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Sede del EMAD

National Military Bodies

In accordance with the provisions of article 9.4.b) of Royal Decree 521/2020, May 19th, which establishes the basic organisation of the Armed Forces, the national military bodies related to international or multinational organizations are:

  1. Military representations.
  2. National elements.
  3. National support elements.
  4. National contingents built into international and multinational organisations.

Military representations constitute CHOD's permanent units of representation to International Security and Defence Organisations (OISD). Military representations are the following: 

  1. Military Representation to the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  2. Military Representation to the Military Committee of the European Union.
  3. Military Representation to the Supreme Allied Command in Europe.
  4. Military Representation to the Supreme Allied Command of Transformation.

National elements are the national components of international organisations located in national territory. In addition to the tasks assigned to them by their regulation, they will assume those other tasks coming from the application of the international agreements arising from the international bodies they belong to. National elements are the following:

  1. The National Element of the Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón (CAOCTJ), which is governed by the provisions of Ministerial Order 93/2012, December 27th, which creates the CAOCTJ.
  2. The National Element of the CoE C-IED, which is governed by the provisions of Order DEF/960/2010, April 15th, which establishes the Centre of Excellence against Improvised Explosive Devices within the scope of the Ministry of Defence and its offer to NATO.

The national support elements are the offices responsable for providing administrative and general support to the staff assigned to the international organizations attached to them.

The national contingents integrated into international and multinational organizations are made up of Spanish personnel dependent on the CHOD, whether they are assigned to or on secondment to the units, centres or bodies of the aforementioned organisations, occupying international or multinational non-specific positions within the military representations, the national elements or national support elements.

Military Representatives to International Organizations and Allied Commands

Emblem CAOC-TJ

The Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany and Torrejón, Spain are responsible to plan, direct, task, coordinate, supervise and support air operations of allocated assets in peace, crisis and conflict. Routinely they are tasked to execute NATO’s Air Policing mission closely cooperating with Control and Reporting Centres, National Air Policing Centres and dedicated Quick Reaction Alert air bases across their respective area of regional responsibility.

The Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón is located at Torrejón Air Force Base, northeast of Madrid, Spain. Its primary mission is to plan, direct, coordinate, monitor, analyse and report on the operations of Air Policing means assigned to it in peace time. The unit’s area of responsibility comprises European NATO airspace south of the Alps. Hence Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón is responsible for some of NATO’s special Air Policing arrangements, such as Air Policing over Albania, Air Policing over Slovenia and Air Policing over Montenegro. This NATO facility is commanded by a Lieutenat General from the Spanish Air Force.

Appropriately located to cover NATO’s entire European airspace, sensor posts are connected to feed into the Combined Air Operations Centres’ Recognized Air Pictures, allowing them to monitor all up to 30,000 air movements in European NATO airspace per day. Quick Reaction Alert Interceptor aircraft stand ready at dedicated air bases to launch upon the Combined Air Operations Centres’ orders to investigate unclear or potentially unsafe situations and to visually identify unknown aircrafts.


Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón evolved from the former structure’s Combined Air Operations Centre 8 in early 2013 has been fulfilling its mission since the beginning of, when it, gradually assuming the air defense of the different countries that are in its area of responsibility. For this reason, all control and command equipment and systems have been modernized. It has been the 1st unit of the current NATO Structure to achieve full operational capacity in July 2014.



CV-LTG Fernando de la Cruz Caravaca 




With the reduction of NATO's air control centres, CAOCTJ had to integrate the capabilities of the former five control centres that the Alliance had in the South, prior to the Lisbon summit in 2010, thus expanding the airspace of its responsibility to cover from the Azores Islands to Romania, and from the Canary Islands to Turkey.

This implies that Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, the southern half of France and Spain are the CAOCTJ’s area of ​​responsibility, covering around 6,500 kilometres from East to West, the entire Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and part of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are friendly and allied countries bordering South and East of CAOCTJ’s area of responsibility but also certain areas of increasing instability.

The geographical breadth is reflected in the emblem of the CAOCTJ, representing the Columns of Hercules and the Bosphorus as towers with gates, both joined by the wall of air defence against the Mediterranean for which the CAOCTJ is responsible.

Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón evolved from the former structure of the Combined Air Operations Centre in early 2013 and it has been fulfilling its mission since then, gradually assuming the air defence of the different countries that are in its area of responsibility. For this reason, all control and command equipment and systems have been modernized. It has been the 1st unit of the current NATO structure to achieve full operational capacity in July 2014.


Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón is manned with staff from 17 NATO nations, currently filling 185 peacetime positions, which will increase to 190 to support an adapted structure. The post of the Commander is filled by a Lieutenant-General of the Spanish Air Force. For exercises and crisis response the unit maintains the ability to deploy its staff to contribute to NATO’s Joint Force Air Component



CAOCTJ's dual mission implies that the centre is structured in two main areas: one of them can be activated or deployed during a crisis and the other is static and focused on the air defence of NATO territory.

The first one includes Training, Intelligence, Plans and Operations Divisions, and its size is flexibly adapted to the nature and entity of the operation. The static part is responsible for achieving the main objective, which is the air defence of the Alliance countries, according to the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS).


The mission of the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE) is to serve as an international touchstone in the counter terrorism struggle. The main intention was not only to contribute to the overall well being of the troops and civilians involved in any operation but also to the security of the allies.

The nations currently sponsoring the C-IED COE are: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania,Turkey, United States, Greece, Spain as the framework nation, and Sweden as an additional contributing partner. The Centre is manned by 60 people, 31 posts are assigned to the Framework Nation and other 13 are open to current and future Sponsor Nations. Spain contributes with additional staff members to provide the Host Nation Support (HNS).

This NATO Centre of Excellence is one of the actors mentioned in the NATO C-IED Action Plan, which is “aimed to reduce the strategic impact of IEDs in Afghanistan, current and future conflicts by limiting their tactical and operational effects”. It identifies actions required to be fulfilled by the Centre from 2010 onwards

To its mission fulfillment, C-IED COE collaborates and cooperates with organizations, national and international, from all the communities involved in the C-IED fight (military, law enforcement, intelligence, and academia).

The Centre aims to become a reference in three main areas within the C-IED community:

  • C-IED information sharing: Coordinating and merging mil/non mil CIED related Intel sources, improving multi-national info sharing and establishing/promoting Intel forums.
  • Technology & Development: Gathering information on current and emerging technology (Knowledge), and, simultaneously, confronting operational needs with technological solutions. It supports also to CNAD’s C-IED Materiel Roadmap in some of its initiatives.
  • Training: Coordinating international training efforts, avoiding duplications and identifying special training expertise, as NATO C-IED Training Department Head since 2013. From the mentioned areas the following efforts are worth pointing out:

C-IED CoE Director


 CV-COL José Antonio Cruz Moro