Combined Air Operations Center

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The Combined Air Operations Center ( CAOC ) is a multinational command post for commanding air forces at NATO . Tasks are the planning, management and commissioning of air operations for the assigned forces.

Organizationally, the CAOC was preceded by the Air Tactical Operations Center (ATOC) and the Air Defense Operations Center (ADOC). Until the early 1980s, the command posts for air attack and air defense forces were operated separately.


Air surveillance

Even in peacetime , a CAOC within the framework of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (NATINAMDS) is responsible for air surveillance in an assigned - transnational - geographical area, a so-called Air Policing Area . For this it is in connection with military radar stations and civilian air traffic control centers . In the event of irregularities in air traffic, interceptors are assigned to the respective CAOC , which it can alert for a visual inspection or for interception.


In crises and conflicts, the CAOC plans and coordinates offensive, defensive and supportive air operations by assigned forces. This includes aircraft as well as ground-based components such as anti-aircraft missile units . Following the written order from the Air Tasking Order (ATO), the CAOC monitors air operations and intervenes in ongoing missions if necessary. The relevant procedures are regularly practiced in peacetime.

The CAOC coordinates its own operations with those of other branches of the armed forces and works together with other NATO agencies and national command authorities. It is also the respective superior task force for defined national Control and Reporting Centers (CRC).

Layable CAOC

During the Cold War , the existing CAOCs were housed in bunkers and were therefore stationary. Several of these command posts are currently being supplemented by technical and organizational measures to include a relocatable portion.


The CAOCs and the DACCC of NATO in Europe are subordinate to the Allied Air Command Ramstein (AIRCOM).

In the previous NATO command structure, there were the CAOC Uedem in Germany and the CAOC Finderup in Denmark in the area of ​​the HQ AIRCOM , as well as the CAOC Poggio Renatico in Italy and the CAOC Larissa in Greece in the dissolved area of ​​the AC Izmir . The CAOC Uedem and Poggio Renatico have relocatable components.

In 2011, NATO decided to further reduce the centers, which had meanwhile been reduced to four, to just two in Uedem for northern and in Torrejón for southern Europe; the latter CAOC was opened on February 7, 2013. There is also the Deployable Air Command and Control Center (DACCC) in Poggio Renatico (IT). (see below the previously existing centers)

The CAOC is managed by a two- or three-star general , who is supported by a management group ( Command Group ), staff for administration and logistics (A1 / A4) as well as for finances ( Budget & Finance ; A8). Specialists for offensive, defensive and supportive air operations are deployed in a CAOC. They work in the fields of Ongoing Operations ( Current Operations ; A3), operations planning ( Operations Plan ; A5) and exercises ( Exercise and Training ; A7). They are reinforced by personnel from the areas of intelligence gathering and reconnaissance ( Intelligence ; A2) as well as IT support ( Communication & Information Systems ; A6). In peacetime the workforce is up to about 160 soldiers from different nations, with the majority being provided by the host country.

Other former NATO Combined Air Operation Centers in Europe in addition to those closed after 2011 (see above)
  • CAOC 1, in Finderup (DK), until June 30, 2013.
  • CAOC 2, in Uedem (GE), formerly Kalkar , see also above
  • CAOC 3, in Reitan (NO)
  • CAOC 4, in Meßstetten (GE) until December 31, 2008
  • CAOC 5, in Poggio Renatico (IT) until June 26, 2013 ( Deployable Air Command and Control Center still exists)
  • CAOC 6, in Eski Sehir (TU)
  • CAOC 7, in Larissa (GR)
  • CAOC 8, in Torrejón (SP), see also above
  • CAOC 9, in High Wycombe (UK)
  • CAOC 10, in Monsanto (PO)

CAOC in Germany

The two CAOC 2 and CAOC 4, which were formerly responsible for Germany, emerged in the early 1990s from the Interim CAOC, which in turn emerged from the combination of functionally separate air attack and air defense command posts. The area of ​​responsibility of CAOC 4 last comprised the southern half of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia ; it was dissolved in 2008.

The CAOC Uedem in Uedem emerged from the CAOC 2 in 2010. Among other things, it is responsible for the airspace of Germany, the Benelux countries , Poland , the Czech Republic , Slovakia and the Baltic states . NATO Air Policing Baltic States also falls within his area of ​​responsibility . From July 2013, it took over responsibility for the area that was previously guarded by the closing CAOC Finderup (Denmark). This includes the territories of Norway , Denmark , the United Kingdom and Iceland .

American Forces CAOC

CAOC of the US Air Force have a more extensive range of tasks. They are assigned greater spatial responsibilities and in some cases they also lead space-based forces. The long form of the American name CAOC is Combined Air and Space Operations Center .

Under the leadership of the United States, the allied air forces in Afghanistan are assigned to the CAOC at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as a relocated operational command post.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Air Policing on the AC Ramstein website; Accessed on January 1, 2011 ( Memento from September 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ Press release on the Air Force website; accessed on January 1, 2011
  3. "The 20,000 image made available to ISAF" on the Air Force website; accessed on January 1, 2011
  4. ^ NATO command structure on the SHAPE website; Accessed on January 1, 2011 ( Memento from May 23, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Factsheet on the CAOC Finderup (PDF; 169 kB) ( Memento from February 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Factsheet on the CAOC Uedem (PDF; English; 219 kB)
  7. ^ History of CAOC 4 on the Südkurier website; accessed on January 1, 2011
  8. Combined Air and Space Operations Center on the United States Air Forces Central website; Accessed on January 1, 2011 ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /