Defence and Related Security Capacity Building Initiative

  • Last updated: 23 Mar. 2020 14:51

The Defence and Related Security Capacity Building (DCB) Initiative reinforces NATO’s commitment to partners and helps project stability by providing support to nations requesting assistance from NATO. DCB helps partners improve their defence and related security capacities, as well as their resilience, and, therefore, contributes to the security of the Alliance. It can include various types of support, ranging from strategic advice on defence and security sector reform and institution-building, to development of local forces through education and training, or advice and assistance in specialised areas such as logistics or cyber defence.


  • The DCB Initiative was launched in September 2014 at the NATO Summit in Wales.
  • The Initiative is demand-driven and tailored to the needs of the recipient nations by providing support which reinforces and exceeds what is offered through other existing programmes.
  • The Initiative builds on NATO’s extensive track record and expertise in advising, assisting, training and mentoring countries that require defence and related security capacity building support. It uses NATO’s unique defence expertise to provide and coordinate practical specialised support.
  • Good progress continues on the DCB packages for Georgia, Iraq, Jordan and the Republic of Moldova.
  • At the Brussels Summit in July 2018, Allies approved a DCB package for Tunisia.
  • The packages are implemented with the support of Allies and partners, who provide advisors, trainers and coordinators to work with the recipient countries, and help fund projects. A dedicated DCB Trust Fund is in place, since 2015, to provide financial support to the Initiative.
  • NATO has also received a request for DCB support from Libya.


More background information

  • Cooperation with DCB partners

    NATO has been providing capacity-building through a number of partnership programmes and also as part of its operations and missions. The DCB Initiative enhances this role by allowing NATO to undertake DCB activities in support of partner nations, other non-partner nations or other international organisations.  Any NATO assistance is provided following a specific request by the recipient country – which is then thoroughly assessed and considered by the North Atlantic Council – and relies on mutual political commitment and local ownership. If existing programmes cannot accommodate the request, then the Alliance may consider offering a tailored set of assistance measures – a specific “DCB package”. Five DCB packages have been launched thus far.  Additionally, NATO has received a request for DCB support from Libya.


    The DCB package for Georgia was agreed in 2014 at the Wales Summit and intensified in 2016 at the Warsaw Summit.

    It is provided through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), which includes support in a wide range of areas: the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, the Defence Institution Building School, a logistics capability, acquisitions, Special Operations Forces, intelligence-sharing and secure communications, military police, cyber defence, maritime security, aviation, air defence, strategic communications, crisis management and counter-mobility. The package also includes support and contributions to NATO exercises in Georgia that are open to partners.   

    Since 2014, many projects and advisory activities have been launched in support of the SNGP initiatives.  One of the highlights was the inauguration of the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre in August 2015 by Georgian leaders and the NATO Secretary General. The centre is tasked with strengthening the capacities of the Georgian Armed Forces, as well as improving the interoperability of Georgian and Allied forces and contributing to regional security cooperation. It has conducted many activities since its establishment, and it will play an important role in the upcoming 2019 NATO-Georgia exercise. Another flagship initiative of the SNGP, the Defence Institution Building School, also continues to produce results, running specialised courses.  Other SNGP initiatives also make progress. The strategic and operational planning initiative was completed in 2017.

    At the Brussels Summit in July 2018, the Allies and Georgia declared they would further enhance cooperation, including through the next NATO-Georgia exercise in March 2019, which Allies will support with broad participation. NATO is moving ahead with the establishment of secure communications with Georgia and stepping up support in the area of counter-mobility. Dialogue is ongoing on hybrid threats and resilience, and cooperation in cyber defence may be enhanced to further strengthen interoperability.

    The SNGP is currently supported by all Allies and two partners, who all together provide more than 40 experts, resident or frequently traveling to Georgia. A three-person Core Team in Tbilisi coordinates the implementation of the package.  


