Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Multinational Commands


After World War Two the balance of power had shifted dramatically with the advent of nuclear weapons.  As a result individual nations began to form alliances with others for greater collective security.  Britain has been involved in many of these alliances and has both placed military resources at he disposal of the multinational commands and provided military personnel to assist in the manning of these headquarters.  A number of senior positions in these commands have been filled by RAF officers.  Some of these commands are filled by officers specifically appointed to that position, but sometimes the multinational command is combined with a national appointment, in this case the officer is 'dual-roled'.  Below are details of the major multinational organisations to which Britain has been or is still a member.

WUDO - Western Union Defence Organisation, formed 28 Sep 1948 by the signing of the Brussels Treaty.  This brought together Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.  The WEDU merged with NATO on 20 Dec 1951

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, formed 24 Aug 1949.  The North Atlantic Treaty brought together the countries of the WUDO with Canada and the USA (also invited were Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway and Portugal) to form a defence alliance to combat the strength of the USSR.  With the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, NATO has remained in being having accepted a number of ex-Warsaw Pact countries into itís fold.  NATO formed multi-national commands to control national forces allocated to its use.  Some of the commanders and personnel of these forces were appointed specifically to NATO posts whilst others held NATO appointments in addition to their national posts.

Baghdad Pact - formed 24 Feb 1955.  The Baghdad Pact was signed by Britain, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.  Renamed CENTO, 19 Aug 1959. 

CENTO - CENtral Treaty Organisation, formed 19 Aug 1959 by renaming the Baghdad Pact.  Although forces were allocated to the organisation, all such forces remained under the direct command of the RAF and unlike NATO; CENTO did not establish itís own command structure.  Each country provided representatives for a central co-ordination committee and personnel to form a joint planning staff.  Dissolved, 26 Sep 1979 

SEATO - South East Asia Treaty Organisation, formed Sep 1954 following the signing of the Manila Treaty.  This treaty involved the UK, Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, France and the USA.  As with CENTO, forces were allocated control remaining with the RAF, no separate command structure was established.

HQ Air Forces Western Europe

Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) UK Military Representatives to NATO
HQ Allied Forces Central Europe   HQ Allied Air Forces Central Europe   HQ Allied Forces Mediterranean  
HQ 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force HQ Air C in C, Eastern Atlantic Area and HQ Allied Maritime Air C in C, Channel Command   HQ Air Commander, Eastern Atlantic Area and HQ Allied Maritime Air Commander, Channel Command  
HQ Commander Allied Maritime Air  Eastern Atlantic Area and Maritime Air Forces Northwest HQ Commander Air  East Atlantic and Commander Maritime Air Allied Naval Forces North HQ Allied Forces Northwestern Europe
HQ Allied Air Forces Northwestern Europe Regional HQ Allied Forces North Europe (AFNORTH) HQ Allied Air Forces North Europe (AIRNORTH)
UK Permanant Military Representatives to CENTO    

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