NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Allied Command Transformation is speeding the delivery of capabilities required by NATO in response to widely acknowledged shortfalls, ensuring the Alliance maintains its warfighting edge.

Allied Command Transformation decisively contributes to the development and delivery of the capabilities required by NATO so the Alliance and its warfighters are able to maintain a decisive advantage over adversaries. As part of this effort, the Command is speeding the delivery of common-funded capabilities required by NATO within agreed upon cost, schedule, and performance constraints.

Common-funded capabilities act as the glue between all Allied capabilities, and contribute to NATO’s collective effectiveness by providing the necessary resources for the provision of a capability or conduct of an activity that serves the interests of the Alliance as a whole. As the name suggests, these capabilities are paid for through the use of NATO common funds, which all Allies contribute in accordance to a cost-sharing formula that ensures fair burden-sharing. While NATO’s annual common funds make up only a fraction (0.3%) of total Allied defence spending (around EUR 3.27 billion for 2023), it has an outsized and positive impact on the Alliance’s capabilities.

Allied Command Transformation plays a pivotal role in the delivery of common-funded capabilities, acting as the Capability Requirement Authority while also ensuring complete cycle management from the definition of the operational requirement up to the final delivery of the warfighters needs. This places the Command at the centre of the delivery process – transforming required operational capability identified by Allied Command Operations into a programme plan that can be handed off to implementing entities or host Nations. Allied Command Transformation also fosters a programmatic approach that enables a standardised process, covering the entire capability life-cycle and the capability lines of effort (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership Development, Personnel, Facilities, and Interoperability) to capture the full benefits from allocated resources.

Currently, Allied Command Transformation manages more than 30 Common-Funded Capability Programmes and delivers management products to Allies for their decisions on critical capability areas such as Bi-Strategic Command Automated Information Services, Infrastructures or Complex. Examples of the Command’s efforts in these areas include the modernization of NATO’s Core and Communication Services with the Information Technology-Modernization Programme as well as its efforts to identify and address shortfalls at existing air bases and maritime facilities. In particular, Allied Command Transformation is enabling Digital Transformation by sustaining and enhancing the existing core communications network services, with the goal of providing the required connectivity across NATO entities to support its Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance tools. The Command is also defining the requirements for additional Air Basing in light of the new security environment, and helping to provide infrastructure-focused solutions to shortfalls in Maritime Facilities in a feasible, prioritized, and achievable manner.

The Common-Funded Capability Delivery Governance Model is the framework through which Allied Command Transformation and Allied Command Operations acquire common-funded capabilities for use by the Alliance. This Model, approved in June 2018 and fully adopted in 2019, enhances and expedites NATO’s previous approach to common-funded capability delivery and places Allied Command Transformation squarely in the centre of this process. This Model involves a range of actors, including NATO Committees, host Nations, the Strategic Commands and staffs who govern, manage, coordinate, and provide advice, respectively, to conduct and facilitate the delivery of common-funded capabilities. The Model continues to be optimized through a ‘Learning by Doing’ approach that enables the flexible implementation of capabilities.

At the 2022 Madrid Summit, Allies agreed to increase NATO common funding in light of the more challenging and contested security environment. This decision is reflected in NATO’s 2023 budget, which saw a year over year increase of the civil budget (funding NATO Headquarters) by 27.8% to €370.8 million and an increase to the military budget (funding the NATO Command Structure) by 25.8% to €1.96 billion. The NATO Security Investment Programme, that constitutes the Allies’ level of commitment for investment in major construction and command and control systems, also increased by 25% to €1 billion. These common-funded budgets are set to increasing in the coming years, with the NATO Security Investment Fund increasing by 25% per year and the military and civilian budgets increasing by 10% per year until 2030. Currently, the NATO Security Investment Fund’s ongoing Programmes have an authorized scope1 of nearly €13 billion to manage the more than 30 Common-Funded Capability Programmes.