Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP)

  • Last updated: 12 Dec. 2017 18:10

The Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) is a vehicle for reform, providing tailored practical support to individual countries in developing and reforming their professional military education institutions. Through faculty development, curriculum development and peer-to-peer consultations, the DEEP Programme fosters defence capacity building, cooperative capability development and standardization, and promotes interoperability of processes and methodologies to enhance democratic institutions.


  • The DEEP Programme is demand-driven to meet national needs in support of objectives which are laid out in bilateral partnership cooperation programmes between NATO and individual nations.
  • Expert advice is offered to defence education institutions seeking to become intellectually interoperable with the Alliance.
  • With the support of more than 350 experts from approximately 75 defence education institutions in NATO member and partner countries, DEEP provides host countries with the assistance needed to respond to the most pressing requirements for modernisation and reform.
  • Currently, active tailored DEEP programmes are ongoing in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, Tunisia and Ukraine. Croatia and Mongolia have completed their programmes and a programme in Iraq is on hold due to the current security situation in country.
  • What is the DEEP Programme?

    DEEP works with partner nations to help identify the needs and gaps of education institutions in the defence and military domain. The two main components – curriculum development and faculty development – are bolstered by dialogue between institutions in partner and NATO countries as well as peer-to-peer consultations among subject matter experts.

    Curriculum development – what to teach

    The DEEP Programme works closely with professional military education institutions to assist in the development of specific curricula on virtually any subject requested by the partner nation. To support this work, NATO and the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes (PfP Consortium).

    The PfP Consortium have produced three reference curricula on Defence Institution Building, on Professional Military Education for Officers and on Professional Military Education for Non-Commissioned Officers. Three new curricula are currently being developed on Cyber Security, on Counter-Insurgency and on Counter-Terrorism.

    Faculty development – how to teach

    DEEP features specialised engagement on pedagogy to provide institutions and instructors with access to the latest teaching methods and to support their efforts to foster critical thinking in the classroom.

  • How does the DEEP Programme work?

    When a country requests a DEEP programme, the first step is a visit by a multinational DEEP assessment team to meet in-country with their interlocutors to scope out the potential programme. Based on the assessment visit, the DEEP team creates a proposed action plan, usually with a three-year duration. Once the partner approves the action plan and funding is identified, the DEEP academic lead assembles and allocates the appropriate expertise from a vast transatlantic network of experts that is managed jointly by NATO and the PfP Consortium’s Education Development Working Group.

    Measures of effectiveness

    The level of progress and transformation depends on how much effort education institutions make to operationalise change derived from the conduct of DEEP activities, particularly in the areas of faculty development and curriculum development. Categories of measure of effectiveness varies from country to country and the following are identified as the most relevant: 

    • Adoption of modern teaching methodologies by professional military education faculty;
    • Inclusion of new subject matter in existing course curricula and development of new courses;
    • Adoption of Non-Commissioned Officers’ Education.

    DEEP in numbers

    2013: 85 events, 162 Allied experts, 245 partner country instructors
    2014: 165 events, 309 Allied experts, 352 partner country instructors
    2015: 186 events, 324 Allied experts, 566 partner country instructors
    2016: 252 events, 447 Allied experts, 367 partner country instructors

  • Who contributes?

    Relying on voluntary contributions, NATO steers policy and the PfP Consortium leads on academic support facilitating the network of institutions and individual academics and practitioners who contribute through the PfP Consortium's Education Development Working Group.

    Policy    Academics
    DEEP experts    Education Development Working Group
    NATO International Staff    Faculty Development
    NATO International Military Staff    Curriculum Development
    Allied Command Transformation    Academic Leads


    NATO draws on an ad-hoc network of contributors who offer their services through an annual Clearing House on Defence Education, that serves as a forum for Allies and partners to coordinate efforts and inform institutions and countries about the status of the various DEEP programmes.

    Led by Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States, with the support of the PfP Consortium, the annual Clearing House is an effective tool to identify partner requirements and align them with donor expertise.

  • Milestones

    1994: The launch of NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) Programme allows non-member countries to develop bilateral programmes of cooperation with NATO.

    1999: The launch of the Training and Education Enhancement Programme at the Washington Summit lays the foundation of work with partners in this field of expertise.

    2004: The Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building is agreed at the Istanbul Summit.

    2006: The Education and Training for Defence Reform Initiative is introduced, paving the way for the creation of a new area of cooperation with partners.

    2007: The Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) is launched by NATO and PfP.

    2011: NATO foreign ministers designate defence reform, capability and capacity building, education and training as priority areas.

    2014: The Defence Capacity Building Initiative is launched at the Wales Summit, with DEEP as a supporting element.

    2016: At the Warsaw Summit, Allied leaders decide to enhance NATO’s role in projecting stability beyond NATO’s borders, including through defence education and reform.


  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.