Updated: 2 December 1999 NATO Fact Sheets


2 Dec. 1999

Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI)
December 1999

The objective of the Defence Capabilities Initiative is to ensure the effectiveness of future multinational operations across the full spectrum of Alliance missions in the present and foreseeable security environment with a special focus on improving interoperability among Alliance forces (and where applicable also between Alliance and Partner forces).

It responds to a tasking of Defence Ministers in December 1998 and was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit in April this year.

  • With a special focus on interoperability, DCI is concentrating on the deployability and mobility of forces, on their sustainability and logistics, their survivability and effective engagement capability, and on consultation, command and control.
  • Heads of State and Government at the Summit agreed the establishment of a temporary High Level Steering Group (HLSG) to oversee the implementation of the DCI, with a 2-year programme of work. The HLSG has begun work and NATO's staff and committee structures have placed a high priority on moving DCI forward.
  • The success of DCI ultimately depends on the efforts to be undertaken by the Alliance collectively and on the action taken and resources provided by individual nations.


The initial results are encouraging and the prospects for substantial further capability improvements are good. The HLSG will continue to monitor overall progress and initiate corrective or supportive action where that appears necessary.

  • For the Allies concerned a very large portion of the national activity to implement DCI falls under the purview of the NATO defence planning system. The Annual Defence Review 1999 has shown that the plans of many of these countries already have a strong DCI focus, and the Force Goals 2000, which are currently under preparation, will seek further DCI improvements.
  • The Alliance's experience in Kosovo validated the DCI's areas of emphasis, and NATO's military planners have worked to ensure force plans are consistent with the DCI objectives.
  • At its meetings in September, October and November 1999, the HLSG addressed improvements in deployability and mobility, as well as a large number of efforts for the enhancement of sustainability and logistics, including the implementation of the "Multinational Joint Logistic Centre" concept to provide an integrated system for the multinational management of theatre logistic assets and required supplies, and the improvement of the timeline for reaching a full Alliance logistic information system.
  • It has identified how progress could be made in the procurement of precision guided ammunition and in NBC detection and protection.
  • It has examined and encouraged more rapid progress in the accomplishment of the Alliance Consultation, command and Control objectives.
  • Clearing House Mechanisms are being established with the involvement of Allies, Partners and representatives of multinational formations to exchange information with a view to enhancing capabilities of these multinational formations.
  • A number of new multinational initiatives are under consideration, such as, inter alia, a proposal for a European Airlift Command.
  • The HLSG will continue to monitor the DCI decisions and recommend further action as appropriate.

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