The 2022 edition of the NATO-Accredited Centres of Excellence Marketplace took place at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, 10-11 May 2022 with strong cooperation between NATO Headquarters, Allied Command Transformation, and the 28 Centre of Excellence Directors. Designed especially for NATO HQ staff, this second edition of the Centres of Excellence Marketplace aimed at highlighting the diverse, but crucial, support that the NATO Centres of Excellence provide to the Alliance.
General Paolo Ruggiero, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, highlighted the fundamental contribution of the Centres of Excellence in his opening remarks: “in my role as the Allied Command Transformation’s Coordinator of the Centres of Excellence, let me just say that, without a doubt, Centres of Excellence are a powerful ‘force multiplier’ thanks to their unique and qualified expertise, wide outreach capacity and distinctive position outside the NATO Command Structure,” he said.
During the event, each Centre of Excellence had the opportunity to showcase national contributions made to the Alliance, allowing NATO International Staff and International Military Staff personnel to recognize, understand and embrace the value of the 28 accredited Centres in terms of expertise, support and advice provided. The Centres promoted their work and shared examples of their products and outputs, from Warfare Development Agenda to Multi-Domain Operations contributions, Cognitive Warfare and Layered Resilience, delivered to NATO on behalf of their Sponsoring Nations.
“It is essential to speed up the process for the implementation of the Alliance Capstone Concepts, the Concept for the Defence and Deterrence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the NATO Warfighting Capstone concept, through the delivering of new concepts, innovative solutions and rapid actions – such as Multi-Domain Operations, Cognitive Warfare, Layered Resilience, Digital Transformation – to ensure we keep our advantage,” said General Ruggiero in his remarks.
Prior to the Marketplace, the Military Committee received an update on the activities of the Centres of Excellence and on the outcomes of the Directors Conference held in Norfolk, VA at the end April; NATO’s Defence Investment Division also led a Centres of Excellence Directors Session to include specific NATO key topics of interest and engagement with the Centres’ Directors.
Allied Command Transformation is in charge of the establishment, accreditation, preparation of candidates for approval, and periodic assessments of the centres. NATO Centres of Excellence are nationally or multi-nationally funded institutions accredited by NATO. They train and educate leaders and specialists from NATO member and partner countries, assist in doctrine development, identify lessons learned, improve interoperability and capabilities, and test and validate concepts through experimentation. They offer recognized expertise and experience that is of benefit to the Alliance and support the transformation of NATO, while avoiding the duplication of assets, resources and capabilities already present within the NATO command structure.
Although not part of the NATO command structure, they are part of a wider framework supporting NATO Command Arrangements. Designed to complement the Alliance's current resources, Centres of Excellence cover a wide variety of areas, with each one focusing on a specific field of expertise to enhance NATO capabilities. The overall responsibility for Centres of Excellence coordination and utilization within NATO lies with Allied Command Transformation, in co-ordination with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
The Alliance does not fund Centres of Excellence. Instead, they receive national or multinational support, with "Framework Nations", "Sponsoring Nations" and "Contributing Nations" financing the operating costs of the institutions. Twenty-eight Centres of Excellence have received NATO accreditation; the family is growing with the Space Centre of Excellence under establishment and accreditation process by the end of 2022 and a Centre of Excellence dedicated to climate change and security on early stage of establishment this year.