• Last updated: 11 Mar. 2011 10:31

NATO Internship Programme

NATO Divisions and Views of Interns

Internships are being offered in the following Divisions:

  • Defence Investment Division (DI)

    The Defence Investment Division focuses on the development of military capabilities to enhance the Alliance’s capacity, including armaments planning, integrated air defence, airspace and air traffic management, and command and control.  It contributes to the Nations’ ability to assign to the Alliance forces that are properly equipped and interoperable to undertake the full range of military missions

    The division also includes a programme office that oversees the New NATO Headquarters project, the construction of which is ongoing on Boulevard Leopold III across from the current HQ.

    The Division also plays a significant role in developing cooperation with partner countries in the context of the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, as well as the special relationships with Russia and Ukraine.

    The Division has recently been restructured and consists of a programme Office, three directorates and an independent section:

    • The Headquarters Programme Office oversees the New NATO Headquarters project, and represents NATO with the Host Nation (Belgium) Project Management team.
    • The Aerospace Capabilities Directorate comprises three sections: Space and Air Defence Section, Airspace Management Section and the Missile Defence Section.  It provides policy advice and expertise for the development of capabilities, mainly in the areas of Air and Missile Defence, Space, Airspace and Air Traffic Management, to contribute to the full range of the Alliance’s missions.
    • The Strategy Directorate consisting of two sections: Policy Plans & Partnerships Section and the Capability Delivery Section. This directorate is in charge to enforce overall coherence of the capability deliverables through policies, plans and links with external stakeholders.
    • The C4ISR Capabilities Directorate, currently the NHQC3S with its recent adoption of a revised structure consisting of five Branches, now includes an IS element for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR). This directorate ensures capability coherence across the entire C3 planning.
    • An independent section on Land and Maritime Capabilities responsible for armaments cooperation in the land, maritime and ammunition safety domains. 

    What could an internship at DI be like?

    Thanks to the NATO Internship Programme I worked for 6 months in the Defence Investment Division as an Intern. This work experience gave me the opportunity to gain familiarity with the international defence environment and the working practices of a complex multilateral organization; more importantly, I had the chance of working at NATO in a defining moment of the Alliance because of the launch of the new Strategic Concept and the various reform and rationalization efforts currently taking place at many levels.

    As an Intern in the Armament Directorate of the Defence Investment Division, I supported the work of a joint civil-military team engaged in the end-to-end review and rationalisation of the entities involved in NATO defence planning and capability development. My tasks were to collect, revise, and reformat the different inputs provided by some of  NATO Divisions involved in capability development; to manage and coordinate the consultation rounds with the relevant stakeholders; and to draft, in collaboration with the rest of the team, an interim report to be submitted to the attention of the Private Office. Among my other tasks, I also supported the Armament Directorate’s Executive Office in the organisation and preparation of the meetings of the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) – the senior NATO committee responsible for promoting cooperation between countries in the armaments field. Finally, I had the opportunity of attending some of the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and to prepare speeches, speaking points and presentations for senior DI officers.

  • Defence Policy and Planning Division (DPP)

    The DPP Division has the lead role on the defence-related aspects of NATO's fundamental security tasks. It is organised into two Directorates.

    Major responsibilities:

    • The Defence Policy and Capabilities Directorate deals with the development of Alliance defence policies and strategies,  including pol-mil aspects of defence capabilities, Logistics capabilities, as well as defence cooperation policies with Partners.   It maintains an awareness of major security and defence developments on the international scene, and also has the lead on NATO-European Union cooperation in defence policy and capabilities.

    • The Planning Directorate is responsible for the conduct of NATO Defence Planning, including the development and adoption of force goals and the conduct of regular defence reviews, including the PfP Planning and Review Process for Partners.

  • Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD)

    The world around NATO has changed. The Alliance’s security environment is increasingly diverse, rapidly evolving and unpredictable.  The new Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) is part of NATO’s response to this evolving international environment. The creation of the ESCD underlines the determination to move new, non-traditional security challenges to the fore of NATO’s security agenda, policies and actions. To this end, developing NATO’s ability to anticipate and effectively address new challenges will be central to the future of the Alliance.

