Situation Centre (SITCEN)
The NATO Situation Centre (SITCEN) is designed to alert and provide situational awareness to the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the Military Committee (MC) to help them fulfil their respective functions during times of peace, tension and crisis, as well as during high-level exercises. It does this by receiving, exchanging and disseminating information from all possible internal and external sources that are available.
SITCEN’s structure and working mechanism
The SITCEN is uniquely positioned between the International Staff (civilian) and the International Military Staff (IMS) at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium. Its staff consists of both civilian and military personnel.
The NATO Secretary General is responsible – on behalf of the NAC – for the overall policy, general organisation and effective functioning of the SITCEN.
The Assistant Secretary General for Operations is – on behalf of the Secretary General – the senior staff official responsible for the development and control of the SITCEN. Acting on behalf of the MC, the Director General of the IMS is responsible for the coordination of the Centre’s operations together with the Chief of the SITCEN. For day-to-day operations, this role is carried out by the Director Operations, IMS, on behalf of the Director General.
The SITCEN has an Admin Support/Registry office, which is the Centre’s central point for information management and control, training coordination and financial management.
It also has the Watch Staff Support Branch, which is responsible for the receipt, exchange and dissemination of political, economic, terrorist and military information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Watch Staff Support Branch also provides geographic information services to NATO Headquarters and acts as a focal point for GEO matters in support of senior decision-makers, task forces and exercises.
The SITCEN was established in 1968 and has since been restructured to adapt to the demands of the environment in which it functions.