CIMIC Messenger 2020-12

Dear CIMIC/CMI Community,

It is with pleasure that I introduce to you this year’s final edition of the CIMIC Messenger. Again I want to start with conveying that I hope that you are all staying safe in these trying times.

I looked forward to 2020 to invest in the interaction and productive cooperation within the CIMIC/CMI Community, with the scheduled physical meetings throughout the year as a basis. However, the cancellation of most events due to the impact of the pandemic were the case, and present-day is still a particularly challenging time.

Nevertheless, the CCOE, together with the CIMIC/CMI Community of Interest swiftly adapted to a “virtual reality” and this has proven to be crucial. As tangible results, the numerous online activities in our community, including training events, have provided many occasions to discuss and promote possible responses to the crisis, especially in the collection and sharing of Lessons Identified and Best Practices in the field of CIMIC/CMI. The community has demonstrated its resilience and one could say that we even have strengthened our relationships and cooperation in certain ways.
This was of course also expected from us, because our central and enduring purpose is to enhance cooperation in the field of CIMIC/CMI, especially nowadays when there is a clear demand. It is an understatement that the crisis proved that a comprehensive approach (whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort) is required to be prepared for, and fight crisis effectively. Therefore, the institutionalization of a Comprehensive Approach, CIMIC and CMI, before a crisis occurs, is fundamental! I use a quote of the Common Effort Community of which the CCOE is a member from the start: “You have to know each other before you need each other”.

The idea of our CIMIC Messenger is also to connect people and share knowledge in the field of CIMIC/CMI.

Topics of this edition of the CIMIC Messenger:

·  Overview of our Course schedule 2021

·  Concepts, Interoperability and Capabilities (CIC)

·  Resilience in pandemics - Lessons Identified from COVID-19 

·  Benvenuta Italia - Welcome Italy

You will see that, like in 2020, the CCOE has many CIMIC projects lined up next year and I am sure that with the enthusiasm and persistence of the CCOE’s internal staff and external sponsors in the field of CIMIC/CMI we will be able to complete also those successfully. Therefore I am pleased that I am able to announce that Italy became a CCOE Sponsoring Nation and will reinforce the CCOE in 2021 with a staff officer!

In conclusion, it is now time to turn attention to those close to us. I take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to you and your relatives for a Happy Holiday Season and a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Enjoy reading, make use of the information provided and pass it on. You know where to find us: See you online, or hopefully in The Hague next year, the International City of Peace and Justice!

Best Regards,

Colonel Frank van Boxmeer MSc
DIRECTOR CCOE





Concepts, Interoperability and Capabilities (CIC)

A&A project team

“Understanding (the operating environment) is not limited to military intelligence on the adversary’s forces, perspective and objectives, but rather requires knowledge about non-military actors and their diverse perspectives, and integration of those viewpoints into NATO planning.” 
(BG Lebrun, ACOS J9, SHAPE)

The CCOE’s efforts with regard to Civil-Military Analysis are in sync with an ACO J9 Strategic Initiative which declared the development of a Civil-Military Analysis Capability a priority for NATO’s CIMIC & CMI. Consequently, in early 2020 the CCOE has initiated an Analysis and Assessment (A&A) working group to develop a new concept to analyze the operating environment, involving non-military actors and their perspectives.

In October the CCOE conducted a 3-days online workshop titled ‘Civil-Military Analysis in Complex Environments’. The workshop connected military and civilian experts in the fields of CIMIC & CMI with analysts from humanitarian and development organizations, academia and the private sector. In five sessions, the diverse audience shared best practices and perspectives on their analysis concepts, capabilities and techniques. They discussed the meaning and scope of an operating environment and applied a consumer perspectives to their analysis processes and products. Weaknesses and strengths of different analysis processes were considered and compared.

The honest and open-minded discussions resulted in a better understanding of the different actors’ perspectives, their advantages and challenges in analysis. More importantly, they opened doors to further information exchange and identified opportunities for collaborative analysis. This new network of subject matter experts facilitates the CCOE’s ambition to promote collaborative analysis as well as its development of a new concept in Civil-Military Analysis.

What’s next?

