The Connected Forces Initiative
After 2014, NATO is expected to shift its emphasis from operational engagement to operational preparedness. This means NATO will need to remain capable of performing its core tasks - described in its Strategic Concept¹ - and of maintaining its forces at a high level of readiness. To help achieve this, Allied leaders have set out the goal of ‘NATO Forces 2020’: modern, tightly connected forces that are properly equipped, trained, exercised and led. The Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) will help maintain NATO’s readiness and combat effectiveness through expanded education and training, increased exercises and the better use of technology.
After the end of the International Security Assistance Force’s mission in Afghanistan, CFI will build on the Alliance’s experience - including lessons learned from 20 years of operations - to ensure that Allies can work even more effectively together and with partners.
The main requirements of CFI are to ensure that Allies can communicate effectively, practise together, and validate and certify their ability to do so. Three fundamental and inter-related elements will be developed to address these requirements: expanded education and training, increased exercises and a better use of technology.
The NATO Response Force will also play an important role in this context by providing a vehicle both to demonstrate operational readiness and serve as a “test bed” for Alliance transformation.