    With the aim of addressing emerging security challenges in a crosscutting and comprehensive way, the ESCD is comprised of seven different sections:

    • Counter-Terrorism Section – coordinates counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency related efforts across the Alliance;
    • Cyber Defence Section – leads NATO’s efforts to protect the Alliance against cyber attacks;
    • Energy Security Section – assesses and addresses the threats and risks relating to energy infrastructure and supply, and assists the Alliance’s preparedness and ability to recover;
    • Nuclear Policy Directorate – assists in the development of all matters pertaining to nuclear policy and strategy;
    • Science for Peace and Security & Partnership Cooperation – works to apply best scientific and technical expertise in order to solve security challenges of mutual concern to NATO Allies and partners;
    • Strategic Analysis Capability – helps to anticipate and perform medium term assessments of potential crisis situations and their possible implications for the Alliance;
    • WMD Non-proliferation Centre – promotes a common understanding of challenges posed by WMD and their means of delivery and seeks to enhance cooperation and coordination of all WMD-related defence and political activities at NATO.

    What could an internship at ESCD be like?

    Working as part of the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) is being at the forefront of NATO’s evolving security context.

    As an intern within the division, I was exposed to a wide range of issues pertaining to cyber defence, energy security, WMD, counter-terrorism and the list goes on. My tasks were quite varied – and included everything from designing presentations and developing speaking notes for senior managers, to conducting research and providing analysis for an assessment of a potential security crisis. Be it helping to organise visits, or sitting in on the North Atlantic Council and various committee meetings, the work was cross-cutting and provided a great opportunity to expand my skill-set and work with colleagues around the building (both civilian and military staffs as well as the Nations).

    Moreover, throughout my internship, I was able to get a feel for the bigger picture of what NATO is about, and more specifically, as part of the ESCD, how the Alliance is working to address the emerging security challenges of the 21st century.

  • Executive Management Division (EM)

    The role of Executive Management (EM) is to provide management and support services to the North Atlantic Council (NAC), its subordinate committees and to the International Staff (IS) headed by the Secretary General. EM is organized in four directorates – Human Resources (HR), Information and Communications Technology Management (ICTM), Headquarters Support (HQS) and Financial Resources (FR). Each of the directorates provides a wide range of management support and services to the Secretary General and the IS. The management support ranges from medium term financial and workforce planning, to facilities and linguistic support and information technology services including enterprise applications and cyber-defense. The staff expertise in EM covers financial and human resources, management, technology management (from software development to architecture management) , linguistic skills, building management and general management know-how.

    What could an internship at EM be like?

    Due to the wide range of responsibilities of EM an internship with the Division offers the opportunity to apply and develop management skills as well as specific technical skills. Interns work on specific projects, generally reporting to senior staff and have the opportunity to interact with the policy making and operational Divisions or NATO HQ. Recent interns worked on enterprise application implementation projects (information management, resource planning), designing new office space, participated in the development of new human resources policies, help establish a diversity program and participated in the development of a staff performance management process. Executive Management internships are as challenging as the internships in the other NATO HQ divisions. Interns have the opportunity to apply their financial and resources management skills and technology experience while interacting and supporting the policy making process. Senior managers include interns in their meetings to allow them to observe the decision making process and help them prepare for future professional challenges. In sum, internships in EM are a hands-on experience where substantial responsibilities are given to the interns for their projects.

    EM Human Resource (HR) Policy, intern's point of view:

    My internship began on the 4th of October 2010. I settled in quickly thanks to the experience and motivation of the team. My first week involved research work on current and future projects assigned to the section as well as understanding the type of work which was to be expected from me, and more importantly how NATO operates in setting up HR policy work.

    After a few weeks, my manager assigned a project to me for which I had almost full responsibility. The outcome of the project was to set up a directive on how a specific allowance had to be implemented at NATO. This required a significant amount of research on the subject, a lot of coordination with the various stakeholders and the drafting of the directive itself. The final version of the directive is now with the Legal Office for endorsement. In addition to this project, I have also assisted my manager in his daily work, giving legal advice on different HR topics and writing and/or amending policies and directives.

    I have been very lucky to be at NATO at an extremely important and exciting time of change. NATO is currently going through major reform, which impacts on the responsibilities of the section, in particular regarding the regulatory framework on reorganisation and on staff's employment and regulations.

