Updated: 18-Jan-2002 NATO International Military Staff


MC 411/1

NATO Military Policy
on Civil-Military Co-operation

Section 1 - Introduction


  1. In the framework of a military operation conducted by NATO, the spectrum of relations between Alliance forces and civilian authorities, populations, organisations and agencies is wide. The nature of these relations will differ according to the type of activity being conducted and therefore different parameters apply along this spectrum. Civil-military co-operation is interdependent: military means are increasingly requested to assist civil authorities, at the same time civil support to the military operation is important.


  1. The aim of this document is to establish a NATO military policy on CIMIC.

Section 2 - Terminology And Application

Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) in Operations.

  1. Changes to the environment within which NATO might operate have led to the development of a new Strategic Concept (SC 99). SC 99 states that the interaction between Alliance forces and the civil environment in which they operate is crucial to the success of operations. This applies to both Collective Defence Operations (CDO) and non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operations (CRO), however it is likely to be of greater importance in the conduct of the latter. Indeed, MC 400/2 states that the multi-functional nature of CROs requires that all military and civilian agencies and organisations involved fully co-operate.
  2. CIMIC facilitates co-operation between a NATO commander and all parts of the civilian environment within his Joint Operations Area (JOA). CIMIC is:

    The co-ordination and co-operation, in support of the mission, between the NATO Commander and civil actors, including national population and local authorities, as well as international, national and non-governmental organisations and agencies.

Other Aspects of Civil-Military Relations.

  1. Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) Generally, CEP is concerned with the protection of and support to domestic populations, usually in the context of disaster or war. In the current security environment, a core function of CEP is to remain responsive to military planning in both Article 5 and non-Article 5 operations. This should be done by planning for preparing to co-ordinate civil support, which remains essential for the success of operations.
  2. Military Assistance in Humanitarian Emergencies. In the case of a disaster relief operation or other civil emergency, not connected to any NATO military operation, national military capabilities may be deployed in support of the civil authority overseeing the emergency. In such a case, NATO policy of Military support for International Disaster Relief Operations is outlined in MC 343, which describes the use of "Military and Civil Defense Assets" (MCDA). The North Atlantic Council (NAC) will have to authorise the use of collective Allied military resources for such civil activities.
  3. In the case of an Article 5 or non-Article 5 operation, in contributing to the management of the crisis through military operations, the Alliance forces could have to deal with humanitarian emergencies. While humanitarian assistance primarily is a mission for the host nation and the responsibility of the UN, the presence of Allied forces conducting military operations may result in the Alliance having to provide rapid response to civil requirements. In that case, the military assets will be given finite tasks, within means and capabilities, through the military chain of command, and according to the OPLAN approved by the NAC.

  4. Host Nation Support(HNS). HNS seeks to provide the NATO Commander and the sending nations with support available in the form of materiel, facilities and services including area security and administrative support in accordance with negotiated arrangements between the sending nations and/or NATO and the host government. As such, HNS facilitates the introduction of forces into an area of operations by providing essential reception, staging and onward movement support. HNS may also reduce the amount of logistic forces and materiel required to sustain and re-deploy forces that otherwise must be provided by sending nations. CIMIC will normally be employed to facilitate the execution of HNS in particular in respect of the use of HNS resources.

The Conduct of CIMIC in support of Operations

  1. General. NATO operations are required to take account of social, political, cultural, religious, economic, environmental, and humanitarian factors when planning and conducting military operations. Further, NATO commanders must take into account the presence of increasingly large numbers of international and non-governmental civilian organisations. These demanding circumstances may be further complicated by differences in culture and mandate between the military and civilian organisations concerned. Forging an effective relationship between the military and all civilian authorities, organisations, agencies and populations within the JOA will help maximise the non-military contribution in achieving a stable enviroment while minimizing conflict.. NAC will lay down the parameters for the involvement of a military force deployed on operations in civil activities.
  2. The Purpose of CIMIC. The immediate purpose of CIMIC is to establish and maintain the full co-operation of the NATO commander and the civilian authorities, organisations, agencies and population within a commander's area of operations in order to allow him to fulfil his mission. This may include direct support to the implementation of a civil plan. The long-term purpose of CIMIC is to help create and sustain conditions that will support the achievement of Alliance objectives in operations.
  3. Interfaces. CIMIC is the interface with civil authorities and must be considered in support of both Collective Defence Operations and non-Article 5 CROs. CIMIC is therefore a key strand of the overall operational plan and not an activity apart.
  4. Application. CIMIC implies neither military control of civilian organisations or agencies nor the reverse. It recognises that:
    1. The military will normally only be responsible for security related tasks and for support to the appropriate civil authority -within means and capabilities- for the implementation of civil tasks when this has been agreed by the appropriate military commander in accordance with the OPLAN and the mandated civil authorities, if applicable.
    2. In exceptional circumstances, the military may be required to take on tasks normally the responsibility of a mandated civil authority, organisation or agency. These tasks will only be taken on where the appropriate civil body is not present or is unable to carry out its mandate and where an otherwise unacceptable vacuum would arise. The military should be prepared to undertake, when requested by the cognisant civil authority and approved by NATO, such tasks necessary , until the mandated civil authority, organisation or agency is prepared to assume them.
    3. Responsibility for civil related tasks will be handed over to the appropriate civil authority, organisation or agency as soon as is practical and in as smooth a manner as possible.
    4. The military will often require access to local civilian resources. In such circumstances every effort will be made to avoid adverse impact on local populations, economies, environment, infrastructure or the work of the humanitarian organisations.
    5. All practicable measures will be taken to avoid compromising the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian organisations.
  5. Integrated Planning. The above requires integrated planning and close working level relationships between the military and appropriate civil organisations and agencies before and during a military deployment. These relationships will be conducted both in theatre and at Strategic Command level or below where military planning takes place. It must be recognised, however, that even where such relationships or planning mechanisms exist, it may not always be possible to conduct them on a formal basis.

