NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

The Alliance Warfare Development Conference (AWDC) has replaced the Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) as Allied Command Transformation’s annual meeting for Flag Officer/General Officers and Senior Civilian decision makers from NATO nations to interact and collaborate with NATO’s Allied Command Transformation and other senior NATO leaders involved with warfare development.

Allied Command Transformation will host the Alliance Warfare Development Conference from 6-7 December 2023.

The theme of the 2023 Alliance Warfare Development Conference isAcceleration of Transformation.” 

The purpose of the Alliance Warfare Development Conference is to drive forward a variety of cutting edge ideas, to inform, explore, exchange and experiment, accelerate the Alliance’s transformation to ensure that NATO maintains its place at the forefront of capability, well into the future.

The Alliance Warfare Development Conference is intended to provide an opportunity to inform the NATO audience of the latest updates regarding topics such as the Future Operating Environment.

The Alliance Warfare Development Conference will provide the opportunity to explore cutting edge ideas such as the next generation command and control concepts.

During the conference, NATO representatives will exchange ideas and current issues, such as NATO Defence Planning Process and the associated changes and challenges.

The Alliance Warfare Development Conference will provide an opportunity to experiment with immersive and practical simulations, and share approaches to immersive experimentation.

NATO Innovation Podcast: Alliance Warfare Development Conference: Better Today, Stronger Tomorrow

NATO’s Allied Command Transformation held the Alliance Warfare Development Conference in Norfolk, Virginia, from December 6 – 8, 2022. The Alliance Warfare Development Conference is an annual event for military and civilian decision-makers to collaborate on warfare development.

The conference investigates the future of Allied warfare development in a dynamic and dangerous new security environment. The 30 Allies protecting more than one billion citizens must remain committed to adapting to strategic challenges that we can anticipate but not predict, whether that is 20 minutes or 20 years into the future.

Read more here: Investigating the Future of Allied Warfare Development

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, has hosted the inaugural Alliance Warfare Development Conference at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation from 7-9 December 2021.

The theme of the 2021 Alliance Warfare Development Conference was “The Alliance Warfare Development Agenda: From Concept to Implementation” and the conference agenda focused on the Warfare Development Agenda from multiple perspectives.

Read more here: Alliance Warfare Development Conference 2021

NATO’s 2020 Chiefs of Transformation Conference took place virtually on Dec. 3. The conference, normally held in Norfolk, Virginia, over a three-day period went virtual to align with NATO COVID-19 guidance.

The Chiefs of Transformation Conference is the only venue where national Chiefs of Transformation from the Alliance have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with the senior leadership of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation and many other senior NATO leaders involved in innovation and transformation. In 2020, although shortened to one day in a virtual environment, leaders discussed in detail the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept.

The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept looks to answer one main question: where will NATO be in 2040? Allied Command Transformation is leading the development of the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, a military concept based on a 20-year warfighting perspective, shaping NATO’s Warfare Development trajectory and informing the development of the Alliance’s Military Instrument of Power while also ensuring its effectiveness and employability.

The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, along with Allied Command Transformation’s Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area, operationalises NATO’s 2019 Military Strategy—the first document of its kind in over 50 years.

While the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area considers the immediate to short-term, the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept proposes an ambitious “North Star” vision for the Alliance’s Warfare Development, aiming to ensure NATO’s military is ready to address future challenges and that the Alliance maintains its warfighting advantage to 2040. This vision aspires to be a military instrument of power which can out-think, out-excel, out-fight, out-pace, out-partner, and out-last any adversary.

The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept aims to address an important concern: if NATO does not think, organise and act differently than it does today, the Military Instrument of Power will face an eroding advantage. The future success of the Alliance depends on the ability to continually transform to meet tomorrow’s challenges and a steady “North Star” path ensures warfare development will be deliberate, proactive and effective.