    Being involved in these projects has given me the opportunity to understand how work is conducted at NATO in general and more specifically how HR operates in setting up policy and implementation work.

    In general, my internship with NATO has been extremely rewarding. I have been able to learn a lot and to acquire new skills and experience thanks to my participation in the various projects that my section entrusted me with and for which I am extremely grateful.

    EM ICTM ERP intern's point of view:

    My internship with the Information Communication and Technology Management Directorate of EM gave me the opportunity to be a part of a major enterprise software procurement process. During my six months at NATO HQ I become familiar with the business operations of the organization, performed process analysis and was responsible for developing content for the internal website of one of the major enterprise application implementation projects. With my background in International Business and Finance I was a perfect for for Executive Management which covers all business functions of NATO HQ. For my project I had the opportunity to work with an international team but I was also able to observe North Atlantic Council (NAC) meetings, attend guest speaker conferences, visit European Organizations and SHAPE, NATO's military HQ. NATO gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain professional experience while learning and observing the inner workings of an international organization

    What could an internship in the Translation Service be like?

    Using the latest computer-assisted translation tools, the International Staff Translation Service provides translation between the two official languages of the Organization, French and English, to the NATO Secretary General, the North Atlantic Council and over one hundred committees. Translation interns with French or English mother tongue benefit from systematic revision of their work by revisers and experienced translators, are taught how to exploit terminology in texts and how to use CAT tools. Other interns with an IT profile are able to gain valuable professional skills in CAT tools and be involved in all IT-related projects within the Service.

    My internship with the Translation Service was a great way to complement the university training I received in specialized translation. It helped me understand how a high-level translation service worked and taught me to work as part of a team alongside experienced colleagues, who guided me, supported me and passed on their knowledge to me. Over the course of the six months, I was able to hone my skills and feel fully part of the Service. In fact, I was offered a temporary contract at the end of the internship and have been regularly performing translation assignments for NATO since then.

  • New Headquarters Project Office (HQPO)

    The New Headquarters Project Office (HQPO) is part of the Defence Investment Division. It is responsible to the Nations of the North Atlantic Alliance for the programme management for the New NATO Headquarters. The HQPO provides an interface between the political oversight of the project, provided by the Nations, and day-to-day project management which will be provided by the Host Nations, Belgium and NATO’s C3 Agency.

    The HQPO will oversee the design, construction and delivery of a new NATO Headquarters in Brussels; represent the interests of the users (Nations, NATO Staffs and Agencies); and will have a key role in assisting with the  transition from the current HQ to the new building. 

    Major Responsibilities

    The New Headquarters Project Office, through the Director, will :

    • advise the Secretary General and other senior officials, through the Assistant Secretary General, Defence Investment (ASG-DI) on progress at all key stages of the project (design, construction, delivery and occupation);
    • ensure that the project adheres to the critical path and that its realization is both on schedule and within the overall budget;
    • ensure that the guidelines (including resources) which are agreed by Nations are observed in the detailed management of the project and that issues requiring strategic decisions are sent forward to Nations in a timely manner;
    • negotiate NATO’s direct interests with the users of the new Headquarters (Nations, Staffs and Agencies); the Host Nation and its Concept Design Team (CDT) and Construction Contractor(s) on possible changes to requirements and specifications and on the distribution of space and geographical location in the new NATO Headquarters;
    • through it's ICT PMO, coordinate the efforts of the Host Nations integrating the Information, Communication and Technologies aspects of the new Headquarters Project into the overall project;
    • lead and manage a team of NATO personnel, reinforced by the services of external technical consultants, as and when required;
    • keep the user community and Nations informed on the progress of the project through the use of modern communication means.

    HQPO Staffing

    The HQPO has a core staffing of 16 people. This is split between executive, administrative and technical functions. This staffing may be adjusted based on the needs of the project, through consultation or reinforcement as needed to ensure proper management of the project.

