During the Cold War, integration of NATO land forces in the Central Region was effected at the national corps level by two Army Groups: Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) and Central Army Group (CENTAG). These two Principal Subordinate Commanders (PSCs) had only limited peacetime authorities, and issues such as training, doctrine, logistics, rules of engagement (ROE), etc., were largely a national, rather than Alliance, responsibility.
The military system of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization today is fundamentally different from the system that existed before the end of the Cold War. In November 1991, the NATO heads of state and government adopted the "New Strategic Concept" at the NATO Summit in Rome. This new conceptual orientation led among other things, to fundamental changes both in the force and integrated command structure. Two elements of AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe) -- CENTAG (Army Group, Central Europe) and NORTHAG (Northern Army Group, Central Europe) -- were dismantled. from the British Army On The Rhine (BAOR)
Ground operations relating to the crisis in former Yugoslavia began in late 1992. In November 1992, the UN Protection Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina was provided with an operational headquarters drawn from NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG), including a staff of some 100 personnel, equipment, supplies and initial financial support.Structural changes began in June of 1993, when HQ Central Army Group (CENTAG, Heidelberg, GE) and Northern Army Group (NORTHAG, Monchengladbach, GE) were deactivated and replaced by Headquarters Allied Land Forces Central Europe (LANDCENT), which was activated in Heidelberg on 01 July 1993. The commander of US Army, Europe, Gen. William W. Crouch, assumed an additional role as commander of NATO LANDCENT on 15 February 1996. He was the first American to command LANDCENT since its 1993 activation. Originally, the LANDCENT command was to be rotated between German and Dutch generals. The dual command of USAREUR and LANDCENT allows the continued integration of US Army Europe into NATO's post-Cold War structure. All NATO corps, except for the 4th German Corps, are now multinational. There are now four multinational main defence corps in NATO's Central Region: one Danish-German, one Dutch-German and two German-United States. In addition, an agreement has been concluded setting out arrangements under which the European Corps, consisting of units from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain, would be made available to NATO in times of crisis. Ensuring interoperability among units of different nations will be an ongoing challenge. LANDCENT's missions are to:
That area comprises Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.
- Protect the peace and deter aggression in NATO's central region.
- Plan, prepare and direct operations of land forces under NATO command.
- Plan, coordinate and conduct the land and air subcampaign jointly with NATO's Allied Air Command, Central.
- Develop plans for, and participate in, the MCP and PFP initiative.
- Support the flanks of the area of responsibilities.