ACE Mobile Force (Land)

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File:M561 Gama Goat in 1987.JPEG
24 April 1987; U.S. soldiers wave from the back of a truck towing a Howitzer from a drop zone during NATO Exercise ARDENT GROUND '87. Members of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force from Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in the live artillery/air exercise being staged on Salisbury Plain Training Area in Wiltshire.

The Allied Command Europe Mobile Force - Land (ACE Mobile Force-Land or AMF(L)) was a small NATO quick reaction force, headquartered at Heidelberg, Germany, active from 1960 to 2002. It formed part of Allied Command Europe (ACE), headquartered at SHAPE at Casteau, Belgium.

The AMF-L was intended as a multinational force that could be quickly despatched to any part of ACE's command area - from North Norway, to Germany, to eastern Turkey - to demonstrate the solidarity of the alliance and its ability to resist all forms of aggression against any member state. During the Cold War the AMF-L did frequent exercises in North Norway (Exercises Adventure Express, Arctic Express & Ardent Ground, among others) and in other areas, but was first deployed operationally in 1991 during the Gulf War, when part of its air component was despatched to watch the Turkish borders, in the face of a potential threat to a member's territory. The land component of the force, consisting of a brigade-sized formation of about 5,000 personnel, was composed of units from 14 NATO states.

The AMF(L) was one of the NATO formations deployed to Norway during Exercise Strong Resolve 1998.

The AMF(L) formed the core of the Albania Force (AFOR), a NATO-led international force responsible for establishing and delivering humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo in Albania during the Kosovo crisis in 1999. It was led by Major General John Reith, Commander AMF(L).

The Immediate Reaction Task Force (Land) (IRTF-L) was a novel command and control concept successfully developed and evaluated by the AMF(L) between 1999 and 2001. The IRTF(L) concept allowed the AMF(L), an existing Immediate Reaction Force multinational brigade HQ, to command a divisional sized force with minimal augmentation and no intermediate HQs. The trial concluded in December 2001. HQ AMF(L) was disbanded on October 31, 2002 and has since been replaced by the NATO Response Force.



  • NATO Handbook, 50th Anniversary Edition, 1998–99, p. 253, 255
  • NATO website describing AFOR
  • See also Exercise Adventure Express 97 at
  • See also Maloney, Sean(2004) 'Fire Brigade or Tocsin? NATO's ACE Mobile Force, Flexible Response and the Cold War', Journal of Strategic Studies, 27:4, p. 585 — 613