CIMIC Messenger 2017-03

Dear CMI Community,

today I am particularly proud to announce that the President of the Republic of Croatia, H. E. Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will attend the CCOE’s 10th Anniversary celebration on October 10th, 2017. The President will come to The Hague to accept the 2017 CIMIC Award of Excellence for her contributions to Gender and the overall empowerment of women and girls on a global scale. The inaugural CIMIC Award of Excellence will be bestowed within the context of an illustrious ceremony at the compound of the CCOE.

Also in this CIMIC Messenger, you will find a summary of the recently finished CCOE / STRATCOM Community of Interest Conference in Riga, featuring the four key findings from the joint plenary session and syndicates with over 100 subject matter experts from across NATO.

Finally, our LL/ Dev Branch intern Georgia Grechi presents her research study results on the “Gaps and differences between military and non-military actors from the civilian perspective.”

Best regards


Wolfgang Paulik

Director CCOE

Picture: President of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović Source:

The President of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović


The President of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, to accept the inaugural 2017 CIMIC Award of Excellence at the 10th Anniversary of the NATO CIMIC Centre of Excellence, October 10th, 2017, in The Hague, Netherlands.

“It is with great pleasure for me to announce, that the President of Croatia will attend the 10th Anniversary celebration of the CCOE to receive the award for her contributions to Gender and the empowering of women and girls around the world,” said CCOE Director Colonel Wolfgang Paulik.

“Gender equality and gender issues are a key factor our CIMIC personnel is faced with in missions. Only societies developing gender equality will be stable and prosperous in the long run. To this end CIMIC personnel from all NATO forces, including Croatia, have been serving together in missions for many years and I personally have fond memories of our Croatian brothers in arms.”

Before being elected as the President of Croatia in 2015, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović had completed several senior diplomatic and political assignments in the service of her country. A career diplomat by training, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović became Minister of European Integration in 2003 and Croatia’s Foreign Minister in February 2005, her central task being to guide the country into the European Union and NATO. From 2008 – 2011 she served as Croatia’s Ambassador to the United States.

As the first women ever, she was appointed as a NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy until her election as President of Croatia. As both NATO Assistant Secretary General and President of the Republic of Croatia she visited Afghanistan numerous times, and during her visit in 2014 she met with CIMIC personnel stationed in Camp Marmal, near Mazar-e-Sharif.

President Grabar-Kitarović is well-versed in Euro-Atlantic diplomacy and security issues and is a globally recognized leader for gender equality and the empowerment and women and girls.
The 2017 CIMIC Award of Excellence will be bestowed on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the CCOE during an illustrious ceremony attracting senior representatives from NATO, national ministries, governmental institutions, International and major Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as civic and corporate leaders.

The motto of the Anniversary “From the Protection of Culture to the Protection of Civilians” has been chosen, to arch the wide span of the activities and tasks relevant to successful Civil-Military Interaction.

Riga: Four key recommendations form the joined CCOE / STRATCOM Conference


The recently completed Community of Interest Conference in Riga was truly one of a kind. For the first time ever two Centres of Excellence combined their respective expert audiences to gain a much broader perspective on resilience and hybrid warfare in collective defence; issues, which now dominate the practical and doctrinal work of both communities.

As indicated by the name of the joined conference, this community relies heavily each other for support and exchange of knowledge. With an integrated participation in the plenary sessions and the syndicate group discussions, participants were able to develop innovative recommendations regarding the synchronization of CIMIC and STRATCOM in addressing the challenges hybrid threats bring to the integrity of the NATO alliance.

With these four key recommendations, the CIMIC and STRATCOM community intend to further shape the decision-making processes at all echelons of the Alliance:

