150327mou400The NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence (MW COE) was officially established 25 March during the NATO Transformation Seminar, held in Washington D.C.

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Jean-Paul PalomƩros hosted the Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony which formalised the relationship between NATO and the 23rd NATO COE (21 of which are currently NATO accredited). Slovenia acts as the Framework Nation for MW COE with Croatia, Germany and Italy having already joined as Sponsoring Nations. Furthermore, Austria expressed its interest to join MW COE as a Partner Nation, once the COE is established and accredited.

MW COE is located in Poljče, Slovenia and was built on the foundations of the former Mountain Warfare Multi-National COE. MW COE's vision is to become the hub for mountain warfare expertise in the NATO community. Its Program of Work will include building enhanced NATO and national Mountain Warfare capabilities, performing research and experimentation, developing doctrine and concepts and acting as a focal point for Mountain Warfare analysis and Lessons Learned.

"In fact, we must promote collaborative work as a standard, and I think that we have made significant progress in that direction. This collaborative approach should be extended more and more to all sources of knowledge, of progress, of creativity to take the full benefit of our interconnected world. First to come to my mind, are the COEs. In order to take the full benefit of this precious resource for transformation, we must involve them more and more in our work, as it is the case for training. We must promote the COEs' networking which will multiply their effectiveness. I am sure as well that COEs represent a great asset for innovation. In fact, transformation should be nurtured by innovation, by effective, pragmatic, efficient innovation."

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
General Jean-Paul PalomƩros

During the signing ceremony, General PalomĆ©ros expressed his gratitude for this initiative and touched on the importance of Alliance's interoperability to perform in mountainous environments. Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the U.S., H.E. Dr. Božo Cerar, conveyed that his country offers valuable traditions and expertise in mountain operations and stressed the significance of the COE's relationship with NATO. MW COE Director, Colonel BoÅ”tjan Blaznik, assured Supreme Allied Commander Transformation that his organisation is ready to be accredited by NATO and will dedicate its full resources to NATO's priorities. Several of the member nation's NATO Ambassadors and Military Representatives wre among the distinguished guests present at the event.

In the following months, MW COE will receive an Allied Command Transformation (ACT) evaluation visit. Based on ACT recommendations, MW COE is expected to receive NATO accreditation this summer.