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Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC TJ)

Joint Air Operations Command
CAOC TJ Main Entry

The NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Torrejón de Ardoz (CAOC TJ) is an international unit of the NATO Command Structure (NCS) which, under the command of a Lieutenant General of the Spanish Air Force, has the mission of planning, directing, coordinating, supervising, analysing and reporting on the air defence operations of the means assigned in peace, crisis and conflict scenarios, following the directives of the NATO air component in its area of responsibility.

A second, and also essential, mission of the CAOC is to have the capacity to activate an air component command structure for crisis and conflict management in any other location far from our national territory.




At the 2010 Lisbon summit, the Heads of State and Heads of Government of the Atlantic Alliance agreed on the implementation of the new NATO´s strategic concept, which will serve as the organization roadmap for the following ten years. This new concept will become actual fact during the Defence Ministers meeting of June 2011, thanks to the NATO Secretary General´s proposal for a new command structure and geographic distribution of NATO´S headquarters.

Once changes are implemented, NATO will only have two Operation Centres, one of them located in the German town of Uedem, responsible for the northern flank, and the other one, CAOC TJ, in Torrejón, responsible for the southern flank. Both of them are under the command of the sole Air Command Headquarters located in Ramstein (Germany).

Lieutenant General Rubén Carlos García Servert


Rubén Carlos García Servert, Lieutenant General of the Spanish Air Force

(General Corps Officers Rank) – Defence Staff graduated)

He was born on 18th April 1958 in Madrid, he is married and has two sons and two daughters.


  • Armilla Airfield, CSAGA (Selection Centre of the Air Force Academy): from 2nd of August 1975 to 21st of July 1976
  • Air Force Academy, until 14th of July 1980
  • Matacán Airbase (Salamanca), up to end- April 1981
  • Zaragoza Airbase (Wing 31), up to end-September 1986
  • Air Force Academy, up to end-June 1988
  • Military zone of Barajas Airport (45 Group), up to end-February 1992
  • Torrejón Airbase (45 Group), up to end-June 1995
  • Air Force Academy, up to end-September 1996
  • Military and Air attaché to the Spanish Embassy in Paris, up to end-September 2002
  • Counsellor of the Minister of Defence. Technical cabinet, up to end-September 2002.
  • Chief of the Military Staff of the Spanish Air Force´s Plans Division, up to November 2012.



  • Degree in Political Sciences and Sociology. Special graduation prize.
  • Degree in Law.
  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in International Relations from the Paris-Sorbonne University and from the Complutense University of Madrid.
  • Auditor Certificate from the French “Institut de Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale" (IHEDN) in Paris. 
  • Teacher-Tutor of the Spanish Armed Forces´ Associated Centre with UNED during the academic year 1994-1995.
  • Teacher-Tutor of the UNED´s Support Centre in Paris, during the academic years 1997-1998 and 1998-1999.
  • Teacher-Tutor of Las Palmas de Gran Canarias Associated Centre with UNED, during the academic years 2002-2003 and 2003-2004.
  • He has given different lectures and has participated in several seminars.


  • Major General of the Spanish Armed Forces, Air Force Corps, Highest Rank, first position of the 32th year of the Air Force Academy.
  • Official certificate of Aircraft Observer
  • Official certificate of Fighter Aircraft Pilot
  • Diploma in Military Staff of the Spanish Air Force
  • Diploma in Advanced Course from NATO Defence College (NADEFCOL) in Rome.

He has conducted the following courses in Spain:

  • Supplies Course (N.25)
  • Air Transport Course
  • Flying Instructor Course in Airplanes E-17, E-24, T-12 AND E. 26
  • Pedagogic Aptitude Course
  • Military Attaché Course (EMAD)

Moreover, in the United States, he has conducted the following:

  • Navigator Basic Course (NAGAF)
  • Navigation Advanced Course
  • C-130 Navigator Course and Theoretical Course and Simulator Airplane B-707 (T-17)
  • He has taken in France the Theoretical Course and Simulator Airplanes DA-20 (T-11) and DA-50 (T-16)
  • He was a member and moderator of different Round Tables, Spokesperson, Appraiser and Assessor in several evaluating and examining Boards
  • He has served as Professor in the Air Force Academy and Air Force School. He is the Air Force´s representative in the Defence Staff´s Military Strategy Steering Group 


