MARCOM was officially launched on Dec. 1, 2012, to reflect the NATO Heads of State’s decision to create a leaner and more effective command structure. This decision, taken at the NATO Lisbon Summit in November 2010, led to the largest reform in the Alliance since the end of the Cold War and reduced the number of major headquarters from 11 to six. NATO decided to consolidate two maritime commands and concentrate all maritime responsibilities into a single maritime command, MARCOM, located at Northwood, United Kingdom.
NATO’s presence in Northwood Headquarters dates back to 1953, only four years after the creation of the Alliance. That year, NATO decided that its Eastern Atlantic Command would be colocated with what used to be the Royal Air Force Coastal Command. Over the years, a number of NATO maritime functions have relocated to Northwood: NATO Channel command in 1966 and Flag Officer Submarines in 1978. After the end of the Cold War, NATO Eastern Atlantic Command followed the restructuration of NATO’s Command Structure. In 2004, its role evolved to Allied Maritime Component Command (MCC Northwood) together with another MCC in Naples, Italy. During this period, Northwood and Naples shared the responsibility for NATO maritime operations and exercises.