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.
For NATO, standardization is the development and implementation of concepts, doctrines and procedures that aim to achieve and maintain compatibility, interchangeability or commonality needed for interoperability. Interoperabilty – the ability to work in synergy in executing assigned tasks – can greatly increase the effectiveness of NATO’s operations and activities through a more efficient use of resources.
The Committee for Standardization meets twice yearly and reports annually to the NAC on standardization activities. It was created in 2001 to oversee the work of the NATO Standardization Organization, which resulted from the merger of two separate standardization bodies, one civilian and one military.
As the senior body responsible for supervising all standardization activities across the Alliance, the Committee on Standardization steers the development of the NATO Policy for Standardization and monitors its implementation. It helps formulate standardization requirements for NATO’s defence planning and facilitates the implemenation of NATO standards.
The Committee provides coordinated advice on overall standardization matters to the NAC, to which it reports, as well as guidance and procedures to all NATO bodies as needed. It also acts as the Board of Directors for the NATO Standardization Agency, the implementing body for the Alliance’s standardization work.
The Committee for Standardization, comprising delegates from 28 NATO countries and more than 30 partner countries, meets in full format twice a year. It is assisted by National Representatives (CSREPS) with delegated authority, who meet four times a year. The work of the CSREPs focuses on harmonizing standardization activities between NATO and national bodies, and promoting interaction between them in all areas of standardization.
The Committee reaches decisions on the basis of consensus among national representatives. Other representatives have no power of reservation, but have the right to have their views recorded. If consensus among NATO nations cannot be reached, the issue in question can be referred to the NAC.
Normally once a year, the Committee reports to the NAC on progress made in NATO Standardization, proposing actions as needed. It also presents a programme of work for the upcoming year.
The Committee is chaired by the NATO Secretary General, normally represented by two permanent Co-Chairmen, namely the Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment and the Director General of the International Military Staff. Since September 2000, partner countries have become actively involved in the Committee’s activities.
The NATO Standardization Agency evolved from the merger of two separate standardization bodies, one military and one civilian.
The Military Standardization Agency was established in London in 1951 and was renamed the Military Agency for Standardization later the same year. It moved to Brussels in 1970. In 1995, the Office of NATO Standardization was created by the NAC as part of the Alliance’s International Staff to address broader standardization issues.
After a review of NATO Standardization between 1998 and 2000, the two bodies were merged into one, giving birth to the NATO Standardization Agency as the staffing element of the new NATO Standardization Organization. The Committee was created in 2001 to oversee the work of the NATO Standardization Organization.