  • Certificate of Competence in English (Higher Level), by the Official School of Languages of Madrid (Standardization Language Procedure SPL Permanent).
  • Certificate of Competence in French (Higher Level), by the Official School of Languages of Las Rozas (SPL authorised exam level 5. Permanent)
  • Certificate of Competence in German (Higher Level), by the Official School of Languages of Santa Lucía (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) (SPL Permanent)


  • Monograph: “the CFSP and the European common security in the Maastricht Treaty. Realistic project, utopia or pure speculation”.
  • Report: "la politique de sécurité et défense de I'espagne: I'Espagne et la PESC". 
  • Monograph: “The Alliance´s Missions in the new Strategic Concept”.
  • Strategy Paper nº 110, entitled “The NATO´s Strategic Concept, a Spanish point of view”.
  • Conference: “The Spanish Society in the face of International Conflicts”.
  • Spanish Modernization Foundation”. Book edited by Ediciones Doce Calles, Ltd.
  • Article “Crisis management and mutual assistance clauses”.
  • Strategy Paper nº. 129, edited by SEGENPOL/Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies, on 10th November 2004.
  • Impact of the economic crisis on the European security and defence areas.
  • CESEDEN monographs number 125, February 2012, the impact of the economic crisis in the security and defence areas.
  • Monograph “Pooling and Sharing Initiatives”. The case of the European Air Transport Command. Security and Defence Documents number 55 from the School of Higher Defence Studies, April 2013. Process towards European Armed Forces: achievements and challenges.



  • Grand Cross, Commander with Star, Commander and Cross of Saint Hermenegild. 
  • 1 Grand Cross of Aeronautical Merit. 
  • 3 Crosses of Aeronautical Merit, 2nd class, with White Decoration.
  • 1 Cross of Naval Merit, with White Decoration.
  • 1 Cross of Merit of the Civil Guard.
  • 2 Simple Honorary mentions and 1 Special.
  • Chevalier (Knights) of the French Legion of Honour
  • Chevalier (Knight) of the French National Order of Merit
  • Medal of the Chilean Air Force.


Spanish Air Force, currently in a NATO post.

Madrid Bar Association

Official Association of Graduates and Doctors in Political Science and Sociology

Spanish Association of Political Sciences and Administration

Association of Spanish Security and Defence Graduates

CAOC Operations zone

With the aforementioned reduction of NATO air control centres, the CAOC TJ had to integrate the capabilities of the five control centres that the Alliance had in the South, prior to the 2010 Lisbon Summit.  The airspace of responsibility was thus expanded in order to cover the space comprised from the Azores Islands to Romania, and from the Canary Islands to Turkey.

This implies that, under the CAOC TJ responsibility area, are included Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Spain and the southern half of France. This area covers around 6.500 kilometers from east to west, the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and part of the Atlantic Ocean.

The responsibility area is bounded to the south and to the east with other NATO friend and allied countries, as well as with some growing instability areas.

CAOC TJ emblem reflects this geographical dimension, by representing the Pillars of Hercules and the Bosporus as towers, both of them with doors and connected by the air defence wall in the Mediterranean, which is responsibility of CAOC TJ.


CAOC Torrejón has been accomplishing its mission since the beginning of 2013, evolving by means of an adaptation scheme from the former CAOC 8 to the new Alliance structure. The Center gradually assumed air defence of the different countries within its area of responsibility. For this reason, all the equipment, command and control systems have been modernised, achieving full operational capacity in October 2014, being thus the first unit of the new structure to reach such full operability.

CAOC Group photo

185 people from 19 countries are working at the CAOC Torrejón. In addition, the CAOC TJ has the support of a detachment from the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA), together with a number of Spanish national support units (NSE) and personnel from other countries working at the CAOC, being thus about 300 the total number of personnel assigned to the CAOC. Spain, as the host nation, covers a considerable part of the positions in these bodies.

The allied countries providing personnel to this centre: Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, United States, and Spain, as a host nation.

This list of countries is a sample of the multinational environment in which the center develops its mission to face the air threat, which due to its speed characteristics, requires perfect coordination and teamwork between the countries represented in the CAOC and the means available to the Alliance.

CAOC Structure

The Centre is structured in two main sections: one is deployable on the occasion of a crisis and the other one is static and focused on the NATO territory air defence.


The first section includes the Instruction, Intelligence, Plans and Operations Divisions. This section can adapt to the nature and entity of the operation in a flexible manner. The static part is responsible for achieving the main objective of Air Defense of the countries of the Alliance, according to the NATO Integrated Air Defense and Missile System (NATINAMDS).