Building Integrity (BI) Programme

  • Last updated: 24 Jun. 2014 09:26

The Building Integrity (BI) Programme provides practical tools to help participating countries strengthen integrity, transparency and accountability and reduce the risk of corruption in the defence and security sectors. It promotes good practice, processes and methodologies, and provides countries with tailored support to make defence and security institutions more effective.

The BI Programme is tailored to meet national needs and requirements. It is demand-driven and participation is on a voluntary basis. It is open to all NATO Allies and partners (members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and partners across the globe). Requests from other countries are reviewed by NATO on a case-by-case basis. As of April 2014, 16 countries are engaged in the Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Peer Review Process: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ and Ukraine.

The BI Programme supports the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and related resolutions, and has integrated a gender perspective into its methodology and practical tools.

The programme was established by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in November 2007 in the framework of the Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB), which helps partners to develop effective and efficient defence institutions under civilian and democratic control.  At the Chicago Summit in 2012, NATO Heads of State and Government established BI as a NATO discipline and agreed the development of a BI Education and Training Plan. In December 2013, when NATO Foreign Ministers identified defence capacity-building support to partners and, potentially non-partner countries as a key objective, BI was earmarked as an instrument to help promote democratic values and human rights, contribute more generally to security and stability, and to help develop or enhance interoperability.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
  • The Building Integrity toolkit

    The BI Programme focuses on developing practical tools to help participants strengthen integrity, transparency, accountability and reduce the risk of corruption in the defence and security sector. The toolkit includes:

    • The BI Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Peer Review Process;
    • Tailored Programmes;
    • Education and training activities;
    • Publications.

    The BI Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Peer Review Process

    The BI Programme includes a set of tools available to help countries assess the risk of corruption in their ministries and strengthen good governance. Participation is on a voluntary basis and BI support is tailor-made to meet national needs and requirements. Completing the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) is the first step in the process. Participating countries that decide to take part in the BI programme can, on a voluntary basis, fill it in to get a snap shot of their existing procedures and practices. This diagnostic tool addresses current business practice in the defence and security sector, including:

    • Democratic control and engagement;
    • National anti-corruption laws and policy;
    • Anti-corruption policy in the defence and security sector;
    • Personnel code of conduct, policy, training and discipline;
    • Planning and budgeting;
    • Operations;
    • Procurement;
    • Engagement with defence companies and suppliers.

    While primarily intended for ministries of defence, some participating countries have applied the SAQ to other ministries in the defence and security sector.

    The completed SAQ is forwarded to the International Staff at NATO Headquarters, responsible for conducting the Peer Review and in-country consultations. A NATO-led expert review team puts forward recommendations, which are coordinated with the country in question (as is the composition of the review team). The completed SAQ is reviewed with government representatives in order to understand the current situation, exchange views on best practices and on practical steps to strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity of the defence and security sector. It is strongly recommended that the SAQ and peer reviews be developed with contributions from parliamentarians and the civil society including NGOs, media and academics.  

    A Peer Review Report is then prepared on the basis of the completed SAQ and consultations in capitals. The report identifies good practices as well as recommendations for improvement and action. This is intended to help countries develop a BI Action Plan should they wish to so, making use of existing BI and other NATO mechanisms. They are also encouraged to take advantage of expertise from within their own countries so as to promote transparency and build local capacity.

    Where possible, the BI programme is integrated and aligned with national processes as well as NATO partnership mechanisms, including the Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme, the Membership Action Plan, the Partnership Planning and Review Process, and for Afghanistan, the Enduring Partnership. This also includes identifying opportunities to link with other ongoing programmes such as the Professional Development Programme for Georgia and Ukraine.

    Countries can request BI support without ever being obliged to implement the next phase. The whole process can be conducted on a one-off basis or as part of a repeated cycle.

    Tailored programmes

    Two tailored programmes aiming to meet the specific needs and requirements of the countries concerned were developed by BI: the Tailored BI Programme on South Eastern Europe (SEE) under the auspices of the South Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial process and the Tailored BI Programme for Building Integrity and Reducing the Risk of Corruption in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).  

    Education and training

    Education and training are key to making and sustaining change and to producing long-term benefits. A large spectrum of tailored educational activities addressing subjects such as NATO’s operations and missions and ongoing efforts to contribute to good governance in the defence and security sector can be offered to assist participating countries. These include residence, online and mobile courses; activities organised periodically and others on demand to address special needs, pre-deployment and professional development training; and “train-the-trainers “events. They are aimed at personnel in the defence and security sector (civilian and military) and can be held in different languages. Some courses are organised directly by the Alliance and others by the NATO BI implementing partners.

    The BI Education and Training Plan is developed in cooperation with the NATO Military Authorities and agreed by the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top political decision-making body.

    Working in cooperation with Allied Command Transformation, the NATO International Staff defines the required capabilities and performance competencies to be developed through the education and training activities. The Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector (CIDS, Norway) is responsible of translating operational requirements into education and training objectives with a subject, programme, module and/or course (a NATO BI Programme of Instruction certificated by ACT).


    Publications are regularly produced and distributed by NATO and implementing partners to support the entire process. For instance, Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Defence: a Compendium of Best Practices provides a strategic approach to reducing corruption risks. It focuses on practicalities of designing and implementing integrity-building programmes in defence, while taking into account the cultural specifics of defence organisations.  Building Integrity in Defence Establishment: a Ukrainian Case Study offers the final results of a BI project in the form of a policy paper with practical recommendations for the Ukrainian government on the ways of decreasing the risk of corruption.

  • Implementation

    The BI Programme is developed and managed by the NATO International Staff (IS), in close cooperation with NATO Military Authorities, including the NATO Military Staff as well as Allied Command Transformation, Allied Command Operations and subordinated commands. They meet regularly in the framework of a task force meeting led by NATO IS.

    A network of implementing partners drawn from NATO and non-NATO countries, civil society and other international organisations also contribute to the BI initiative. They provide expert advice, host events and conduct research and analysis.

    • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC, Vienna)
    • Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector (CIDS, Norway)
    • Defence Resources Management Institute (DRMI, USA)
    • EUPOL Mission to Afghanistan
    • Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF, Switzerland)
    • Ministry of Defence, Bulgaria
    • Ministry of Defence, Norway
    • NATO School Oberammergau (NSO, Germany)
    • Naval Postgraduate School (NPS, USA)
    • Norwegian Agency for Public Management and Government
    • PfP Training Centre for Governance and Leadership (UK)
    • Turkish PfP Training Centre
    • Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSOTC, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    • Swedish National Defence College
    • Transparency International UK Chapter (TI, United Kingdom)

    The NATO International Staff also work closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the World Bank (Kabul Office) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB, Kabul Office).  Subject matter experts (SMEs) drawn from national civilian and defence ministries, international organisations and civil society also provide advice and take an active role in the development and implementation of all aspects of the BI Programme. 

    The BI Programme is supported by voluntary contributions to a Trust Fund, which is managed by the IS at NATO Headquarters and led by Belgium, Bulgaria, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

    2. Contributions to the BI Trust Fund are used for capacity building within ministries and, according to principles of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are considered as Official Development Assistance.