  • Countering hybrid threats is a communication & engagement heavy task, requiring sufficient time, resources and outbound engagement to succeed. In a volatile conflict scenario, including high intensity warfare elements, NATO needs to understand the overall operating environment and possibly 2nd and 3rd order effects of its own actions, and of others, within a complex and time critical context.
  • Understanding remains a basic condition to conflict resolution, including the countering of hybrid threats. Coordination and synchronization between different actors becomes an even more demanding requirement, as Alliance member states will place great emphasis on their national responsibilities and requirements, while NATO forces need to rely to a large extent on the host nation support capabilities.
  • Information sharing is a key element in achieving unity of effort. In shifting from stability operations towards coordination and de-conflicting within the Alliance, CIMIC information requirements will now depend on understanding individual member states’ contingency planning and their respective standing cooperation agreements with international organizations. Paired with an overall understanding of the national military territorial responsibilities and of the capabilities to enable proper situational awareness, will facilitate a friction-free operating of NATO forces.
  • Resilience consists of three dimensions: Resilience of Government, Societal Resilience, and Individual Resilience. While the current 7 baseline requirements for resilience mostly focus on technical aspects, the cognitive impact caused by influencing means and directed actions on the respective social layers, must also be considered.

As there is no consolidated definition on resiliency throughout the NATO alliance, it needs opportunities such as this joined conference to allow experienced intellectuals and practitioners from various organizations within the NATO command structure, alliance member states and supporting entities to work together towards agreeing on common ideals. Ideals, which will allow CIMIC and STRATCOM professionals to conceptualize new ways of enhancing resilient measures, which mitigate potential negative effects coming from hybrid threats.

With over 100 representatives from NATO Headquarters Civil Preparedness Section, SHAPE J9, NATO ACT, US European Command, LANDCOM and AIRCOM, JFC Brunssum and Naples, MNC-NE and MND-SE, 1st German-Netherland Corps, various national-level STRATCOM and CIMIC commands, training experts from the Joint Warfare Center, the US Special Warfare Center and School and other US Civil Affairs entities, all three Baltic NFIUs, as well as various Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian government entities, the participants were able to gather knowledge from the highest political and strategic organizations throughout NATO.

Finally the ACT cluster-approach proved to be valuable. In combining these communities the conference demonstrated that there are many overlapping concerns and topics, and that the branch specific perspective on resiliency and hybrid threats may be too narrow at times.

Picture: Community of Interest Conference, Syndicate work Source: CCOE/ Rein

Gaps and differences between military and non-military actors from the civilian perspective.


By: Giorgia Grecchi , 23 intern at the CCOE LL/Dev Branch, October 2016 – April 2017

As the future should be built by learning from the past, the Lessons Learned (LL) capacity has been formed as military function to identify the big gaps or differences between military and non-military actors. It should be noted in this context that it would be better to speak of non-military actors, instead of civilian actors. In fact using the latter term, it should be acknowledged that this does not relate to just one type of entity, but to of a wide range of actors with different structures, organizations and principles, as well as the civil population by itself.

Differences of the CIMIC perspective.

Nowadays, discussions on NATO CIMIC often do not refer to a universal concept, unlike in other organizations, yet different countries do have a distinct point of view on this topic. Thus first question is “why is there no common point of view?”, and the very simple answer to this lies in the different “Lessons Learned”. All countries, all organizations have different backgrounds, not only in terms of field missions, but also because of the internal political discussion and decisions. These processes are being reflected, for example, in the various use of acronyms such as Civil Affairs (CA) for the USA, Civil Military Coordination (CMCoord) for UN, as well and many other examples. All this can create misunderstandings and difficulties on the operational level in the field, as well as in the cooperation and coordination of the various actors, but also of the different nations involved [1].

The evolution of peacekeeping mission: from the first generation mission to multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations

It is important to analyze the evolution of the application of the concept of “CIMIC” today. In fact, Peacekeeping Missions have been evolving significantly over time. The first generation peacekeeping mission started in the 1948 with the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Both of these missions, are examples for an observation and monitoring type of operation, without the use of arms. In fact, those UN military observers were unarmed. Today’s Peacekeeping operations are defined as “multi-dimensional”, involving a much wider variety of operational options dating back to the turn of the millennium. Following the post-Yugoslavia missions, those are being defined as third generation missions. This expression indicates contemporary peacekeeping missions, in which there are not only military tasks, but also humanitarian and post-conflict missions, including nation-building tasks. Human rights, humanitarian laws and other modern challenges have now become crucial to modern mission scenarios. Therefore, effective coordination of efforts and a real cooperation between the different actors involved of the field is fundamental.