    The DCB package for Iraq was agreed in July 2015 following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister. At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, NATO agreed to transfer the training and capacity-building activities inside Iraq based on the request of the Iraqi Prime Minister.  The NATO Training and Capacity Building activity in Iraq currently conduct activities in the following areas: counter-improvised explosive devices (C-IED), explosive ordnance disposal and demining; civil-military planning support to operations; reform of the Iraqi security institutions; technical training on the maintenance of Soviet-era armoured vehicles; military medicine and medical assistance; advice on security sector reform (SSR); and civil-military planning support to operations.

    In-country training started in January 2017 with a “train-the-trainer” focus, aiming primarily to increase the training capacity of Iraq. The activities conducted range from multiple workshops on civilian-military cooperation, train-the-trainer courses to Iraqi instructors, to senior leader’s seminars on C-IED.  In the SSR area, NATO is providing advice to the Iraqi authorities on the transformation and good governance of the defence sector.

    One of the key principles of NATO’s capacity-building activities is to seek complementarity with other international actors. As such, NATO works closely with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, the European Union, the United Nations and individual nations providing support to Iraq. One such example of this are the combined workshops conducted by the international community assisting Iraq’s SSR, which was supported by NATO experts.

    Responding to a request from the Government of Iraq for additional support in its efforts to stabilize the country and fight terrorism, at the Brussels Summit in July 2018, Allies decided to intensify the level of support for Iraq by launching a non-combat and capacity building mission in Iraq. Building on current training activities, the NATO Training Mission Iraq will advise relevant Iraqi officials, primarily in the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the National Security Advisor, and train and advise instructors at professional military education institutions to help Iraq develop its capacity to build more effective national security structures and professional military education institutions.


    The DCB assistance for Jordan builds upon the already extensive level of cooperation between NATO and Jordan through various partnership tools. The initial DCB package agreed in 2014 at the Wales Summit was revised and approved in 2017 reflecting the progress made and addressing the evolving security needs of the Jordanian Armed Forces.

    The package focuses on the areas of information protection, cyber defence, military exercises, C-IED, strategic defence review, personnel management, logistics system, civil preparedness/ crisis management and border security.

    Activities are underway in elements of the package, ranging from courses for Jordanian personnel on C-IED to advice on strategy and capability development in other areas. The support provided on C-IED, cyber defence and exercises has been particularly fruitful.  A Computer Emergency Response Team has been established for the Jordanian Armed Forces, which has a nation-wide responsibility.  Jordan hosted successfully the NATO Regional Exercise 2017 (REGEX 2017), the first NATO exercise held in a Mediterranean Dialogue country. The implementation of the package is supported, inter alia, by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme in the areas of C-IED, cyber defence and border security, as well as the DCB Trust Fund projects, particularly in the areas of logistics (codification) and civil preparedness/ crisis management.

    Republic of Moldova

    Following the commitment made at the 2014 Wales Summit, the DCB package for the Republic of Moldova was launched in June 2015.

    The package will be delivered in two phases. In phase one, which is currently underway, NATO is advising and assisting in the establishment of a national security strategy, national defence strategy, a military strategy and a force structure for Moldova. NATO brings defence reform experts to Moldova on a frequent basis to assist Moldovan authorities as they develop these key political and strategic-level directions and guidance for the defence sector and the development of the armed forces. In parallel to the defence sector reform, NATO has been providing support to Moldova in several specific areas, such as cyber defence, defence education, building integrity and the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

    In phase two, NATO will continue to provide advice and will assist with specific elements of the transformation of Moldova’s armed forces and relevant institutions.


    At the Brussels Summit in July 2018, in response to a request from the Tunisian authorities, Allies approved new DCB assistance measures designed to help further develop their defence capacities in the areas of cyber defence, countering improvised explosive devices, and promoting transparency in resource management. This DCB package will be implemented mainly through education and training activities and the exchange of expertise and best practices, in line with NATO standards.

  • DCB Trust Fund

    The DCB Trust Fund was established in 2015 to provide financial support and resources to implement the DCB Initiatives.  The Trust Fund allows Allies and partners to contribute, on a voluntary basis, to the implementation of projects developed in support of the packages. It has proven to be an important enabler to kick-start DCB activities.  Since the establishment of the DCB Trust Fund, it has facilitated 15 projects and is currently supporting another seven projects.