    Inter-relationships

    The HQPO has many essential inter-relationships :

      within the NATO Staff:

      • though part of Defense Investment Division, the HQPO also works closely with other Staff elements, in particular Executive Management Division, including Human and Financial Resources; Construction & General Services and Financial Control;
      • through ASG-DI, the HQPO also works closely with the Private Office (when wider political guidance is required);
      • the New HQ project will impact on the whole NATO population. As design elements are refined, increased contact will be essential with all IS and IMS Divisions as well as National Delegations and Agency occupants of the new Headquarters;
      • the HQPO will also foster a proactive working relationship with the International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN), which audits the development of the project at all stages.

      with Nations:

      • the HQPO maintains a daily, detailed interface with the Host Nation of Belgium, which through its Project Management Team (PMT) will conduct the ongoing management of the project, including Design and Construction contracts.
      • through its ICT PMO - maintain daily detailed interface with the ICT Host Nations Project Management Teams who conduct the ongoing design and implementation of ICT projects within the overall HQ project;
      • the HQPO keeps Nations fully advised of progress, and seeks approval of nations for project requirements and resources through the Deputies Committee (DPRC). The Committee  is effectively the governing body for the New NATO HQ Programme.

    What could an internship at HQPO be like?

    'Being part of the HQPO team as an intern was an incredible experience. The team is very professional and they are always available to help.

    As most of us came from a technical background (engeneering, architecture, ICT) it is very interesting experiencing the project management of one of the biggest construction sites taking place in Europe. My personal experience allowed me to take contact to Acad drawings, 3d models, technical specifications, space planning, requirements management and other exciting tasks.

    Apart from that, the multi cultural environment and the different Speacker Series make the internship more complete both professionally  and personally.

    The most incredible feeling is that every experience counts and since the first moment you are part of the team.'

  • NATO Office of Resources (NOR)

    The NATO Office of Resources (NOR), within the International Staff (IS) at NATO Headquarters advises and supports the Resource Policy and Planning Board (RPPB), Budget Committee (BC), Investment Committee (IC)  (where all Allies are represented), other Divisions within the IS and various NATO bodies on the planning and allocation of military common funding for NATO’s integrated command structure, operations and missions, and strategic capabilities. NOR supports political level negotiation on resource policy, and makes recommendations to resource committees on the efficient use of common funded resources to achieve NATO objectives. NOR’s core function is to assess the eligibility of military requirements for common funding, review the proposed technical solutions, and analyse life-cycle resource implications, viability and policy compliance.

    The NOR consists of the Office of the Director and three main branches:

    Plans & Policy Branch

    • Provides integrated Plans & Policy staff expertise and support across the three resource committees (Resource Policy and Planning Board, Budgets committee and Investment Committee) on eligibility and affordability;
    • Improves coordination with other policy boards and other Divisions within IS.

    Management & Implementation Branch

    • Provides integrated staff and engineering expertise and support across RPPB, BC and IC on NATO-wide C3, Air C2, Alliance Operations, and Strategic Capabilities issue;
    • Has the lead role on Capability Implementation.

    Secretariat & Finance Branch

    • The Secretariat Section provides support to the three resource committees. It is responsible for distributing documents, preparing and distributing draft reports, agendas and decision sheets, assistance to the Chair in the conduct of meetings, maintaining records and ensuring follow-up of committee decisions, and organizing committee schedules.
    • The Finance Section maintains programme data and budget records to provide accurate and timely reports on all financial aspects to the resource committees. It screens and maintains financial data, manages NSIP contributions, consolidates financial and budget information and provides inputs for medium term planning.
    • The Governance Section provides central coordination and guidance to the Financial Controller community with respect to NATO accounting and financial policy.

    NOR leads International Staff (IS) efforts to modernise existing information systems and business practices to improve the timeliness and quality of financial information used in decision-making and to ensure that management of military common funding reflects best practices in public finance. The new project portfolio management system CIRIS (Common Funded Integrated Resources Information System) is currently being introduced.  This requires adjusted business processes; a permanent outreach and training effort from NOR to the CIRIS user community as well as managing the change process for new business functionalities and changes to existing business functionalities.

  • NATO Office of Financial Control (OFC)

    What could an internship at OFC be like?

    The Office of Financial Control (OFC)is responsible for the call-up of funds and the control of expenditures within the framework of the Civil and Military Budgets and in accordance with NATO's Financial Regulations. Being an Intern with the OFC entails working closely with many people from different Finance Units and gaining insight into the Budget and Treasury as well as Internal Control Services. Due to my financial background my daily responsibilities also extend to arranging payments against invoices and executing budget commitments.

