New definitions for CIMIC and for CMI

As of 4 August 2022, NATO’s Military Council Joint Standardization Board (MCJSB) approved the new definition for Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) as: A military joint function that integrates the understanding of the civil factors of the operating environment and that enables, facilitates and conducts Civil-Military Interaction to support the accomplishment of missions and military strategic objectives in peacetime, crisis and conflict.

As of 18 July 2022, the MCJSB approved the new definition for Civil-Military Interaction (CMI) as: Activities between NATO military bodies and non-military actors to foster mutual understanding that enhances effectiveness and efficiency in crisis management and conflict prevention and resolution.

These two terms are not only the new baseline for CIMIC in NATO, but also influence how it is perceived by civil counterparts in the wider community of interest.
They are key elements of the NATO Policy on CIMIC and CMI as well as the CIMIC doctrine that are currently both under review.

The new key terminology also reflects the evolution in both documents. They describe CIMIC as a Joint Function with core activities that are applicable and relevant in all NATO core tasks in all types of activities and operations and throughout the entire continuum of competition in peace, crisis and conflict.

These new definitions should also help to better understand the difference between CIMIC and CMI and to use the terms more specifically. CMI is one of the core activities in CIMIC and thereby included in it, but not a synonym for it.

Formal NATO agreed definitions require all allied nations’ approval. Following the agreement on the definitions, we expect that the Military Committee Policy on CIMIC and CMI – MC 411/3- will also soon be endorsed.