SHAPE — the master control mechanism of nearly all the armed might of Western Europe — is in its personnel structure a far cry from the vast staff pyramid many must imagine it to be.

In this day of super organizational structures, it will no doubt surprise many to learn that this greatest of present-day military headquarters comprises less than 500 men and women.

In the beginning, Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower said he wanted a small, well-knit staff, and that is the way he has kept it, despite the modern tendency to add new office wings with new rows of doors and new names and titles on the doors in a perpetual process.

SHAPE today comprises 236 officers, about 175 enlisted men and approximately 48 civilians. It is planned to add about 225 more enlisted men. Otherwise, the staff will not get much larger, according to present plans.

Of the officers, approximately 100 are Americans, 50 British, 40 French, 13 Italian, eight Belgian, seven Dutch, four Danish, two Canadian and two Norwegian. Portugal, Iceland and Luxembourg are not at present represented on the staff.

The U.S. has contributed 85 to 90 enlisted men and women; Britain, 40; France, 30; Italy, 10; The Netherlands, six; Belgium, two; Denmark, two, and Canada, one.

Civilians include 37 Americans, four Belgians, two French, two Norwegians raid one Briton. SHAPE officials say the vast preponderance of American civilians is due to the fact that a great number of these were available in Paris with experience in somewhat similar jobs requiring an excellent command of both French and English.

Unity and cooperation are key words at this multi-national headquarters. Eisenhower's staff officers say the supreme commander when at work thinks of himself as only one-twelfth American. The general is extremely sensitive to any implication that this headquarters is an "American show." His public relations officers fight shy of any publicity concerning only the American elements of SHAPE. "This thing is either truly a joint effort." they say, "or it is a bust."

A VETERAN U.S. naval officer on the SHAPE staff had this to say regarding teamwork at the now headquarters: "I had never imagined such a degree of cooperation between foreigners. These people really believe in their mission, and they work at their beliefs. I was once an enlisted man in the Marines, and when I say that the spirit around here is similar to that of the Marines, I'm really saying something."

The formative period of SHAPE, gave rise to some bickering among the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations as to the assignment of which nationals to various key posts. "I am moved," Eisenhower declared, "to say one thing about my own particular idea of these command positions. I think we have too often seen them spoken of in the press and among ourselves as evidence of the alleged importance, prestige or strength of a particular nation.

"TO MY MIND, the willingness of any government to turn over one of its officers for a command position is rather evidence of its readiness to undertake very grave responsibilities, very great burdens. I see nothing particularly to be classified as a kudos in a war in the giving of a command position in an allied or coalition form of organization to any particular person of any particular nationality.

"I assure you I am of some experience in these coalition commands, and they are accompanied by a great many more headaches than is the ordinary one to which soldiers become accustomed.

"In these commands people have to reach an accommodation of idea. The soldier does not put on a number of stars in order to insist upon the validity of his decisions and ideas. That kind of authority is valid only so long as he is commanding his own service in his own nation, when disobedience means court martial. Here, disobedience would mean an argument, and it is our purpose to make sure they do not occur."

The SHAPE structure is simple and clear-cut in its delegation of responsibilities. At the top is the supreme allied commander in Europe — Eisenhower. Directly under him is the deputy supreme allied commander Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. Montgomery spends little time in his headquarters office. He is usually in the field in accordance with his principal duty of furthering the organization, equipping, training and readying for combat of the various national forces allocated to the supreme commander.

Eisenhower also has directly under him an air deputy, who is Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Saunders, of the British Royal Air Force, and. a naval deputy, who is French Vice Adm Andre Georges Lemonnier.

IN A DIRECT line under Eisenhower and Montgomery on the SHAPE organizational chart is the chief of staff, Gen Alfred M. Gruenther, the brilliant U.S. plans and training expert.

Deputy chief of staff for plans is British Air Vice Marshal E. C. Hudleston. French Lt Gen Marcel-Maurice Carpentier is deputy chief of staff for administration.

The five assistant chiefs of staff and their responsibilities are: personnel and administration, Italian Rear Adm Ferrante Capponi; Intelligence, British Maj Gen Sir Terence Sydney Airey; organization and training, British Maj Gen F. W. Festing; plans, policy and operations, French Maj Gen Pierre Louis Bodet. and logistics, U.S. Maj Gen Edmond H. Lcavey.

Ranking with the assistant chiefs of staff are the budget and fiscal officer, French civilian Guillaume Le Bigot, and the chief signal officer, U.S. Maj Gen Francis H. Lanahan.

Of special importance in the SHAPE structure are the national military representatives, under Brig Gen Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., deputy chief of staff for national affairs. This veteran U.S. soldier and diplomat has a job which is unique in a military headquarters. He maintains liaison between the NATO governments and SHAPE, and acts as coordinator for the various national military representatives to SHAPE in their contacts with the integral SHAPE staff. While all other officers assigned to SHAPE are concerned with the common effort regardless of their nationality, the liaison officers in Biddle's department report directly to their home governments.

Completing the SHAPE staff chart are the chief of public information, U.S. Brig Gen Charles T. Lanham; the staff secretary, the special assistant to the chief of staff, adjutant general, headquarters commandant and headquarters command.

That is the structure of SHAPE itself. Under SHAPE are the principal headquarters of the allied command in Europe. The actual defense forces of Western Europe are organized around three geographical areas, which correspond to SHAPE's three principal commands: northern, central and southern. Both within SHAPE itself and within the three area commands, the principle of integration of personnel from participating nations is followed. For instance, the chief of each major SHAPE staff division is assisted by a deputy or assistant of another nationality.

The principal commanders of the three, area commands are:

Central Europe: Commander, army forces, French Gen Alphonse Juin; air forces, U.S. Lt Gen Lauris Norstad; naval forces, French Vice Adm Robert Jaujard.

Northern Europe: Commander-in-chief and also commander, naval forces, British Adm Sir Patrick Brind; allied army forces, Norway, Lt Gen Wilhem Von Tangen-Hansteen; allied army forces, Denmark, Lt Gen E. C. V. Moller; air forces, U.S. Maj Gen Robert K. Taylor.

Southern Europe: Commander-in-chief and also commander, naval forces, U.S. Adm Robert B. Carney; army forces, Italian Gen Maurizio Lazzaro de Castiglioni; air forces, U.S. Maj Gen David M. Schlatter.

A SHAPE spokesman declared, "Gen Elsenhower feels in naming these men that he has a first-class team, one fully capable of meeting the grave responsibilities imposed upon men and governments accepting assignments of this type."

Eisenhower emphasized that he has no responsibility for the safety of each NATO member territory in an administrative sense.

"My job," he said, "is providing the umbrella that protects them all."

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