    Further to this, I have been involved in the closure of several of NATO's Trust funds and handled mission reimbursements. I regularly attended management meetings and working groups and was responsible for writing the minutes and subsequent meeting reports. In addition to this, I carried out research in a variety of areas, most significantly participating in the working group which prepared a new travel policy for NATO staff going abroad on mission. My responsibilities included weekly meetings and researching the policies of other international organizations in order to establish the best practices to implement in the policy being created.

  • Office of the Legal Adviser (OLA)

    The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) is an independent office which acts as the custodian of the rules governing the activities of NATO and provides legal advice to the Secretary General, the Private Office, the International Staff and the Committees on legal issues relating to NATO activities, procedures, operations, rules and provisions.

    Legal advice is given on the legal status of the Organisation and the Secretary General; North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved operations and missions, negotiation of international agreements, cooperation activities (such as PfP, MD, ICI etc.), the enlargement process, relations with the Host Nation or third States and other international organisations, personnel, contract and procurement issues.

    OLA also represents the Organisation before its Administrative Tribunal, is an observer at the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law of the Council of Europe (CAHDI) and takes part in other relevant professional and academic fora. OLA works closely with the Legal Offices of the two Supreme Military Commands as well as subordinate Military Headquarters and NATO civilian agencies.


    What is it like to work as an intern for the Office of the Legal Adviser (OLA)?

    The NATO Office of the Legal Adviser is an independent and dynamic office which is daily involved in a broad range of issues. Its work includes all issues arising at NATO Headquarters, from negotiation of international agreements to representing management in personnel matters. It consists of several legal advisers from different nationalities with general and specific legal expertise.

    As an intern, you will get the opportunity to work closely with every one of them and learn from their expertise and gathered experience in and outside the organization.

    In general, throughout the course of the internship, you will be assigned with very diverse projects, depending on the needs of the office. More specifically, next to doing relevant research related to past, pending and upcoming issues, you will be asked to provide (ad hoc) legal input on - for example - (draft) agreements and current (news) issues, write memos and background papers, attend meetings (with occasional minute taking / direct reporting…) and sporadically attend a seminar, mainly related to the general or specific needs of the office at that time.

    Next to direct contact with project-related relevant authorities within the organization, as it is not the only legal office within NATO as a whole, you might also collaborate closely with legal advisers from the IMS, SHAPE, ACT SEE etc.

    If you show initiative and a proactive attitude, you will get the opportunity and freedom to work on projects which are closely related to your personal field of interest, or which catch your attention ‘while in the field’.

    As an intern with a legal background (LL.M.), I found the experience in this office a great way to get a better understanding of the operating of NATO as a political as well as military alliance consisting of 28 Member States and many partners, as an international actor and as a full-fledged international institution.

  • Council Secretariat – Office of the Secretary General (OSG)

    The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) is an independent office which acts as the custodian of the rules governing the activities of NATO and provides legal advice to the Secretary General, the Private Office, the International Staff and the Committees on legal issues relating to NATO activities, procedures, operations, rules and provisions.

    Legal advice is given on the legal status of the Organisation and the Secretary General; North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved operations and missions, negotiation of international agreements, cooperation activities (such as PfP, MD, ICI etc.), the enlargement process, relations with the Host Nation or third States and other international organisations, personnel, contract and procurement issues.

    OLA also represents the Organisation before its Administrative Tribunal, is an observer at the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law of the Council of Europe (CAHDI) and takes part in other relevant professional and academic fora. OLA works closely with the Legal Offices of the two Supreme Military Commands as well as subordinate Military Headquarters and NATO civilian agencies.

    The Council Secretariat (CONSEC) is part of the Secretary General’s Private Office at NATO HQ. Its main role is to support the North Atlantic Council's  work at all times, taking care of organizational arrangements for meetings at Ambassadorial and Ministerial level.

    As an intern in the Council Secretariat (CONSEC) one becomes part of the team whose central role within the Secretary General’s Private Office is to support the North Atlantic Council in its day-to-day work and to organise all meetings at Ambassadorial and Ministerial level.  Interns in CONSEC acquire unique and close-up insights into high-level diplomacy involving a broad range of Alliance issues, and develop excellent diplomatic and problem-solving capacities as well as analytical, organisational and drafting skills. 

