Consultation, Command and Control Board (C3B)
NATO’s C3 Board is the senior multinational policy body in the area of Consultation, Command and Control (C3), reporting to and advising the North Atlantic Council and Defence Planning Committee on all C3 policy matters. C3 focus areas are information sharing and interoperability, which include issues such as cyber defence, information assurance and joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Against a backdrop of fast-changing technology and the need to develop capabilities to better tackle emerging security threats, work in the area of Consultation, Command and Control (C3) is more important than ever. It provides NATO with cost-effective, interoperable and secure capabilities to ensure timely and high-level political consultation, and command and control of military forces.
For example, a number of communications and information systems link up NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Military Command Structure headquarters, national capitals and national military commands. The system also provides for secure connection to facilitate consultation with NATO’s partner countries.
Role, responsibilities, main participants
The C3B is responsible for policy and technical advice on a wide variety of communications, information services and security matters. It is the senior multinational C3 policy body, acting on behalf of and advising the North Atlantic Council and Defence Planning Committee on all C3 policy matters, including the interoperability of NATO and national C3 systems. The Board establishes and ensures the fulfillment of strategic objectives, policies, plans and programmes for an effective and secure NATO-wide C3 capability.
The Board also advises the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD), which brings together the national officials of NATO and Partner countries responsible for defence procurement.
The C3B is composed of senior national representatives from capitals, representatives of NATO’s Military Committee and Strategic Commanders, and NATO committees with an interest in C3. It is chaired by NATO’s Deputy Secretary General and has a Permanent Chairman (the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment) and two Co-Vice Chairmen (Director of the NATO HQ C3 Staff, and an elected individual from national nominees).
The C3B meets twice a year to set strategic objectives, evaluate progress and elaborate policy. National C3 Representatives (NC3REPs), which act on behalf of and with the delegated authority of the Board, meet regularly as the C3B in Permanent Session. In addition to their formal meetings, the NC3REPs gather in different formats, such as in Military Committee, Partnership and ISAF sessions, to elaborate C3 specific advice in these areas. The C3B in Permanent Session focuses on monitoring the fulfillment of the Board’s strategic objectives. It is also responsible for facilitating the C3B biannual meetings.
The NATO Headquarters C3 Staff (NHQC3S), which consists of about 80 staff members from NATO’s International Military Staff (IMS) and its International Staff (IS) (primarily the Defence Investment Division), also supports the work of the C3 Board. The NHQC3S advises the Military Committee on C3/communication and information system policy standards, products, analysis and capability packages.
The nations, the Assistant Secretary General of Defence Investment and the Director General of the IMS can task the Board to develop C3 related policies and provide recommendations on C3 programmes and requirements.
The C3 Board is supported by a subordinate structure consisting of the following four multinational panels, each focusing on a specialised C3 area:
- Communication and Information Services Capability Panel
- Navigation and Identification Capability Panel
- Civil/Military Spectrum Capability Panel
- Information Assurance and Cyber Defence Capability Panel
The North Atlantic Council created the C3 Board in 1996. It is not yet determined how the ongoing NATO reform may affect the work and responsibilities of the C3B.
As technology and security threats change, so do the C3 needs of the Alliance. At the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, nations agreed to focus on a critical set of capabilities that includes a number of C3 related areas.