Section 3 - Policy


  1. For Alliance purposes, CIMIC will be based upon guidance from the North Atlantic Council (NAC). Based upon that guidance, the NATO Military Authorities (NMAs) are primarily responsible for the planning and conduct of CIMIC activities within their areas of operations. If required, the NMAs will co-ordinate with the appropriate Council committees.
  2. CIMIC doctrine, operational requirements and standards and procedures will be co-ordinated as follows:
    1. The primary objective of AJP-9 - NATO Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Doctrine - is to provide guidelines for the planning and execution of CIMIC in support of operations involving NATO military forces. Although AJP-9 is intended primarily for use by NATO forces, the doctrine is equally applicable to operations conducted by a coalition of NATO and non-NATO nations.
    2. Operational requirements documents and mission need statements will incorporate CIMIC where appropriate.
    3. Interoperability standards and procedures will be developed and implemented to achieve a CIMIC capability that will meet joint and combined needs and enable the integration of national capabilities.
    4. CIMIC Staff elements should be strengthened throughout NATO's Integrated Command Structure.
    5. NATO member nations should develop national CIMIC capabilities in support of the CIMIC doctrine, requirements and procedures, as determined by the Force Planning process.

Co-ordination and Co-operation

  1. CIMIC has to be an integral part of the entire operation, requiring close co-ordination with other military capabilities and actions.
  2. Unity of effort is essential to achieve maximum value from CIMIC. National and NATO CIMIC activities in a theatre should be closely co-ordinated and de-conflicted, without prejudicing the needs of lower levels of command. Command arrangements which facilitate co-ordinated directions of CIMIC efforts are preferred.
  3. Tension among political, military, humanitarian, economic and other components of a civil-military relationship is detrimental to the overall goal. Therefore, transparency will be vital in preventing and defusing such potentially volatile situations because it instils trust, increases confidence and encourages mutual understanding. Wherever possible, transparency will therefore guide CIMIC interaction with civilian authorities and organisations.
  4. CIMIC provides one of several operational tools available to the commander in achieving his overall goals. However, in order to maximise this capability, it will be important that, where possible, military and civilian organisations identify and share common goals. Such goals should be established at an early stage in planning, consistent with political guidance, which military commanders must integrate into the planning for the execution of their operations.
  5. The necessary co-operation between the military and civilian organisations and agencies in operations should be supported by working level contacts and cross-participation in CIMIC seminars, training and exercises.

Section 4 - Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Military Committee.

  1. The specific responsibilities of the NATO Military Committee are:
    1. To ensure that CIMIC aspects are included, where appropriate, in other MC policy documents.
    2. To provide guidance for the conduct of CIMIC as it applies to military operations, exercises, and training.
    3. To encourage co-operation and co-ordination of all CIMIC matters within NATO and where required in close co-operation with Partnership for Peace Nations/non-NATO Troop Contributing Nations
    4. To advise the NAC and seek guidance as appropriate.
    5. To direct the Strategic Commanders as required.

Responsibilities of the Strategic Commanders

  1. The specific responsibilities of the Strategic Commanders are:
    1. To develop and/or improve CIMIC capabilities within their commands.
    2. To develop, co-ordinate and update CIMIC concepts, plans and procedures in agreement with the guidance of the Military Committee.
    3. To establish, within their own headquarters and subordinate commands, the CIMIC or comparable staffs and appropriate interfaces with civilian organisations.
    4. To ensure subordinate commands have the doctrine, guidance and standard operating procedures required to implement CIMIC plans in accordance with NATO Precautionary Measures.
    5. To forward to NATO political authorities requirements for CIMIC in support of military operations.
    6. To co-ordinate and supervise the conduct of CIMIC, after authorisation by the Military Committee
    7. To initiate requests for research and development for the improvement of CIMIC techniques.
    8. To develop training standards and conduct CIMIC training in exercises.
    9. To review and develop CIMIC Precautionary Measures for MC/NAC approval.