The International Staff includes the Office of the Secretary General, seven divisions, each headed by an Assistant Secretary General, and a number of independent offices headed by directors.
The Private Office
The Secretary General heads the IS and has a Private Office that includes a director and staff, the Deputy Secretary General, a Policy Planning Unit and the Council Secretariat.
The IS fulfills a number of roles filled by different divisions:
- Political Affairs and Security Policy Division: this division provides political advice and policy guidance. It has the lead role in the political aspects of NATO's core security tasks, including regional, economic and security affairs, as well as relations with other international organisations and partner countries.
- Defence Policy and Planning Division: this division develops and implements the defence policy and planning dimension of NATO’s fundamental security tasks. This includes defence planning, the Alliance's nuclear policy, defence against weapons of mass destruction and certain aspects of operational planning.
- Operations Division: Operations provides the operational capability required to meet NATO's deterrence, defence and crisis management tasks. Responsibilities include NATO's crisis management and peacekeeping activities, and civil emergency planning and exercises.
- Defence Investment Division: this division is responsible for developing and investing in assets and capabilities aimed at enhancing the Alliance's defence capacity, including armaments planning, air defence and security investment.
- Emerging Security Challenges Division: this division was more recently created to deal with a growing range of non-traditional risks and challenges. It started its work at the beginning of August 2010 and is focusing on terrorism, nuclear issues, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber defence and energy security, as well as NATO’s science programme.
- Public Diplomacy Division: communicating with the wider public is one of NATO’s priorities. The Public Diplomacy Division is responsible for informing different target audiences about NATO's activities and policies through the media, the NATO website, multimedia products, seminars and conferences.
- Executive Management Division: this division manages staff, finances and security standards. It is tasked with ensuring that NATO's IS works efficiently and also provides support to all elements operating at NATO headquarters, including support and conference services, information management and NATO's human and financial resources.
Also within the IS are the NATO Office of Security and the NATO Office of Resources, both headed by a Director; the Intelligence Unit; the Office of the Legal Adviser; the Office of the Financial Controller; and an independent International Board of Auditors.
The NATO Office of Security is a distinct body responsible for coordinating, monitoring and implementing NATO's security policy, for overall security within NATO and for the NATO Headquarters Security Service.
The NATO Office of Resources was created in 2007. Under the direction of the Director, it brings together all IS members working on NATO military common-funded issues, with the aim of reinforcing military common-funded resource management at NATO HQ.