The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency)
The NATO Communications and Information Agency – or NCI Agency – acts as NATO’s principal Consultation, Command and Control (C3) deliverer and Communications and Information Systems (CIS) provider. It also provides IT-support to NATO Headquarters, the NATO Command Structure and NATO Agencies.
NCI Agency delivers advanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) technology and communications capabilities in support of Alliance decision-makers and missions, including addressing new threats and challenges such as cyber and missile defence. This includes the acquisition of technology, experimentation, the promotion of interoperability, systems and architecture design and engineering, as well as testing and technical support. It also provides communication and information systems (CIS) services in support of Alliance missions.
In addition, the Agency conducts the central planning, system engineering, implementation and configuration management for the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) Programme.
NCI Agency also provides co-operative sharing and exchange of information between and among NATO and other Allied bodies using interoperable national and NATO support systems.
The NCI Agency, led by a General Manager, is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It has major locations in The Hague, the Netherlands, and Mons, Belgium, in addition to over 30 offices in Afghanistan and with major customers. The Agency is the executive arm of the NATO Communication and Information Organisation (NCIO), which aims to achieve maximum effectiveness in delivering C3 capabilities to stakeholders, while ensuring their coherence and interoperability, and ensuring the provision of secure CIS services at minimum cost to Allies – individually and collectively.
NCIO is managed by an Agency Supervisory Board (ASB) composed of representative from each NATO nation. The ASB oversees the work of the NCIO. After consulting with the NATO Secretary General, NCIO’s ASB appoints the General Manager of the Agency. All NATO nations are members of the NCIO.
The ASB, which reports to the North Atlantic Council (NAC), issues directives and makes general policy decisions to enable NCIO to carry out its work. Its decisions on fundamental issues such as policy, finance, organization and establishment require unanimous agreement by all member countries.
At the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to reform the 14 existing NATO Agencies, located in seven member states. In particular, Allies agreed to streamline the agencies into three major programmatic themes: procurement, support, and communications and information. 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.
As part of the reform process, the NCI Agency was created on 1 July 2012 through the merger of the NATO C3 Organisation, NATO Communication and Information Systems Services Agency (NCSA), NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A), NATO Battleground Information, Collection and Exploitation System Agency (BICES), NATO Air Command and Control System Management Agency (NACMA), and NATO Headquarters Information and Communication Technology Service (ICTM).