• Last updated: 29 Sep. 2015 15:46

The ability to work together is more important than ever for the Alliance. States need to share a common set of standards, especially among military forces, to carry out multinational operations. By helping to achieve interoperability among NATO’s forces, as well as with those of its partners, standardization allows for more efficient use of resources and thus enhances the Alliance’s operational effectiveness.


  • To work together effectively and efficiently, NATO forces as well as partner forces need to share common set of standards.
  • Standardization allows for more efficient use of resources and thus enhances the effectiveness of the Alliance’s defence capabilities.
  • A standardization agreement (STANAG) is a NATO standardization document that specifies the agreement of member nations to implement a standard.
  • Definitions


    The ability to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Allied tactical, operational and strategic objectives.


    NATO standardization is the development and implementation of concepts, doctrines and procedures to achieve and maintain the required levels of compatibility, interchangeability or commonality needed to achieve interoperability.

    Standardization affects the operational, procedural, material and administrative fields. This includes a common doctrine for planning a campaign, standard procedures for transferring supplies between ships at sea, and interoperable material such as fuel connections at airfields. It permits NATO countries to work together, as well as with their partners, preventing duplication and promoting better use of economic resources.


    A document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body which provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. 

    NATO standardization agreement

    A standardization agreement (STANAG) is a NATO standardization document that specifies the agreement of member nations to implement a standard, in whole or in part, with or without reservation, in order to meet an interoperability requirement.

    Allied publication

    The name given to both standards and standards-related documents published by NATO.

  • NATO standardization bodies

    Committee for Standardization (CS)

    The Committee for Standardization (CS) is the senior NATO committee for Alliance standardization, composed primarily of representatives from all NATO countries. Operating under the authority of the North Atlantic Council (NAC), it issues policy and guidance for all NATO standardization activities. Its mission is to exert domain governance for standardization policy and management within the Alliance to contribute to Allies’ development of interoperable and cost-effective military forces and capabilities.

    The NATO Standardization Office

    The NATO Standardization Office (NSO) initiates, coordinates, supports and administers NATO standardization activities conducted under the authority of the Committee for Standardization (CS). It also assists NATO’s Military Committee in developing military operational standardization. Its mission is to foster NATO standardization with the goal of enhancing the operational effectiveness of Alliance military forces. 

    NATO Standardization Staff Group

    The NATO Standardization Staff Group (NSSG) assists the Director of the NSO. It is a staff level forum which facilitates coherence of NATO standardization activities and procedures across NATO bodies, especially the standardization tasking authorities¹.

    1. The tasking authorities are senior NATO committees that can task subordinate groups to produce Standardization Agreements and Allied Publications.
  • Achievements and Products

    Alliance operations cannot be effective or efficient without common standards. Partners’ force contributions to NATO-led operations can only succeed by using the Alliance’s proven portfolio of standards in all standardization fields – operational, procedural, material and administrative.

    The products of NATO’s standardization tasking authorities ensure that the armed forces of the Alliance and their force-contributing partners can operate efficiently and effectively together.

    The NATO Standardization Documents Database (NSDD) provides consolidated storage of all NATO standardization documents and their related information, including national ratification data.

    The NATO Standardization Office (NSO) facilitates standardization planning domain involvement in the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) to achieve interoperability. NDPP aims to coordinate national and multi-national development of forces and capabilities for the full range of Allied missions.  Standardization contributions to the NDPP enhance the interoperability of those forces and capabilities.

    STANAGs and Allied publications promulgated by the NSO are essential for the NATO Evaluation Programme which is under the responsibility of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). This programme provides SACEUR with a statement describing a unit’s capability to execute its assigned mission. Furthermore, NATO standards are needed to certify units that are selected to become part of the NATO Response Force.

    NATO terminology is stored and managed by the NATO Terminology Database, called NATOTerm, which contains more than ten thousand definitions of NATO terms, helping to promote common understanding.