An initial concept is being developed. Its current focus resides with a solid discussion on future terminology to be applied and a reasonable description of the Civil Environment aiming for congruence across the CIMIC doctrinal framework. The SHAPE-led ACO CIMIC/CMI Working Group serves as a catalyst and consequently ensures NCS and NFS to stay continuously involved in the discussions.

The upcoming months will be characterized by a series of expert-talks and workshops to discuss the most important findings in depth and to investigate the opportunities in collaborative analysis covering both, concept development and future training solutions.

CIC – policy and doctrine team

For the CIC (concepts, interoperability and capabilities) branch’s policy, concepts and doctrine team – like for all of NATO –  the year 2020 was and is mainly dominated by the developments deriving from NATO’s New Military Strategy (NMS) which was ratified in 2019.

The CIC branch followed up on the development of Allied Command Operation’s new military strategic concept and was able to contribute to Allied Command Transformation’s ongoing development of the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept (NWCC).

In order to align NATO’s CIMIC policy with these new developments the International Military Staff tasked SHAPE J9 to develop an interim update of the NATO Policy for Civil-Military Cooperation MC 411/2. CIMIC COE is also participating in the writing teams and commenting rounds to develop this draft.

The permanently ongoing development of Allied Joint Publications, NATO’s doctrine papers, is also aligned with the new policy and concepts and keeping the CCOE CIC staff officers busy contributing CIMIC input into the revision process. Some examples of AJPs currently under revision are the capstone publication AJP-01 Allied Joint Doctrine and AJP-10 Allied Joint Doctrine for Strategic Communication as well as AJP-3.4.5 Allied Joint Doctrine for Stabilization.

Besides working on  NATO products CIC also supported the UN by providing their expertise to the drafting of the revised UN-CIMIC policy and the newly developed Engagement Platoon Concept.

Interoperability Initiative / US Civil Affairs and EURO NATO CIMIC Synchronization project

Within the framework of our Interoperability Initiative, the CCOE-led US Civil Affairs and EURO NATO CIMIC Synchronization project reached an important milestone within Training & Education line of effort. The EURO NATO CIMIC Familiarization (ENCFC) course resident iterations originally planned for 2020 had to be postponed and rescheduled due to the global pandemic situation. After coordination with our US CA partners, namely with US Marine Corps Civil-Military Operations School (USMCCMOS) and with 353rd CACOM HQ, the decision has been made to carry on with two iterations in 2021. One virtual and residential course will be conducted. On the special request of the 353rd CACOM HQ a virtual solution will be organized in the middle of January 2021, which is considered as a prelude for a residential one in September 2021, conducted and combined with the USMCCMOS iteration.

Academic Advisor

On the academic side, we were able to take some positive steps into the future.

In the area of the Master in Civil-Military Interaction (M-CMI), we were able to attract 50 applicants for the M-CMI through a clever advertising strategy.

In addition, we are working to expand our academic network. We are in contact with several European universities as cooperation partners for the M-CMI and beyond.
Prof. Dr. Klaus Beckmann, president of the HSU is signing the agreements. © HSU Recently, the president from the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) in Hamburg, Germany signed two cooperation agreements for the M-CMI with Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Leiden.
The new partnerships with the two universities enable renowned experts from the Rotterdam ESSB Academy (Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the University of Leiden to teach at the HSU. In the future, the three universities will work closely together to further sharpen the international profile of academic continuing education at the HSU.
In essence, the agreements with the ESSB Academy and the University of Leiden are aimed at the joint implementation of modules for the master’s degree course “Civil-Military Interaction” at the HSU. The course has already been organized in cooperation with the CCOE and is now more diverse with two European partners.

With the University of Leiden, Faculty of Governance & Global Affairs we are currently drafting a letter of intent for a closer co-operation also in the field of research and data exchange.

With the University of Glasgow, we are in the phase of drafting an agreement that will institutionalize internships.

Finally, we have successfully re-activated our co-operation with the NATO-sponsored “Resilient Civilians” Project and we are looking forward to the synergies in this important and dynamic field.  

What’s next?

We will continue to contribute to the successful execution and development of the M-CMI including its re-accreditation in 2021 as well as expanding and intensifying our co-operations in the academic network.

