The formal definition of NNEC says that it is "the Alliance's cognitive and technical ability to federate the various components of the operational environment, from the strategic level down to the tactical levels, through a Networking and Information Infrastructure (NII)".
In more simple terms, NNEC can be considered as the ability to effectively federate capabilities in coalition operations, by addressing not only the networks and systems, but also the information to be shared, the process employed to handle it, and the policy and doctrine that allows sharing information and services. The need for NNEC is intrinsic to all coalition operations. NNEC Supports heterogeneous partners, with different capabilities and needs, to operate under a federate set of "rules" that provide interoperability from the technical to the cognitive domain. NNEC fully supports "The Connected Forces Initiative" which, in the words of the NATO Secretary General "mobilizes all of NATO's resources to strengthen the Allies' ability to work together in a truly connected way".
For disparate systems to work together, NATO has traditionally focused on interoperability. NNEC picks up from there and through the four components (shown at left) identifies requirements, guidelines and solutions that will allow effective sharing of information and services supported by standards, joining instructions, data management practices, adequate information assurance and commensurate policies. NNEC looks at the ability to exchange information and, more importantly, at the ability to exploit that information, addressing the non-technical aspects of interoperability in the process.
More detailed NNEC information can be found by clicking the link for the NNEC Portal which provides a host of detailed NNEC information via the ACT Transformation Network. The TransNet portal requires registration for an account for access.