On Wednesday December 12, 2012 a ceremony attended by Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander – Europe, and LtGen. Frank Kisner, Commander of NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ), marked the official opening of the NSHQ co-located with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Casteau, Belgium.
The history of Special Forces within NATO goes back to 2006 with the creation of the NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre (NSCC). In 2010 NATO Special Operations Headquarters was created, but quickly out-grew its facilities as 26 NATO member nations and three non-NATO partner nations contributed personnel.
The new NSHQ will enable the special forces of these nations to better train, plan, and work together. As Stavridis noted during the opening ceremony, "I expect this to be a venue for ideas about equipment and technology. We can share and learn from each other.”
Additionally, NSHQ acts as the coordinator for all Special Forces across NATO operations by directing the activities of Special Operations Component Commands. The new headquarters, which accommodates about 200 personnel will be the centrepiece of NATO Special Operations well into the 21st Century.