Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTECs)
Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTECs) are a global network of institutions offering courses and academic seminars to both civilian and military staff from NATO and partner countries. Their goal is to improve the professionalism of national personnel, increase international troop interoperability, and conduct education and training activities related to NATO partnership programmes and policies.
- Launched in 1999, PTECs are one of NATO's key tools for enhancing the stability and resilience of both Allies and partners.
- PTECs are fundamental to NATOs efforts to help partner countries develop efficient and resilient defence institutions. Through a wide range of educational training activities, they contribute to knowledge sharing, capacity building and innovation.
- Currently, the PTEC network comprises 34 centres, with 18 centres based in 13 NATO countries and 16 centres in 14 partner countries.
- PTECs are actively engaged with other international organisations – including the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) – to address potential synergies in the field of training and education, such as the protection of civilians in armed conflict or gender policy.
- All centres are invited to present their activities as well as their training and education efforts during an annual PTECs Marketplace.
Tools and activities
As new emerging challenges worldwide require a coordinated response, NATO sees education and training as one of the best tools to help enhance stability and resilience. By supporting knowledge exchange, interoperability, regional confidence-building, lessons-learned and best practices, PTECs are at the core of the Alliance's cooperative effort to increase the cohesion and readiness of its members and partners.
Sponsored on a national or multi-national basis, PTECs offer a broad spectrum of activities. These range from courses for military and civilian audiences, to seminars and workshops, to platforms of a more operational nature such as field training or providing venues for exercises. Some PTECs also offer Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and Mobile Education Training Teams (METT). These can train personnel from NATO and partner countries in various crucial areas, including the civilian control of the armed forces. All of PTECs activities are open to Allies and partner countries based on the principles of transparency and non-discrimination.
PTECs have proven indispensable for the implementation of NATO’s key partnership programmes, most notably for the Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP), Building Integrity (BI), Defence Capacity Building (DCB) or the Operational Capability Concept (OCC).
Moreover, PTECs play an active part in NATO’s Partnership Cooperation Menu (PCM), an annual catalogue comprised of education, training and other events for Allies and partners across 37 areas of cooperation. PTECs contribute to the PCM on topics like defence reform, protection of civilians in armed conflicts, crisis management, cyber defence, leadership, language training or cultural awareness.
PTECs have also provided pre-deployment training to troops for NATO operations and missions such as the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and Sea Guardian. Moreover, they offered their expertise for missions of other international organisations such as the UN or the AU, including the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Who is who?
Allied Command Transformation (ACT)
ACT bears the overall responsibility for the management of PTECs. By providing guidance and support, it ensures that the quality of education and training offered corresponds to NATO’s standards. ACT collaborates with other bodies on the formal recognition of PTECs and, based on specific criteria, accredits individual Centres and some of their courses.
NATO School Oberammergau (NSO)
The NSO supports and assists with further development mechanisms for cooperation, coordination, information exchange and sharing of lessons learned among all PTECs. Its activities include the co-chairing of the PTEC Commandants Conference and focused Working Groups, which annually align PTECs’ objectives with the changing security landscape and NATO’s current requirements. The School also cooperates with several PTECs on the delivery of specialised education and training, including “Train the Trainer” and “Instructor Exchange” Programmes. While the former offers training of interested participants at NSO, the latter brings experts from one PTEC to another for briefings, lectures and other capacity-building activities.
NATO Headquarters (NATO HQ)
Within NATO HQ, the International Staff’s Operations Division, in cooperation with the International Military Staff’s Cooperative Security Division, acts as a focal point for the PTEC community and ensures that PTECs are informed about NATO’s agenda and partnership priorities. The Division is also in charge of the PTECs Marketplace – an annual event that enables PTECs to present their activities and achievements, and introduce themselves to the wider NATO community. The Operations Division also leads on the recognition process of interested Centres in close cooperation with ACT and NSO.
PTECs approval process
To be formally recognised as a PTEC, a centre’s education and training activities need to fall within the scope of NATO partnership policy and support its objectives. A host country of the candidate centre then needs to submit an application, supported by Military Committee advice when necessary. The final decision is taken by the North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATO’s principal political decision-making body.
Evolution of PTECs
PTECs were originally launched in 1999 under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative to develop education and training activities with Euro-Atlantic partners. In 2008, the network was broadened to include the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) partnership frameworks. Since 2012, the network and its activities have been open to all partner countries.
At their Berlin meeting in April 2011, NATO Foreign Ministers adopted the “Policy for a More Efficient and Flexible Partnership”. This policy reaffirmed the commitment to offer all partners “deeper political and practical engagement with the Alliance, including through support for defence education, training and capacity building, within existing resources”. It also stated NATO’s intention to provide increased support to the development and improvement of education and training capabilities in partner countries. In 2012, the NAC endorsed the Concept for Partnership Training and Education Centres, which created the PTECs network and defined their objectives.
The role of PTECs has been enhanced by NATO’s Education, Training, Exercises, and Evaluation (ETEE) Policy. Under ETEE, PTECs are supporting NATO Education and Individual Training activities by providing expertise in the subject matters of their focus, such as gender inclusion in military operations, peace support operations, and protection of civilian in armed conflicts.
At present, the PTEC network comprises 34 centres, with 18 centres located in 13 NATO countries and 16 centres in 14 partner countries.