Committee for Standardization (CS)

  • Last updated: 17 Mar. 2020 16:29

The Committee for Standardization (CS) is the senior NATO committee for Alliance standardization, composed primarily of representatives from all NATO countries. Operating under the authority of the North Atlantic Council (NAC), it issues policy and guidance for all NATO standardization activities. Its mission is to exert domain governance for standardization policy and management within the Alliance to contribute to Allies’ development of interoperable and cost-effective military forces and capabilities.


  • Created in 2001, the Committee for Standardization is responsible for standardization policy and management within the Alliance.
  • The Committee contributes to interoperable and cost-effective capabilities.
  • It reports directly to the North Atlantic Council.

  • Role and responsibilities

    As the senior body responsible for coordinating standardization activities across the Alliance, the Committee for Standardization steers the development of the NATO policy for standardization and monitors its implementation. It facilitates the development, maintenance, management and implementation of NATO standards.

    The Committee provides coordinated advice on overall standardization matters to the NAC, the Alliance’s principal political decision-making body.  It also provides standardization guidance and procedures to all NATO bodies as needed.

  • Working mechanisms

    The Committee for Standardization, comprising delegates from all NATO countries and more than 30 partner countries, meets in full format at least twice a year.  It reaches decisions on the basis of consensus among Allied representatives. If consensus among NATO nations cannot be reached, the issue in question can be referred to the NAC.

    Annual reports to the NAC on progress made in NATO standardization are produced by the Committee, proposing actions as needed. It also presents its objectives for upcoming years.

    The NATO Secretary General is Chairman of the Committee and is represented by two three-star level leaders, acting as permanent Co-Chairmen, namely the Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment and the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee. Partner countries, particularly those in the Interoperability Platform, are actively involved in the Committee’s activities. The Interoperability Platform brings together Allies with partners that have demonstrated their commitment to reinforce their interoperability with NATO.

  • Evolution

    The NATO Standardization Agency evolved from the merger of two separate standardization bodies, one military and one civilian.

    The Military Standardization Agency was established in London in 1951 and was renamed the Military Agency for Standardization later the same year. It moved to Brussels in 1970. In 1995, the Office of NATO Standardization was created by the NAC as part of the Alliance’s International Staff to address broader standardization issues.

    After a review of NATO standardization between 1998 and 2000, the two bodies were merged into one, creating the NATO Standardization Agency as the staffing element of the new NATO Standardization Organization. The Committee for Standardization was created in 2001 to oversee the work of the NATO Standardization Organization.

    In 2014, as part of the NATO Agencies reform to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, Allied defence ministers created the NATO Standardization Office with a Director elected by NATO’s Military Committee and appointed by the NATO Secretary General.  In that decision, they dissolved the NATO Standardization Organization and the Agency.  Accordingly, they directed the Committee for Standardization to propose new terms of reference.  Those revised terms of reference were approved by the NAC in 2014.