Centres of Excellence


Centres of Excellence (COEs) are international military organisations that train and educate leaders and specialists from NATO member and partner countries. They assist in doctrine development, identify lessons learned, improve interoperability and capabilities, and test and validate concepts through experimentation. They offer recognised expertise and experience that is of benefit to the Alliance, and support the transformation of NATO, while avoiding the duplication of assets, resources and capabilities already present within the Alliance.


  • COEs cover a wide variety of areas such as civil-military operations, cyber defence, military medicine, energy security, naval mine warfare, defence against terrorism, cold weather operations, and counter-IED.
  • Allied Command Transformation has overall responsibility for COEs and is in charge of the establishment, accreditation, preparation of candidates for approval, and periodic assessments of the centres.
  • COEs are nationally or multi-nationally funded. NATO does not directly fund COEs nor are they part of the NATO Command Structure.



Role of Centres of Excellence

COEs generally specialise in one functional area and act as subject-matter experts in their field. They distribute their in-depth knowledge through training, conferences, seminars, concepts, doctrine, lessons learned and papers.

In addition to giving NATO and partner country leaders and units the opportunity to augment their education and training, COEs also help the Alliance to expand interoperability, increase capabilities, aid in the development of doctrine and standards, conduct analyses, evaluate lessons learned and experiment in order to test and verify concepts.

COEs work alongside the Alliance even though NATO does not directly fund them and they are not part of the NATO Command Structure. They are nationally or multi-nationally funded and are part of a supporting network, encouraging internal and external information exchange to the benefit of the Alliance. The overall responsibility for COE coordination and utilisation within NATO lies with Allied Command Transformation (ACT), in coordination with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

Currently, there are 25 COEs with NATO accreditation. The working language of COEs is generally English.


NATO – accredited Centres of Excellence:

  1. Analysis and Simulation for Air Operations
  2. Civil-Military Cooperation
  3. Cold Weather Operations
  4. Combined Joint Operations from the Sea
  5. Command and Control
  6. Cooperative Cyber Defence
  7. Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices
  8. Counter Intelligence
  9. Crisis Management and Disaster Response
  10. Defence Against Terrorism
  11. Energy Security
  12. Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  13. Human Intelligence
  14. Joint Air Power
  15. Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence
  16. Military Engineering
  17. Military Medicine
  18. Military Police
  19. Modelling and Simulation
  20. Mountain Warfare
  21. Naval Mine Warfare
  22. Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters
  23. Security Force Assistance
  24. Stability Policing
  25. Strategic Communications