Allied Command Operations is one of NATO’s two strategic military commands. It’s more commonly known as ACO and is responsible for planning and directing all of NATO’s military operations. The command headquarters, known as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, or SHAPE, is located near Mons, Belgium.

SHAPE gives strategic direction to its three subordinate operational commands: Joint Force Command Brunssum , Joint Force Command Naples, and Joint Command Lisbon

Each operational command has its own area of responsibility:

Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum is responsible for leading the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan and the NATO Response Force (NRF).

Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples is responsible for Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s naval operations in the Mediterranean; NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo; assisting Bosnia-Herzegovina in meeting the requirements for the Partnership for Peace program; and the NATO Training Mission in Iraq.

Joint Command (JC) Lisbon is responsible for providing airlift assistance to the African Union mission in Darfur; preparing staff to command the NRF; mounting a sea-based Combined Joint Taskforce Headquarters; and cooperation and dialogue under NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) programs.