Civil-military cooperation (CIMIC)

International Military Staff

  • Last updated: 04 Jan. 2011 11:40

Six NATO nations now provide NATO with essential Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) capability. On 15 January 2003, the Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Group North (CIMIC Group North) formally received its status as a NATO International Military Headquarters.

At NATO’s request, it started as a multinational project sponsored by the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland in 2000. CIMIC Group North will provide NATO Commanders with a co-ordinated approach to civil-military expertise, which is of increasing importance during NATO operations. This initiative is a good example of how just a few nations can deliver a scarce capability to NATO.

CIMIC Group North is located in Budel, the Netherlands and will be offer support to all NATO operations. It is functionally attached to Regional Headquarters Allied Forces North Europe (RHQ AFNORTH), and will establish working and training relationships with this Headquarters.

The devise of CIMIC Group North, two hands clasped, represents the co-operation between civilian and military organisations and authorities. Since its establishment it has been very active in focussing on its main priorities to enable full and effective operational capability. Training and education is an important priority in preparing CIMIC personnel for deployment. Tactical CIMIC courses and courses for Functional Specialists are run and a CIMIC operational course is now being developed. Another high priority task is to develop a Centre of Expertise. As Colonel Jan Van den Elsen, Commander of CIMIC Group North says:

“CGN should act as an international CIMIC Centre of Expertise by addressing all issues that are directly or indirectly related to civil-military relations and co-operation. In respect of this knowledge and expertise, CGN can then play a key advisory role, enhancing CIMIC awareness at all civil and military levels.“

In today’s security environment, close co-operation between civilian and military bodies is important for operational success. CIMIC personnel provide both NATO Commanders and civilian institutions with the necessary expertise to create the conditions necessary to bridge the civilian-military gap during crises. Close co-operation between all bodies involved in a post-conflict area is essential to help local authorities rebuild a social fabric and restore normal living conditions for the local population.

The full details of NATO’s policy on Civil-Military co-operation is outlined in a Military Committee document MC 411/1.

This text is not a formally agreed NATO document and, therefore, does not necessarily represent the official views of individual member governments on all policy issues discussed.