NATO C2COE Mission and Vision


To promote transformation within the NATO Alliance, Nations have agreed to take advantage of national and multinational Centres of Excellence (COEs). The COEs are open for participation by all NATO member states, they are nationally or multi-nationally managed and funded, and they can be offered to NATO. The maturing network of COEs, that will support the NATO Command Arrangements, will be coordinated by HQ SACT.

COEs provide opportunities for NATO and PfP nations to improve interoperability and capabilities, to test and develop doctrine, and validate concepts through experimentation.
The Netherlands has offered the Command and Control Centre of Excellence (C2COE) and to become the Framework Nation.

On  14th of June 2007 ACT, The Kingdom of the Netherlands as Host Nation/Sponsoring Nation and six Sponsoring Nations signed the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) wherewith the NATO C2COE was formally established. NATO accreditation was received on April 4th, 2008.

The initial Sponsoring Nations were Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, and Spain. The United States of America expressed their intention to sign the MOU. In advance of the signing an USA officer was already posted to the NATO C2COE. Turkey joined the NATO C2COE in August 2008 and on the 23rd of October 2009 the USA signed the Note of Joining. In February 2013 Estonia joined the NATO C2COE.

The Mission:

We support  NATO, nations and international institutions/organisations with subject matter expertise on Command and Control.

Our main level of interest is C2 at the Operational level with a focus on C2 Processes and Structures, Information and Knowledge Management, and Human Factors (including Leadership).

We see support as catalysing change by motivating, encouraging, helping and stimulating necessary improvements. Subject Matter Expertise is bringing knowledge, experience and views to the customer. All aspects of C2 means involvement in everything relevant to C2.

To achieve its mission, the C2COE will become a national and international main source of expertise for transformation in the domain of C2 by networking with Sponsoring Nations, ACT and ACO and other international institutions / organisations.

In the absence of a commonly accepted definition of C2 and to be able to execute the mission the NATO C2COE developed and uses a working definition for C2:

The exercise of authority by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces, performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities and procedures in the accomplishment of the mission.

In executing our mission we see ourselves:

    • between innovation and transformation;
    • between scientists and operational users, by exploring scientific understanding;
    • between operational users and suppliers by analysing operational situations;
    • between SHAPE and HQ SACT as the customer and contractor for the COE, and
  • paving the way for the Sponsoring Nations cooperating in this C2COE.

The Vision:

The NATO C2COE will become the international main source of expertise regarding all aspects of the C2 Process; a marketplace for C2 Knowledge and Expertise.

Therefore the NATO C2COE will:

    • be a worldwide well-known and appreciated entity in the C2 and Operational Communities of Interest, playing a catalyst role in the further development of C2;
    • offer an important contribution to NATO missions;
    • heavily support the NRF NNEC assessment programme;
    • organise a series of workshops, seminars and conferences as possibilities to build and strengthen social networks and transmit our knowledge and experience with(in) NATO and (Sponsoring) Nations;
    • publish documents related to transformation of C2, and
  • be a good example of a new, networked and distributed organisation.

What is unique?

We are a new, small, highly motivated organisation with a “can do” mentality. We are entrepreneurs in a situation with room for initiative and where nothing is fixed. From the start the establishment is truly joint and combined. Our international staff combines a unique combination of experience, maturity and knowledge in all aspects of C2. Our staff automatically brings an individual set of communication channels to build our international network. We, as a unique social group, “own” the centre.

What is the challenge?

NATO faces hard challenges which include more than enough demands in the field of C2, being one of the few areas where real improvement is achievable. The NATO C2COE has to develop as a relevant information hub and catalyst. The centre has to support further international cooperation in and around NATO, Supporting Nations, operators and science. Exploring this market may result in new partners. This could lead to competition which sharpens the C2COE. For the first time in history eight nations are teaming up in the area of C2.

The way:

We will work the projects and products as identified in the POW 2008 according to the Steering Board’s decision. The NATO C2COE will:

    • give command briefings at all levels of NATO, civil organisations and in the SNs;
    • publish and communicate our general knowledge and information (both on the public internet and the classified environment (NSWAN));
    • publish and communicate our events and initiatives with flyers (like Net initiatives, factsheets and reviews);
    • supply direct feedback to assessed organizations;
    • seize speaker slots in conferences (as recognised organisation);
    • publish publications, articles in military magazines, and
  • report transparently to the Steering Board in order to gain trust with the SNs.

The products:

The C2COE core products are knowledge and shared information. These products will be disseminated through:

    • this web site;
    • studies, concepts and publications, in order to improve international understanding of effective C2 in joint and combined operations;
    • C2 and NNEC related courses, symposia and workshops;
    • C2 Assessment reports, and
  • proposals and new perspectives for transformation in the field of C2.