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“No activity is more important and no military function is more critical in military operations and to operational success than effective Command and Control (C2)”
NATO has to change (transform) in order to remain the Security Organization for the Alliance. NATO requires knowledge in order to transform. The network of Centres of Excellence and the knowledge, experience and skills they provide is very important for the Transformation efforts of NATO led by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). Since its inception in June 2007, the environment of the NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (NATO C2COE) changed but Command and Control still is in the centre of all initiatives for successful Transformation.
Recently the importance of improving C2 within NATO has been clearly recognized by the NATO nations during the Wales summit and in December 2015 (when assuming command as new SACT) General Denis Mercies started a program to improve NATO’s readiness and responsiveness along the lines of 6 Focus Areas, with Command and Control as his top priority.
The background and purpose of this report are clearly defined in chapter 1. From the start in 2007 the management of the NATO C2COE became aware it will never be able to master all areas of C2. The NATO C2COE and its Program of Work should focus on those areas within C2 which are most relevant and all the (tangible) products and services should have added value to NATO’s Transformation. The NATO C2COE and its Members should be organized and capable to achieve this.
In recent years the NATO C2COE was confronted with many challenges such as: personnel issues, lack of coordination, degraded performance, loss of personnel resources, limited visibility and lose of interest by some of the supporting Nations. These challenges are difficult to counter and result in a vicious circle; they all influence each other. There were many ongoing discussions within the Centre to improve the situation, but there were just as many different opinions and more important there was no solid plan. Based of these findings I started an internal evaluation (Way Ahead) project to create unity of opinion within the Centre and to identify the required improvements that will increase our visibility, the quality of our products and above all our added value to the transformation of NATO.
Chapter 2 describes the present situation by confirming and proving the importance of C2 to the Alliance, by identifying the most important C2 related issues and by describing the possible role of the NATO C2COE in the transformation of NATO.
The following chapters look very closely and in much detail to the NATO C2COE organisation and its environment. Opportunities and Threats of the environment as well as Strenghts and Weaknesses of the present organisation are described in much detail in a SWOT-analysis. Mitigating the threats and weaknesses with opportunities and strengths, results in an extensive list of concrete and practical recommendations for the future and specific actions/measures to be taken by the Steering Board, individual supporting Nations and/or the Director of the NATO C2COE.
All identified recommenations are listed in the last chapter of this report. Some are easy to implement, others require considerable time and effort or additional resources. Because the NATO C2COE lacks a firm description of business processes, there are also some recommendations to change the present organisational structure. These changes are required in order to transform the NATO C2COE into a professional knowledge centre.
To improve readability of and easy access into this report to the different users, all recommendations are grouped in three tables. The first group is internal NATO C2COE orientated, containing recommendations not requiring an action from the Steering Board or a change to the MOU. The second group reflects all Sponsoring Nations and is to be discussed in the Steering Board. The third and final group specifies recommendations for sponsoring Nations. Furthermore each recommendation contains a reference to the chapter and paragraph in this report. In the last column of each table the latest status of the specific recommendation is mentioned.
This extensive and thorough report is the product of an intensive and very time consuming evaluation. It has been produced by a projectteam assigned by me, with maximum interaction from active and recent Centre members. This not only ensures maximum commitment and support from the staff officers working at the NATO C2COE, but through them also from their Nations. Maximum and full support of Nations and Centre members is essential to successfully implement all the identified recommendations and achieve the intended objectives / goals of this evaluation.
To achieve the full support of our Nations, the role of the NATO C2COE Steering Board is essential. More specific the Steering Board is requested to agree, acknowledge and/or approve all listed recommendations. For discussion in the Steering Board meeting of 2 SEP 2015, the draft version of this report has been distributed to the Nations and the content and many of the recommendations have been briefed by me. Some of the recommendations have already been agreed.
A formal approval of this report by the Steering Board is important for the future of the NATO C2COE. It will direct and guide Centre’s leadership for the next years.