Cross-Cutting Topic team

Our Cross-Cutting Topic team published a new Cultural Property Protection Makes Sense Publication and has a new factsheet about Sexual And Gender-Based Violence in process.



Resilience in pandemics – Lessons Identified from COVID-19

Since almost nine months the Covid pandemic has the world firmly in its grasp. During countless online conferences, workshops, seminars etc. on this topic always the same questions occurred: How is a pandemic linked to security? How does it impact the Alliance or how can NATO support the fight against the pandemic? Which lessons have been learned in the meanwhile? Most of the answers have one word in common: Resilience.

Under Article 3 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, all Allies committed themselves to build national resilience - which is the combination of civil preparedness and military capacity - in support of NATO’s collective defense. Resilience is understood as “a society’s ability to resist and recover easily and quickly from a major shock”. Although resilience is a national responsibility in principle, the level of resilience of each Allied country reinforces the credibility of NATO’s deterrence and defense posture.  

The impact of the current corona crisis can be observed across all of the seven baseline requirements (7BLR). These requirements reflect the core functions of continuity of government, essential services to the population and civil support to the military. The 7BLR, which has been defined in 2016, faced an update in the light of the pandemic, but at the same time in-cooperating lessons that have been learned over the last years. NATO Defense Ministers decided to take greater account of cyber threats, the security of supply chains, and the consequences of foreign ownership and control across the seven baseline requirements. NATO is hereby answering attempts to targeting the resilience of single Alliance members but also of the Alliance as a whole.

But the coronavirus also brings to the surface the limits of discourses of resilience requirements as they are defined up to now. Societal trust and the solid legitimacy of governments has been identified as one of the most essential criteria to get pandemics under control. Only if citizens understand and see value in the measures taken against the crisis, they will obey the rules despite personal and societal costs. Allied nations population are targeted by misinformation campaigns, which are trying to undermine the credibility of the Allied nation’s governments and the trust of their citizens in the measures taken to fight the pandemic. Thus, the pandemic counter-measures are reduced in effectiveness and the impact of the pandemic is extended, further weakening nations’ s resilience.

Therefore it must be considered to enhance societal resilience across the current set of baseline areas and beyond. This has been addressed not only by the CIMIC & CMI community in 2018’s CIMIC Key Leader Conference,  but also by the Civil Emergency Planning Committee’s (CEPC) updated baseline requirements, resilience guidelines and evaluation criteria in June 2020.

This line of thinking is correlating with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement

“Having a strong military is fundamental to our security. But our military cannot be strong if our societies are weak.”

Furthermore, he pointed out that in today’s security environment, non-kinetic threats pose as grave danger as kinetic ones. If NATO is going to be successful, its military capabilities must be backed up by societal resilience in the member states. Successful resilience, of course, involves not only infrastructure but people too.

The In-depth revision of baseline requirements, planned for spring 2021, will be the chance to adopt them to the complex crisis that our Alliance is facing now, in order to provide a comprehensive answer to the challenges to come in the future.   



Benvenuta Italia - Welcome Italy

NATO Centers of Excellence, like the CCOE, are open to all NATO Nations to participate in. After a Nation expresses its interest to participate in a COE, the joining process starts.

A COE is established by the Sponsoring Nations by signing an Operations Memorandum of Understanding. Such an OPS MOU makes provisions for the operation, funding, manning, equipment and infrastructure, as well as for the administrative and logistical support of a COE.

In addition to the OPS MOU, a Functional MOU is signed between the Sponsoring Nations and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT; who’s staff is responsible for the coordination of the support the COEs provide to NATO). In some cases (as for the CCOE), the F-MOU is also signed by SACEUR.

On 25 July 2019, Italy announced its interest to join the CCOE, after which The Netherlands (as Host Nation) started the process of developing the Notes of Joining (NOJ) to the Operations and Functional MOUs. After the NOJ to the OPS MOU was signed by all parties involved on 1 December 2020, Italy became formally a Sponsoring Nation of the CCOE.

Italy will fill a post in the Training and Education Branch. The incumbent officer is expected to arrive in the first half of 2021.





The CCOE CIMIC Messenger is a publication of the CIMIC Centre of Excellence. Its 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 construed as carrying the official sanction of NATO, of any national armed Forces or those of CCOE.

“See you in The Hague!”