On the 26th of May, the first 2022 session of the Steering Committee Meeting of the NATO Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence (NATO SFA COE) was held in Durres in Albania following the invitation of the Albanian Defence Staff as Albania is one of the Sponsoring Nations together with Slovenia. 

Among the participants, in addition to the national delegates of the Sponsoring Nations, there were the chairman appointed by the Italian SMD and, as observers, the military attachés from the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, and Turkey serving in Tirana. 

After the welcome by Gen. B. Bitri, Director General of the Albanian Armed Forces, Col. Di Pietro, Director of the NATO SFA COE, illustrated the projects underway in 2022 and the guidelines for the development of the Program of Work for 2023. In particular, he emphasized the progress of the Centre in training activities, both in presence and online, and in analysis and research activities concerning SFA implementation within the Alliance in order to further develop NATO’s prerogative to plan, organize and conduct capacity development activities for Host Nations’ Armed Forces upon request to the North Atlantic Council (NAC).

Among the anticipated innovations, particularly worth of note is the development of a virtual research portal that will make it possible to retrieve and select information and news from geographical areas of interest to NATO (both on the southern and eastern flanks) useful for planning programs of Defence Capacity Building and for open source intelligence.

During the event, in order to increase the relationship with academic institutions and maximize their contribution to study and analysis activities, an agreement was signed with the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, formalizing the mutual collaboration in training and in research and starting a new internship program at the COE. 

Within the context of the Centre’s international and collaborative activities which aim to strengthen the application of the integrated approach between NATO and the European Union, the NATO SFA COE illustrated the recent collaboration initiatives with the Centre Terre pour le Partenariat Militaire Opérationnel (CPMO), the French National SFA centre responsible for a PESCO program, and the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), as well as the exchange of information with the departments of the European Military Staff (EUMS) responsible for security and defence. 

The multidisciplinary nature and the international significance of the approved projects confirm the commitment of the NATO SFA COE to be recognized as an authoritative body of reference for the SFA for the benefit of the Alliance and of partner countries.