flags of the nato countries in front of shape (maisières, belgium, 2006).
supreme headquarters allied powers europe (shape) is the headquarters of the north atlantic treaty organization's allied command operations (aco). since 1967 it has been located at casteau, north of the belgian city of mons, but it had previously been located, from 1953, at rocquencourt, next to versailles, france. from 1951 to 2003, shape was the headquarters of allied command europe (ace). since 2003 it has been the headquarters of allied command operations, controlling all nato operations worldwide.
shape retained its traditional name with reference to europe for legal reasons although the geographical scope of its activities was extended in 2003. at that time, nato's command in lisbon, historically part of allied command atlantic, was reassigned to aco. the commander of allied command operations has also retained the title "supreme allied commander europe" (saceur), and continues to be a u.s. four-stargeneral officer or flag officer who also serves as commander, u.s. european command.