    Tasks of interns have included:

    • Providing an overview of the work of subordinate committees tasked by the North Atlantic Council;
    • Assisting in the co-ordination of high-level meetings within HQ or offsite, by providing administrative and logistical support;
    • Preparing the meetings, liaising with the relevant divisions and Allied or Partner Delegations, as well as other International Organisations;
    • Carrying out ad hoc research on event-related topics or general Council-related matters;
    • Drafting documents such as memos and speaking notes, and taking notes at meetings and preparing minutes.

    What is it like to work as an intern for the Council Secretariat ?

    As an intern in CONSEC I had the opportunity to take part in preparations for the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, and gained insight into how such a large-scale event at the highest political level is orchestrated. Observing the diplomatic, administrative, protocol and logistical aspects of a NATO Summit alongside the political discussions provided me with invaluable experience I could not have gained through academic studies. 

    In addition, I was involved in organizing regular meetings of the North Atlantic Council (NAC), which is the primary political decision-making body of NATO. The existence of many critical aspects inherent to these meetings, ranging from the circulation of the agenda to participation to seating arrangements to the preparation of minutes, has significantly developed my attention to detail. 

    Overall, I can say that being an intern in CONSEC provides a truly unique opportunity to observe the NATO Secretary General as well as member states’ ambassadors and ministers in action, enriching my understanding of Alliance politics.

  • Operations Division (OPS)

    Operations will provide 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.

    The Division consists of two Directorates: the Planning Directorate and the Operations Directorate.

    The ASG/Operations has two deputies, with the following responsibilities between them for:

    • Crisis Management, deterrence and defence operations
    • Peacekeeping
    • Civil emergency planning
    • Council exercises
    • Situation Center

    What could an internship at OPS be like?

    Working as an intern for NATO’s Operations Division means experiencing firsthand the implementation of Alliance security and defence policy.

    Today, the evolving international security environment continues to produce a variety of threats to allied nations.  As NATO transforms its role as a political-military institution, operations have become an indispensable component.

    Safeguarding the security of its citizens in Europe and North America obligates the Alliance to conduct operations not only in the so-called Euro-Atlantic area but also in regions far away from its own territory.  From supporting stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan to conducting counter-piracy activities off the Horn of Africa, NATO operations employ the vast array of allied capabilities to augment international security.

    Having access to detailed information regarding different operations and observing the decision-making process from inside NATO Headquarters provides the OPS intern the unique opportunity to learn about the challenges facing NATO in the 21st century and how the alliance deploys political and military resources to manage crisis situations.

    Daily responsibilities entail attentive monitoring of significant current events in NATO areas of operations, such as Afghanistan, the Balkans, Iraq and Africa.  By reviewing daily political-military reports, communicating with fellow staff officers and evaluating open sources, the intern’s task is to inform key Operations decision-makers with an updated overview of the security environments, an integral component to formulating allied policy.

    Furthermore the intern supports their section in attending senior-level meetings, drafting memos and reports for distribution throughout the headquarters, and participating in seminars regarding NATO processes and policy.  Tasks often require both individual effort and consultation with staff officers from different member countries willing to share their invaluable expertise, often under very tight deadlines.

    An assignment with the Operations Division constitutes a challenging opportunity in a stimulating work environment.  Ultimately, the experience will fully utilize and develop your analytical and professional skills, making it an unrivaled preparation for any career aspirations.

  • Political Affairs and Security Policy Division (PASP)

    The Political Affairs and Security Policy Division (PASP) acts in many respects as a Foreign Ministry for NATO. In close coordination with other divisions, PASP provides political advice and policy guidance for the Secretary General regarding internal, regional, economic and security affairs. Furthermore, the Division handles the Alliance’s numerous relations with partner countries and with other international organisations. PASP itself is organised into several sections dealing with: Arms Control and Coordination, NATO and Multilateral Affairs, Russia and Ukraine Relations, Euro-Atlantic Integration and Partnership, Mediterranean Dialogue & Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Cooperation Policy & Programmes, and Defence and Security Economics.   


    What could an internship at PASP, DSED be like?

