Capability Development and Defence Planning

Building capabilities that are both fit for purpose and provide lasting value require deep strategic foresight, research and an understanding of the future operating environment. ACT identifies the requirements necessary to meet the Alliance’s level of ambition and determines what changes need to be made today to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.

Chiefs of Transformation Conference

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The Conference remains the only venue where national Chiefs of Transformation from the Alliance and Partners have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with the senior leadership of Allied Command Transformation and many other senior leaders involved in innovation and transformation. In addition to Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Military Committee and Mr. Camille Grand, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, representatives from over 20 industry and academic organizations provided diverse expertise, engaging demonstrations, presentations and insight into ways to enhance NATO’s future. Prior to the main conference Supreme Allied Commander Transformation met with the directors of 19 NATO Centres of Excellence for a discussion focussed on Allied Command Transformation’s Centres of Excellence Roadmap.

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The stated aims of Chiefs of Transformation Conference were to interconnect national transformation initiatives with those of Allied Command Transformation, particularly in the areas of innovation, longer-term capability development, and training. The national Chiefs of Transformation, along with the other senior leaders from across NATO, industry and academia, were invited to discuss and exchange innovative ideas and best practices, and identify actionable outcomes towards improving interoperability, cooperation and partnership.

The Young Disruptors Forum, a new addition during Chiefs of Transformation Conference, engaged top-level young professionals from NATO and Partner nations with the NATO and Partner Chiefs of Transformation, senior decision-makers and thought leaders. This provided a unique opportunity for the young disruptors to learn and understand NATO's innovation goals.

In his closing remarks General Lanata stated that NATO’s greatest strengths stem from the men and women serving within and alongside the Alliance.

“Closer cooperation among member nations and NATO’s partners, particularly with industry and academia, helps us to ensure the future of the Alliance. NATO benefits from the shared knowledge and competencies, opinions and experiences of personnel from 29 nations and [many] partners.”

He expressed his overall gratitude for the conversations on how the Alliance can remain responsive, relevant and ready. He also stressed the importance of experimentation and how failure can be a useful tool toward innovation.

Chiefs of Transformation Conference Key Takeaways:

  • Human Capital. There was a consensus that talent management, leader development, and organizational effectiveness are key elements to address. NATO must consolidate and develop educational tools to help strategic leader development and decision-making. Recruiting, and more importantly retaining, innovative people is becoming increasingly challenging. A key recommendation was to modernize strategic leader development through virtual reality and other advanced decision-making tools.
  • Data, Command & Control and Decision-Making. NATO must improve its ability to identify and acquire data and then make it sharable for experimentation and analytics purposes amongst NATO and nations to support Command and Control and decision-making. Culture, Policies and Processes are the fundamental elements to address first, but the toughest to solve. Data science is iterative by its nature and therefore must be accepted in both development and operational arenas. In Experimentation, NATO and nations must resource, both people and money, the “fail, fail fast and try again” methodology of development utilizing the expertise and knowledge of the NATO Centres of Excellence. A key action item is the development of a NATO policy facilitating Emerging Disruptive Technologies, recognizing data as a strategic resource.
  • Future Partnerships. The future partnerships syndicate identified that most Partner Nations do not seek to embrace Adaptive Disruptive Advances; their levels of ambition focus on the implementation of more practical solutions. It was also concluded that some challenges with classified information sharing could, with nations’ support, be addressed by utilizing existing technologies.
  • Emerging Technologies. The need for greater agility in adopting / adapting commercial technologies rather than building military specific platforms was stressed. Several emerging technologies are in their final development phase and NATO will require a strategic plan to ensure appropriate policy, legal and ethical concerns are considered. The Multinational Solutions community will explore these insights in the near future.
  • Young Disruptors Forum. The Young Disruptors recognized the importance and relevance of NATO as a remarkable actor for international peace and security. However, they pointed out a lack of transparency and information sharing among nations, slow decision-making, and an organizational culture that does not accept failure. They proposed that NATO considers developing “Disruptive Innovation Units” that are organizations where people from diverse backgrounds gather for short periods to solve a NATO problem thus providing NATO an external alternative analysis.

Click here for the Chiefs of Transformation Conference 2018 Analysis Report

Federated Mission Networking


fmn logoFEDERATED Federated Mission Networking is a key contribution to the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), helping Allied and Partner forces to better communicate, train and operate together.
MISSION FMN enables a rapid instantiation of mission networks by federating NATO organizations, NATO Nations and Mission Partner capabilities, thereby enhancing interoperability and information sharing.
NETWORKING Federated Mission Networking is a governed conceptual framework consisting of people, processes and technology to plan, prepare, establish, use and terminate mission networks in support of federated operations.


