NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Ongoing Military Transformation, Leading to NATO 2030 – Multi-Domain Operations, Deterrence and Defence, Improved Understanding

March 22, 2023


NORFOLK, VA. – NATO’s Allied Command Transformation leads transformation across NATO entities. Unified, agile, and cross-functional approaches are critical for emerging threats from hybrid warfare, cyberspace, and climate security. These ongoing challenges require innovative, ambitious, and synchronization across the Alliance as NATO works to maintain the rules-based international order.

NATO’s Allied Command Transformation has three strategic priorities for 2023 – Multi-Domain Operation enabled Alliance, Adaptation to Deterrence and Defence, and Improved Understanding. To enable these priorities, Allied Command Transformation will focus on technological advantage, network enhancement, and agile modernization of headquarters activities. Below are select insights on these three strategic priorities as NATO looks to continue its vision for 2030.

Multi-Domain Operation Enablement is a key concept for alliance transformation – land, sea, air, space, and cyber, as well as domain interfaces all require diverse inputs. NATO’s Allied Command Transformation will leverage innovation, experimentation, and war-gaming to improve Alliance-wide education, creating both the mind-set and means for military and non-military capabilities to synchronize seamlessly across all domains and environments. Phases of implementation include Training & Exercise, Capability Development, and the NATO Defence Planning Process.

Adaptation to Deterrence and Defence functions as a transformation of NATO’s Military Instrument of Power, learning from the lessons of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Bridging the gap between operational planning and defence planning, including medium to long term transformational planning, Allied Command Transformation will work along Allied Command Operations to ensure operational implementation, regional execution, and integration planning are adequate. An example of this is the accession process of Finland and Sweden – the Alliance must properly anticipate and adapt these new security interests and capabilities.

Improved Understanding requires improved comprehensive pictures of trends, challenges, implications – Strategic Foresight provides anticipation on issues like Climate Security and Digital Reality. Exploration, in the realm of Cognitive Warfare, introduces innovation in decision superiority, mental resilience, and freedom of thought. Leveraging innovation and connectivity between Nations, Academia, and Industry, Allied Command Transformation focuses on shaping the environment, ensuring the Alliance is prepared to handle emerging trends, opportunities and threats. Examples include the Wargame Design Challenge, requesting industry and academic input – selected winners will be sponsored to attend the Wargaming Initiative for NATO 2023, in Rome on June 26th-27th, 2023.

The above three priorities are enabled by technology, networks, and agile methodology. Allied Command Transformation anticipates and prepares for regional and global security changes – collaboration ensures strength in the face of a more unpredictable and competitive world. Looking towards 2030, Allied Command Transformation will continue to support Alliance-wide initiatives, ensuring warfighters are able to deter, defend, and fight today and tomorrow.