Q&A Centre of Excellence

Allied Command Transformation (ACT) set up a COE Catalogue with an Q&A regarding the frequently asked questions about Centres of Excellence.

Below you can find these questions. You can also find the catalogue on the ACT website

  • Are COEs part of NATO?
    The MC Concept states, “A COE is not part of the NATO Command Structure, but forms part of the wider framework
    supporting NATO Command Arrangements”. We may say metaphorically that NATO accredited COEs have one foot
    within NATO (because they are “part of the wider framework supporting NATO Command Arrangements” and because
    they are activated as NATO Military Bodies) and they have one foot outside NATO (because they are “not part of the
    NATO Command Structure” or of the NATO Forces Structure). This gives COEs great flexibility in the relationships with
    other international and civilian entities.
  • Where does the COE idea come from? Can NATO “initiate” a COE?
    The idea for a COE generally can come from either NATO or an Alliance Nation. If the idea comes from NATO, it is
    resulting from an identified capability shortfall. If the idea comes from an Allied Nations, it may not necessarily be directly
    related to capability shortfalls, yet be beneficial for NATO.
  • What is the difference between a NATO COE and any other COE?
    A NATO COE is a COE that has been accepted and accredited by the Military Committee. During the accreditation
    process, the COE can request from the NAC to be granted the status of a NATO Military Body, and thus granting it
    international status under the Paris Protocol.
  • Can NATO task the COEs?
    No, NATO cannot task the COEs, because they are not under command authority of NATO. In fact, COEs are “not part
    of the NATO Command Structure” they are owned by their sponsoring nations.
  • How does NATO request COE products and services?
    NATO can ask the COEs by submitting a Request for Support (RFS) in the Programme of Work (POW) tool, through a
    process entitled the COE POW Development Cycle (Page 64).
  • Can Nations join / withdraw from a COE after it is NATO-accredited?
    Yes, they can. The addition of any new Sponsoring Nation (SN) to a COE is done through a Note of Joining (NOJ), to be
    signed by the joining Nation and the already participating SNs. Unless otherwise specified; the NOJ will come into effect on the date of the last signature. Any SN may withdraw from the COE giving the twelve months written notice to all other
    SNs and by informing the Director and Steering Committee (SC) in writing.
  • Are the COEs eligible for common funds?
    In short, COEs are to be funded by the Sponsoring Nations. However, there are provisions allowing for the potential use of Common Funding, but only in exceptional circumstances, which have not been clearly defined. Decision by the MC on a case-by-case basis.
  • Can Partner Nations join COEs?
    Yes, they can. Partner Nations can join NATO COEs as Contributing Partners, which means that they will be able to
    provide inputs and have access to COE’s products and services, however they will not have voting right in the Steering
    Committee (SC). These relationships should be managed by the COEs on case by case basis, taking into account security aspects.
  • Can COEs engage with non-military entities, such as industry and academia?
    Yes they can, moreover they are encouraged to do so. These relationships should be managed by the COEs on case by
    case basis, taking into account security aspects.
  • Where can I find more information about the COEs?
    Each COE has its own homepage. In addition, you can find information about the COEs in general at http://
    www.act.nato.int/centres-of-excellence and more details at https://portal.transnet.act.nato.int/Pages/home.aspx
    (You need to sign up for a TRANSNET account)