    My first task as an intern in the Defence and Security Economics Section of the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division (DSE/PASP) was to set up a one day workshop with international experts on the impact of the financial crisis on defence budget expenditures. This workshop gathered high-level experts from defence institutes, think tanks and international financial organisations (IMF, OECD…). The discussions aimed at finding concrete solutions for collaboration and pooling in the defence sector. All the experts stressed the importance of deepening defence collaboration in order to maintain strategic capabilities despite necessary cuts in defence budgets. Following this workshop, I drafted a report to the Private Office (PO) stating the aims, the participants and the valuable outcomes of such events.

    In addition to these activities, I worked on improving NATO’s relations with international financial organisations like the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD. We were responsible for organising expert briefings to the OPC (Operations Policy Committee) and the PPC (Political Partnerships Committee) on specific economic issues. The last briefing we organised was with the Deputy-Director of the World Bank Afghanistan on the Kabul Bank Crisis. We prepared a paper on the impact of the Kabul Bank crisis on Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development process.

    I am also helping some members of my team for the Afghan First and the Building Integrity project. These projects aim at promoting good practices and reducing the risk of corruption in the defence sector.

    The experience you get while being at NATO is truly unique. You get to work with highly motivated people from various backgrounds on interesting subjects.

    What could an internship at PASP, RUUK section be like?

    For the past 6 months I have been working with the Russia and Ukraine Relations Section (RUUK), which coordinates NATO’s relations and cooperation with these two important partners. As part of its responsibilities, RUUK supports the work of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) and the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC), which are the main forums for consultation between Allies, and Russia and Ukraine. Even as an intern, my tasks have been very similar to those of a junior staff officer. For example, I regularly prepare files and documents for NRC or NUC committee and ministerial meetings including decision sheets, reports, and speaking notes. Additionally, I attend and often participate in other NATO meetings that involve files relevant to our Section and/or Division and offer written and oral briefings to other members of PASP when necessary.

    Other tasks of mine have included contributing to a daily newsletter that is circulated NATO-wide regarding Russia, Ukraine and the CIS using open source materials; writing analytical memos on relevant developments in Russia and Ukraine and explaining their implications for NATO; providing other sections and divisions with inputs for requested checklists; and delivering briefings on NATO-Russia and NATO-Ukraine relations to visitor groups. This list is not exhaustive. In PASP, there is always work to be done whether administrative, analytical, or operational.

    Interning with PASP has been a rewarding experience. The atmosphere is exhilarating, the work is substantive, and the Division offers interns the opportunity to fully immerse themselves. If you have an interest in seeing how NATO policy is made first-hand, I highly recommend applying for a position with PASP.

  • Public Diplomacy Division (PDD)

    Our common vision

    “We strive to be the best-in-class international organization in engaging and communicating with the public. Our activities and services are key to building an enhanced understanding in our publics about NATO’s values and policies. We want to build a truly integrated and focused communications approach and become better in telling NATO’s stories through multiple tools and to multiple audiences.”

    Our three key roles

    • Communicating and engaging with the public
      First and foremost, the Division plays a pivotal role in engaging with multiple audiences in explaining NATO's policies and activities to publics worldwide. The division works to raise NATO's profile and to bring NATO's achievements into public knowledge and debate. We do this by
      • People-to-people engagement, especially in Allied and partner countries
      • Mass communication, image-building and branding
      • 24h media operations
    • Promoting security cooperation
      The second key role of the Division is to promote security cooperation, dialogue and partnerships with all Public Diplomacy means and tools. That way, the Division also contributes to a continuous process of international security debate and policy creation.
    • Coordinating NATO's strategic communications activities
      Last but not least, the Division also acts as lead coordinator for all strategic communication activities across all NATO civilian and military bodies and harmonizes all of public diplomacy activities undertaken by other entities belonging to the NATO structure.

    What could an internship at PDD be like?

    As I had a background in journalism and editing I did my internship in the Corporate Communications Section of the Public Diplomacy Division. It is a team that I enjoyed working with and felt very welcome in. I was given responsibility for tasks, the room to offer ideas and be listened to, allowed to develop projects that played to my strengths as a writer, as well as working across many of NATO's divisions with people from various backgrounds. I had a variety of tasks and projects including developing an exhibition, producing a DVD and video stories, writing stories and in-depth briefings as well as more historical research in the archives, all of which taught me something. I came to NATO to get a better understanding of how the organization worked, who made decisions, when, how and why, and I think the internship in PDD gave me a chance to get involved with the Alliance on an intimate level in the run up to the Lisbon Summit and try to answer all those questions.

