIRCENT were amalgamated. The new command was named AIRNORTH and also took over the air responsibilities of the former HQ BALTAP (which became JHQ NORTHEAST (Karup/DA)), and HQ NORTH (which became JHQ NORTH (Stavanger/NO)). HQ AIRNORTH now included also personnel from Norway, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain.
With the accession to NATO of seven new members (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia) in March 2004, the Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Slovakia became a part of AIRNORTH. On 1 July 2004, AIRNORTH was renamed Component Command-Air Ramstein (CC AIR) and a new internal HQ-structure was implemented.
Today[edit | edit source]
With effect of 1 March 2010 the CC Air was renamed to Allied Air Command Ramstein. The Commander of AC Ramstein is a United States Air Force General, currently General Mark A. Welsh, who also serves in the U.S. national appointment of Commander United States Air Forces Europe. He is the designated Commander Allied Air Command for Joint Force Command Brunssum, the Air Advisor to COM JFC Brunssum, the Regional Air Commander (RAC), the Regional Air Defence Commander (RADC) and the Regional Airspace Control Authority (RACA). AC Ramstein has a multinational staff, which may include liaison elements from other NATO headquarters and national commands as specified in agreements. The Deputy Air Commander is ordinarily a German or a British 3-star, now appointed by rotation. The current Deputy Commander, Allied Air Command Ramstein, is a Lieutenant General, who assumed that post on July 1, 2010.
Recent exercises that the Command has been involved in have included Exercise BOLD AVENGER 2007, which took place from 3–14 September 2007 at Ørland Main Air Station, Norway, Exercise COOPERATIVE ARCHER 2007, held from 9–20 July 2007 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Exercise ALLIED REACH 2007, held at the Ramstein headquarters, and Loyal Arrow 2009 in Sweden. On a regular base Baltic Region Training Events (BRTE) are held designed to offer training opportunities for enhancing interoperability, building capabilities and continuing the integration of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
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References[edit | edit source]
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