General information Centres of Excellence

Allied Command Transformation (ACT) set up a COE Catalogue with an introduction and Q&A regarding the Centres of Excellence. Below you can read general information about Centres of Excellence.

The idea for NATO COEs originated in MC 324/1, “The NATO Military Command Structure,” dated 14 May 2003. The Military Committee refined this idea into MCM-236-03; “MC Concept for Centres of Excellence (COE)” dated 04 Dec 2003. Once the idea and the concept were firmly established, the accreditation criterion was defined. In 2004, IMSM-0416-04, “NATO COE Accreditation Criteria” was agreed on and the first NATO COE was formally accredited on 01 Jun 2005.

Definition of a NATO COE
“A COE is a nationally or multi-nationally sponsored entity, which offers recognised expertise and experience to the benefit of the Alliance, especially in support of transformation.” A COE is not part of the NATO Command Structure (NCS), but forms part of the wider framework supporting NATO Command Arrangements (NCA).

» No cost to NATO.
» Conform to NATO procedures, doctrines andstandards.
» No duplication with existing assets
» Relationships with Strategic Commands through Memorandum of Understanding agreements.
» Relationships with partners are supported and encouraged.

The makeup and characteristics of the COEs are unique to each one.

Key points of interest:
» 1-21 Sponsoring Nations (SN).
» 26 of 29 NATO nations participate in COEs.
» Manning from 16 to 89 posts.
» Operating costs per position: 6 to 25K €.
» Total manning is approximately 1226 billets/942 filled for 24 accredited COEs.
» Sponsoring Nations are encouraged not to populate a COE at the expenses of NATO billets in the NATO Command and Force Structure.

There are many reasons why a nation or nations, as Framework Nation (FN) decide to offer a Centre of Excellence to NATO. One of the most common reasons is to contribute to NATO whilst at the same time directly benefiting one or more Nations. The number of NATO COEs is consistently growing. Through the MC Concept and the NATO accreditation criteria, COEs have proven to be a successful and enduring model for strong multinational solutions. As a result, the NATO Command and Force Structure is supported by robust network of COEs, which are nationally or multi-nationally managed and funded and open for participation by NATO and Partner nations.

You can also find the catalogue on the ACT website

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