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Federated Mission Networking is a capability aiming to support command and control and decision-making in future operations through improved information-sharing. It provides the agility, flexibility and scalability needed to manage the emerging requirements of any mission environment in future NATO operations. Federated Mission Networking is based on principles that include cost effectiveness and maximum reuse of existing standards and capabilities.

It consists of three elements: -> Federated Mission Networking Governance, -> Federated Mission Networking Framework and -> Mission Networks.

Federated Mission Networking will be based on trust, willingness and commitment.

Federated Mission Networking is built on lessons learned from the Afghanistan Mission Network (AMN) implementation and on the NATO Network Enabling Capability Programme.


fmn 01Federated Mission Networking GOVERNANCE sets objectives, defines the regulatory framework and environment (rules, procedures, policies, standards etc.) and helps ensure responsible use of resources and management of risk. Executed by the Military Committee, the governance level provides direction for the supporting management bodies executing management functions for the FMN Framework and for each Mission Network and for the Federated Mission Networking Affiliates.

The management level translates the direction provided by the Military Committee into strategies and plans, which in turn are translated into action by Federated Mission Networking Affiliates. The performance is reported back to the governance level, who subsequently evaluates the performance and incorporates it in adjustment of expectations. The working groups constitute mutually supporting and complementary Federated Mission Networking assets, empowered to liaise directly with other NATO bodies and entities and the native organizations of affiliates as required.

fmn 02The Federated Mission Networking FRAMEWORK is a governed, managed, all-inclusive structure providing a permanent ongoing foundation with processes, plans, templates, enterprise architectures, capability components and tools needed to prepare (including planning), develop, deploy, operate, evolve and terminate Mission Networks.

It includes four major processes:

  • Initiate and Join the FMN Framework,
  • Govern and Manage Federated Mission Networking Capability,
  • Maintain Federated Mission Networking-Ready Forces, and
  • Instantiate and Manage a Mission Network Instance.

MISSION NETWORKS provide a governed single instance of capability, including the Communication and Information Systems, management, processes and procedures created for the purpose of an operation, exercise, training event, or interoperability verification activity. Mission Networks are established using a flexible and tailored set of non-material (i.e. policy, processes, procedures and standards) and materiel (i.e. static and deployed networks, services, supporting infrastructures) contributions provided by NATO, NATO and non-NATO nations and entities.

fmn 03Four graduated levels of capability are defined that provide options for the participation in the evolution of the Federated Mission Networking Capability in general, and the participation in Mission Networks in particular:

A Mission Network Element contains Networking and Information Infrastructure and services for self-provisioning, including sufficient mission essential services.

A Mission Network eXtension contains infrastructure and services for self-provisioning, but may not include sufficient mission essential services;

A Hosted User is a Mission Network participant that is not able to provide infrastructure and services for self-provisioning;

Other Entities are not integral part of the network, nor are they subject to Federated Mission Networking Framework requirements.


NATO and national engagement in the overall effort and representation in the working groups facilitates collaboration and ensures quality of effort. NATO organizations, NATO and Non-NATO nations are encouraged to become Federated Mission Networking Affiliates, which implies they will maintain and further develop capabilities for federated mission networks and ensure Communication and Information Systems security and interoperability compliance with Federated Mission Networking standards and principles. Federated Mission Networking Affiliates will be able to contribute Federated Mission Networking-ready forces to a mission on short notice and with minimal preparation.

Operations Research and Analysis Conference

ora logoThe Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and the Science and Technology Organization will join in organising the 13th NATO Operations Research and Analysis (OR&A) Conference to be held in Ottawa, Canada, on 7-9 October 2019. The Conference is open to all NATO nations, Science and Technology Organization Enhanced Opportunity Partners (Australia, Finland and Sweden) and Partnership for Peace nations.

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The 2019 theme is "Challenges for NATO OR&A in a Changing Global Security Environment". The conference will kick off with a number of keynote addresses and proceed through various streams. The Programme Committee welcomes papers that address the conference theme from different perspectives. Papers describing emerging techniques and approaches as well as case studies of analysis undertaken are equally welcome. Based on the submission of abstracts, the Programme Committee will group papers for the conduct of running parallel sessions.

As part of the continuous development of the NATO OR&A Community of Interest, the event builds on previous conferences and workshops, bringing together the analysis community from NATO commands and agencies, national defence analysis and research organisations, centres of excellence, academia, and industry. It is our goal to provide an exciting program with plenty of opportunities for discussion and debate as well as valuable training opportunities for young analysts and military.

The call for papers is listed here.

Should there be any questions, our point of contact for registration is Mr. Jeroen Groenevelt, Tel. +33 (0) 1 55 61 22 77. For questions concerning the programme, presentations and training our point of contact is Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn DeLong, Tel: +1 757-747-3276.