  • NATO Communications and Information Organisation (NCIO)

    The NATO Communications and Information Organisation (NCIO) is one of NATO’s biggest Organisations, established in 2012 to connect forces, NATO and Nations, by providing interoperable Communications and Information systems and services, including Cyber Defence functions. The NCIO is a key pillar of NATO Secretary General’s Smart Defence and Connected Forces initiatives.

    The NCIO is composed of the NATO Communications & Information Agency (NCIA) and its governing body, the Agency Supervisory Board (ASB). The ASB, composed by representatives of each NATO nation, is responsible for organisational governance of the NCIA. Organisational governance is the mechanism by which NATO directs, administers and controls the NCIA, and enables it to accomplish its mission. Through its governance, the ASB ensures efficiency, accountability and transparency of the NCIA by providing guidance and strategic direction, and by monitoring its performance. The ASB is the sole entity reporting to the North Atlantic Council on behalf of the NCIO.

    The ASB is supported by an Independent Secretariat, which assists the Chairman and ASB Members and provides an interface with the Agency to nations. A part from national representatives, the Independent Secretariat engages with a number of other stakeholders, including NATO Senior Policy Committees and the NATO International Staff and International Military Staff. The Intern will work at the NCIO Independent Secretariat, and thus at the interface between NATO nations and the NCIA.

  • Office of Shared Services

    NATO is embarking on an ambitious plan, as part of NATO Agencies Reform, to design and put in place a shared services environment to provide support services in HR, Finance, General Procurement and IT to all NATO agencies and NATO Headquarters.  To lead the development of the detailed design for shared services and the agreed implementation plan, an Office of Shared Services has been established.  As an intern, depending on the time you will join, you will be working on one or more of the following deliverables/work-streams:

    • Shared Services Detailed Design.  Project planning and reporting. Develop the shared services Standard Operating Model (defining activities that will move into a shared services environment and activities that will have to stay with the retained organization).  Define the delivery model for the shared services operation (who will provide what services from where).  Organizational design to support the shared services design.  Legal and regulatory implication for implementing shared services.  Communications and change management. Enabling Technology requirements. Service Management Framework (Service Level Agreement, charging mechanism, Key Performance Indicators, etc.). Migration Strategy (defining the sequence of the go-lives in the shared services environment and the methodology to execute it).  Financial business case to determine current and future costs, upfront investments needed, payback period, etc.
    • Shared Services Implementation.  Project planning and reporting. Knowledge transfer planning, execution and monitoring.  Develop detailed job description for the shared services operation and the retained organization. Communications and change management. Review and support the development of desktop procedures . Prepare for cut-over.  Support stabilization.
  • NATO Office of Security (NOS)

    The NATO Office of Security (NOS) is responsible for the overall coordination of NATO security among Member, Partner and Mediterranean Dialogue nations and NATO civil and military bodies. In this connection it is responsible for ensuring the correct implementation of NATO security policy NATO wide.  

    The NOS is divided into  four  Branches, Policy Oversight (POB), Security Intelligence (SIB) , Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit (TTIU)  and Protective Security (PRB).

    What could an internship at NOS be like?

    I am 25 years old and I am Spanish. I studied two Master degrees in Political Sciences and Administration, and Law School.

    During my internship at NATO I was seconded to the NATO Office of Security in the Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit for 6 months. In this division I had the chance to contribute to products by conducting research on current affairs of NATO interest from a security point of view,  and I was also assigned my own projects under the direction of my supervisors. The opportunity of working daily surrounded by highly qualified specialist in the security field was very rewarding, enabling me to see developments in international relations from a new perspective.

    This experience had provided me not only with a wider and deeper view of NATO’s mechanisms and work methods as an International Organization, but also has provided me with an inside view of the role NATO plays in promoting security in the World.

    But this internship has not only allowed me to develop as a professional in a multicultural environment, but has also contributed to my personal growth, forging a new network of friendships that is sure to be enduring.