Reconsidering the way NATO thinks, organises and acts in order to make best use of resources in its warfare development will allow the Alliance to prepare for a more unpredictable world and respond to the consequences of a changed security environment, enabling NATO’s core mission of defending almost 1 billion people.

The result of over 18 months of concerted effort by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation and wide consultation and collaboration with NATO and outside experts, the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept is positioned for approval by NATO Nations in 2021.

The 2019 Chiefs of Transformation Conference took place from Tuesday, 10 December to Thursday, 12 December 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia. The 2019 COTC sought to interconnect national transformation initiatives with those of Allied Command Transformation, particularly in the areas of innovation, longer-term capability development, and training. The Theme for the 2019 Chiefs of Transformation Conference was “NATO Warfare Development: Innovation & Interoperability- Winning Tomorrow’s War Today” and, with this in mind, the conference agenda was developed to take into account national priorities, opportunities and concerns.

There were four syndicate topics, each led by an Allied Command Transformation’s Flag Officer / General Officer with support from Nations, Industry, Academia and others, where attending Chiefs of Transformation Conference Principals shared best practices, views and opinions with the aim to identify follow on activities in specific areas of interest. Over the two-day conference, all attendees discussed each of the four topics.

View the consolidated Chiefs of Transformation Conference Report here.

Chiefs of Transformation Conference 2019 topics:

  • Innovation” led by Lieutenant General Thomas Sharpy
    • Allied Command Transformation and a number of Nations are increasingly focusing on innovation. We need to identify what is the success strategy to foster innovation because technology is already here. Understanding how to build, fuel and drive innovation is the first step to bring all nations on board at the same speed. The NATO Innovation Network offers to nations the opportunity to share ideas, best practices, and combine efforts to tackle the future challenges together.View the Innovation Syndicate Report here
  • Interoperability” led by Brigadier General Poul Primdahl
    • Interoperability is a mind-set that demands a shift in culture. We must not see interoperable capabilities as an afterthought, but think about “interoperability by design” at the very beginning of the capability development process.View the Interoperability Syndicate Report here
  • Resilience” led by Rear Admiral John Tammen
    • NATO leveraging Collaborative Resilience to conduct and sustain operations by preparing for, absorbing, recovering and adapting to the surprise or strategic shock of Hybrid Attack and/or Terror through harmonized and resilient structures, systems and processes enabled by the persistent collaboration across public, military and private stakeholders.View the Resilience Syndicate Report here
  • Human Capital” led by Vice Admiral Alfonso Fernandez De Cordoba
    • As the security landscape grows in complexity, it has never been as important for leadership to adapt their approach to decision making. Developing and enabling our Human Capital to leverage technological advances and innovative approaches to decision making is paramount.View the Human Capital Syndicate Report here
  • Command Senior Enlisted Leaders Program led by Sergeant Major Tibor Bogdán
    • NATO Nations’ Chiefs of Defence/Armed Forces level Command Senior Enlisted Leaders/Command Sergeant Majors participated in the 2019 Chiefs of Transformation Conference. The Command Senior Enlisted Leaders program was a new initiation and a disruptive way to deliver Allied Command Transformation’s message and achieve sweeping changes to the perception of the challenges of the Alliance.View the Command Senior Enlisted Leaders Program Report here
  • Young Disruptor Contributions
    • Additionally, “young disruptors” were invited to participate and were integrated into each of the syndicate session to share their vision and recognise best practices to identify possible common/shared efforts and to establish a robust network for cooperation in the area of innovation.View the Young Disruptors Report here

Points of Contact

If you have any questions please contact the AWDC Team listed below:

LTC Tim Bakewell (GBR M)
Staff Officer Strategic Engagements
Strategic Issues & Engagements Branch (SPP)
Phone: +1 757 747 3918
Email: [email protected]

LTC Arvid Josefsen (NOR AF)
Staff Officer Strategic Engagements
Strategic Issues & Engagements Branch (SPP)
Phone: +1 757 747 3374
Email: [email protected]