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The NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (NATO C2COE), in close cooperation with the Canadian Joint Warfare Centre, conducted its annual Command and Control seminar on the topic of “The Future of NATO Decision-Making” from November 21st to 23rd, 2023. It was great to witness the Command and Control community coming together in person, with a larger turnout than ever before. The event took place at the Majoor Jan Linzel Complex in The Hague, the Netherlands, and welcomed over 145 attendees from various backgrounds, including NATO forces, command structures, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and defense industry partners.

During the seminar, through presentations, panel discussions, and workshops, speakers and participants delved into the critical components of NATO command and control (C2). The focus was on identifying areas where NATO’s decision-making could be enhanced. Key discussions revolved around the need for a more effects-oriented approach to decision-making, emphasizing outcomes that better align with mission goals rather than being solely process-driven. Additionally, the importance of adapting to the changing nature of warfare and the rapid pace of technological innovation was highlighted.

The seminar served as a forum where experts, academics, and operators offered their perspectives. It was moderated by Dr. Peter Roberts, Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and podcast host of the Command and Control Podcast. The overarching goal was to strengthen the alliance and ensure our warfighting strategies remain future-proof. Collaborating with a range of experts, we investigated the current state of C2, took a closer look at the near future, and explored the unknowns, asking, “What changes in decision-making might surprise us?”

The theme of this seminar provided a platform for a comprehensive discussion on this important aspect of Command and Control and Multi-Domain Operations. The speed and quality of our decision-making, as well as the conversion of these decisions into actions, are critical to our ability to out-fight, out-think, out-pace, out-last, out-excel, and out-partner our adversaries, as mentioned in the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept.

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