NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS)
The NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) is intended to combine and automate the planning, tasking and execution of all air operations at the tactical level.
In 2014, NATO ACCS will start to replace a wide variety of NATO and national air defence and air command and control systems currently fielded across the Alliance. For the first time, NATO ACCS will provide a unified air command and control system, enabling NATO and the nations to manage all types of air operations both over NATO European territory and when deployed out of area. NATO ACCS will integrate air mission control, air traffic control, airspace surveillance, airspace management and force management functions among other functionalities.
NATO ACCS comprises cutting-edge technology and makes full use of up-to-date data link communications. Using an open-system architecture, the system is designed to make it easier to add functionality, make necessary upgrades and address emerging operational requirement, such as theatre missile defence. It also means that the Alliance is not dependent on a single contractor and so encourages competition among vendors. This way NATO ACCS will be able to adapt to a changing operational environment and play a key role within the Alliance’s military doctrine of network-centric warfare as it will allow improved information-sharing and shared situational awareness to distributed sites in order to support collaboration on robust networks.
The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is responsible for procuring NATO ACCS and for delivering it to the operational community.
The Air Command and Control (C2) Programme Office and Services (PO&S) of the NCI Agency, headed by a director, was created from a number of previous NATO bodies as a consequence of the NATO Agencies Reform in 2012. The reorganisation is part of an ongoing NATO reform process which 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.
The Air C2 PO&S has the mandate to oversee NATO’s Air C2 programmes and is composed of experts from NATO nations, the majority of whom have backgrounds in the following disciplines: defence procurement, software and systems engineering, operations, logistics, quality assurance, configuration management, communications, test and evaluation, information technology, information security. The Air C2 PO&S is presently located both on the NATO Headquarters compound in Brussels, Belgium and in Glons, Belgium.