NATO hosts Partners for Familiarization Programme
From 6 to 10 December 2021, Partner Nations visited NATO HQ and SHAPE to participate in the NATO Partner staff officers' Familiarization Programme. Participants were introduced to the structures and roles of both headquarters, and explored NATO-Partner cooperation.
Welcoming the Partner representatives, Major General Francesco Diella, Director of NATO’s Cooperative Security Division, highlighted the importance of partnerships to NATO: “Cooperation with Partners is important and crucial if we want to address global challenges together and coherently. This programme offers a great opportunity to exchange and learn from each other, directly at the most relevant level.”
The first part of the Familiarization Programme was held at NATO HQ in Brussels. The schedule focused on the main partnership policy issues as well as existing working tools and mechanisms. Participants discussed a wide range of partner-related topics, such as NATO’s cooperation with Partners after the 2021 Summit, NATO-EU relations, aspects in the fight against terrorism, and diverse aspects of NATO – Partner military cooperation.
The Partner staff officers were also briefed on the role of the Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTEC) as well as on the developments in the various partnership programmes, including the Partnership Staff Post (PSP) programme and the Individually Tailored Partnership Programmes (ITPP). Participants also had the opportunity to discuss existing partnerships with their respective Missions and Delegations to NATO.
Colonel Juan Martinez-Esparza, Deputy Director of the Cooperative Security Division summarised the first part of the programme, highlighting the benefits of holding such an event: “Over the last two days, we have fostered mutual understanding and familiarised our Partners with the way NATO works. Facing these challenges together creates opportunities for a better and more effective cooperation”.
The second part of the programme saw the Partner staff officers head to SHAPE for a series of briefings and practical training. Representatives from the operational headquarters, especially from the Partnerships Directorate, presented the Strategic Command’s organisation and responsibilities, ongoing NATO missions and operations, the Operational Capability Concept as well as partnership cooperation tasks, responsibilities and work mechanisms.
Participants were also able to take part in “on-the-job-training” periods with their respective Partner National Military Representative, and were introduced to the Partnership Cooperation Menu (PCM) and the Partnership Real-time Information Management and Exchange system (e-PRIME).
The Familiarization Programme is one of the highlights of NATO’s military cooperation with Partners, especially this year as this programme was put on hold last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The programme provides Partner staff officers serving in partnership-related posts in NATO, national defence or military institutions with a detailed overview of the Alliance’s outreach programmes and activities.