Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD)

  • Last updated: 28 Sep. 2016 12:41

The Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) is the senior NATO committee responsible for promoting the cooperation between countries in the armaments field.


  • The CNAD brings together the top national officials responsible for defence procurement in NATO member and partner countries.
  • It is tasked with identifying collaborative opportunities for research, development and production of military equipment and weapons systems.
  • It reports directly to the North Atlantic Council.
  • The CNAD’s tasks

    The mission of the CNAD is to enable multinational cooperation on delivery of interoperable military capabilities to improve NATO forces’ effectiveness over the whole spectrum of current and future operations.

    The CNAD reports directly to the North Atlantic Council – NATO’s principal political decision-making body. It is tasked with identifying collaborative opportunities for research, development and production of military equipment and weapons systems. It is responsible for a number of cooperative armaments projects that aim to equip NATO forces with cutting-edge capabilities. Ongoing projects include Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) and ballistic missile defence.

    The CNAD also plays a key role in the promotion of essential battlefield interoperability and in the harmonisation of military requirements on an Alliance-wide basis. The CNAD identifies and pursues collaborative opportunities and promotes transatlantic defence industrial cooperation.

  • Working mechanisms

    The CNAD and its substructure meet in Allied format, with a significant number of groups also open to partners.

    The CNAD meets twice a year at the level of National Armaments Directors (NADs), under the chairmanship of the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment. During these biannual meetings, the CNAD sets the direction of the Conference’s work and oversees that of the CNAD subordinate structure.

    Overall guidance is provided through the CNAD Management Plan, which translates NATO’s strategic objectives into specific objectives for the armaments community and defines priorities for day-to-day cooperation.

    Regular meetings at the level of the in-house Representatives of the National Armaments Directors (NADREPs) ensure the day-to-day implementation of the CNAD’s objectives.

  • The structure of the CNAD

    The work of the CNAD is prepared and supported by its subordinate committees.

    The Army, Air Force and Naval Main Armaments Groups (MAGs) and their respective subgroups support the work of the Conference and are responsible to it for all activities in their respective fields. Assistance on industrial matters is provided by the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG), enabling the CNAD to benefit from industry’s advice on how to enhance the NATO-industry relationship. The NIAG also assists the Conference in exploring opportunities for international collaboration. Other groups under the CNAD are active in fields such as ammunition safety, system life cycle management, and codification.

    The CNAD provides member, and in some cases partner, countries opportunities to cooperate on equipment and research projects. At the same time, it facilitates exchange of information on national programmes to the benefit of individual countries and to NATO as a whole.

    In 1966, the CNAD was created to provide a flexible and open framework for armaments cooperation within the Alliance. In a changing security environment and in a time of financial austerity, the CNAD is proving its usefulness and adaptability as it continues to facilitate dialogue among nations and foster multinational cooperation in capability development, acquisition and delivery, among others in the framework of Smart Defence and with a view to filling critical capability gaps.