The NATO Agencies are established to meet collective requirements of some or all Allies in the field of procurement, logistics and other forms of services, support or cooperation.
Although NATO organisations and agencies are autonomous, they are required to follow the terms set out in their charters.
NATO Agencies reform
The NATO Agencies reform activity is part of an ongoing NATO reform process, which is also examining changes to the military command structure. The reform aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of capabilities and services, to achieve greater synergy between similar functions and to increase transparency and accountability.
At the 2010 Lisbon Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to reform the 14 existing NATO Agencies, located in seven member countries. In particular, Allies agreed to streamline the agencies into three major programmatic themes: procurement, support and communications and information.
In July 2012, a major milestone was reached, with the creation of four new NATO Organisations, assuming the functions and responsibilities of existing agencies. The reform has been implemented through several phases, to incrementally achieve increased effectiveness, efficiency and cost savings, while preserving capability and service delivery.
NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA), with headquarters in Brussels, providing NATO-wide IT services, procurement and support in areas such as Command and Control Systems, Tactical and Strategic Communications and Cyber Defence Systems.
NATO Support Agency (NSPA), with headquarters in Capellen, Luxembourg, delivering in-service support, maintenance and logistics support for weapons systems, as well as operational logistics and other services for nations and the Alliance as a whole.
NATO Procurement Organisation (NPO) – The North Atlantic Council decided to merge the Procurement and Support Agencies early 2014, reducing the number of new Organisations initially envisaged from four to three. It has postponed the activation of the procurement entity within the NSPA to the time when programmes are actually assigned by the participating countries.
The NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) is to include a Programme Office for Collaborative Science and Technology and a Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation. The STO is headed by a Chief Scientist, based in Brussels, who serves as a NATO-wide senior scientific advisor.
The NATO Standardization Agency (NSA) is being transferred into a NATO Standardization Office (NSO) by 1 July 2014.