Lessons Learned and the big gaps between military and non-military actors

By analyzing many Lessons Learned, in particular from ISAF missions, it is possible to identify many gaps and differences between not only military and non-military actors, but also between the different types of approaches applied by the nations involved in a mission. For the purpose of the research at the CCOE, we set the focus of the project on other differences, or gaps, which create difficulties for the civilian side in the mutual understanding between these different actors: in this context specifically the meaning of the word “mission” and the different approaches taken by these actors to conduct the assessment on the area and the communication.

“Mission”: a word, more meanings

When studying CIMIC from a NATO’s perspective, the three core functions, and here particularly the support to the mission, constitute a key point, where we there is a massive gap between actors and their respective understanding of the term “mission”. This word, when used in a military contest, implies a much stronger meaning, than when used in a civil context. In this understanding, all activities of a military operation are in support of the mission, which constitutes is their relevance. The word “mission” in the civilian contest can assume other meanings, but hardly of such a strong importance.

Which type of assessment?

An example for the second big gap, is the different way how an assessment is being done following a large scale emergency, or often a natural catastrophe. In this case, the assessment from the civilian perspective, for example by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is done on site trying to understand the immediate overall issues in the area. From the military perspective, it is firstly done within the military mission area only and then subsequently to the one on the civilian side. Only after the assessment on the impact of the mission itself has been completed, the impact on the population will be assessed with the options to provide support by coordinating efforts among all involved actors. This led to the concept of “support to the mission”. If this kind of reasoning is acceptable for the military part, it is more difficult to understand for the civilian counterparts. Often this method of execution of the assessment can cause further problems between both sides.

A final remark needs to be done on communication. The term “information sharing” can be found everywhere in the CIMIC Doctrine and in the most important publications related to CIMIC. Yet, effective communication in this area is more difficult than meets the eye. When speaking of communication, there will be a clear distinction:  on one hand is important to establish an effective communication with the population of the region. This type of perspective will be important to be become aware of local customs, traditions and the local language. On the other hand, it is essential to understand which other non-military actors are involved in the same area, when trying to establish levels of cooperation. Sometimes, this is difficult to sustain, as military personnel rotates every six months, which can lead to a lack of continuity in the local relationships and a weakening of trust. The regular lack of common goals between the different actors in the field is then often an additional obstacle for effectively sharing information.

In the future it will be absolutely necessary to focus more attention on Lessons Learned in order to improve the ability of CIMIC to succeed in new missions. Yet this will only be possible, if there will be real willingness among all actors to cooperate.


[1] Danish Case ISAF %20and%20CIMIC%20projects%20in%20Afghanistan%202001-2014%20(2016).pdf


Picture: Giorgia Grecchi

About the author: My experience at the CCOE began in October 2016, when I arrived in The Hague. I decided to apply for an internship to understand the diverse world of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) better.

In fact, the first time I heard about CIMIC, it was a completely novel concept for, and, in a way also un-militarily strange. I studied a lot about this new topic, before I began my new adventure. After taking the Functional Specialist Course at the Multinational CIMIC Group in Motta di Livenza, I decided to write my master’s thesis on Civil-Military Cooperation, with a very specific point of view: the civil perspective.

My work as an intern at the CCOE helped me to accomplish this. Notably my assigned branch ‘Lessons Learned / Development (LL/Dev)’ provided me with a high level of support for the duration. This not only in terms of personal guidance and advice, but also by its main mandate, the Lessons Learned and Development Branch turned out to be the perfect place to study and understand in a unique way the most important case studies on previous CIMIC related operations.

During this time at CCOE, I also had the opportunity to examine in depth the NATO Doctrine and Policy on CIMIC and its future development, while making contact with many military and non-military actors. 

The CCOE CIMIC Messenger is a publication of the CIMIC Centre of Excellence. Ist dedicated aim is to provide a Forum or platform for stimulating and presenting innovative and comprehensive thinking on NATO CIMIC and Civil-Military Interaction (CMI) related issues such as Mission experiences, concepts, doctrine or lessons learned. The views and opinions expressed or implied in the CCOE CIMIC Messenger are those of the authors and should not be constued as carrying the official sanction of NATO, of any national armed Forces or those of CCOE.

“See you in The Hague!”