They 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 in any field.
Although NATO organisations and agencies are autonomous, they are required to follow the terms set out in their charters. They benefit from NATO’s tax-exempt status and primarily serve the Alliance and its member states.
NATO Agencies Reform
The NATO Agencies reform is part of an ongoing NATO reform process, which is also focusing on 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 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.
At the beginning of July 2012, the first major milestone in the reform process was reached, when four new organisations were established taking over the functions and responsibilities of NATO bodies.
The reform will be completed in three major phases between July 2012 and end-2014.
- A consolidation phase, where current elements are combined under a single responsibility and executive functions are consolidated;
- A rationalisation phase, where some support structures are closed down; and
- A optimisation phase, where the final goals for effectiveness, efficiency and cost savings are achieved.
NATO Communications and Information Agency
A new NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), with a headquarters in Brussels, will provide general NATO-wide IT services, procurement and support in a number of areas such as Command and Control Systems, Tactical and Strategic Communications and Cyber Defence Systems. The Agency is led by a General Manager and overseen by a governing body of participating nations on an Agency Supervisory Board.
NATO Support Agency
A new NATO Support Agency (NSPA), with headquarters in Capellen, Luxembourg, delivers in-service support, maintenance and logistics support for weapons systems, while also providing operational logistics and other services for nations and the Alliance as a whole. The NSPA is headed by a General Manager and governed by an Agency Supervisory Board representing participating nations.
NATO Procurement OrganisationA NATO Procurement organisation has also been created with the aim of providing a framework for end-to-end management of multinational armaments acquisition programmes, such as Smart Defence projects, new major programmes or elements of existing procurement programmes.
The Organisation will draw from the experience of current multinational procurement agencies such as the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA), NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA), NATO Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Agency (NAMEADSMA), and NATO Airborne Early Warning Programme Management Agency (NAPMA), which will continue to exist until the Agency’s mission is fulfilled or participating nations decide to integrate into the new Organisation.
NATO Science and Technology Organisation
Along side the new agencies, the NATO Science and Technology Organisation has been stood up including 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 adviser.
The current NATO Standardization Agency will continue and be reviewed by spring 2014.