The Collaboration Support Office - CSO

The Collaboration Support Office (CSO) supports the Collaborative business model whereby NATO Nations and partner Nations contribute their national resources to define, conduct and promote cooperative research and information exchange.

Technical Panels, Group and Committee

AVT Applied Vehicle Technology Panel
HFM  Human Factors and Medicine Panel
IST  Information Systems Technology Panel 
SAS  System Analysis and Studies Panel
SCI Systems Concepts and Integration Panel
SET Sensors and Electronics Technology Panel
NMSG  NATO Modelling and Simulation Group
IMC  Information Management Committee

The total spectrum of this collaborative effort is addressed by six Technical Panels who manage a wide range of scientific research activities, a Group specialising in modelling and simulation, plus a Committee dedicated to supporting the information management needs of the organisation.

These Panels and Group are the power-house of the collaborative model and are made up of national representatives as well as recognised world-class scientists, engineers and information specialists. In addition to providing critical technical oversight, they also provide a communication link to military users and other NATO bodies.

The scientific and technological work is carried out by Technical Teams, created under one or more of these eight bodies, for specific research activities which have a defined duration. These research activities can take a variety of forms, including Task Groups, Workshops, Symposia, Specialists’ Meetings, Lecture Series and Technical Courses.

In any given year, there are over 3500 Scientists and Engineers from NATO and its partners working on approximately 140 research activities being conducted by these Technical Teams. In all cases, these activities result in the publication of highly valued scientific literature published by the STO. The results of the this research can also be found in some specific peer-review journals.

An abstract of every publication can be viewed on the CSO website ( Depending on their classification, the full text of many of these reports can be downloaded. CD-ROM copies may also be obtained from one of the National Distribution Centres or can be purchased from one of the STO Sales Agencies, details of which can be found on the website.

The STO actively supports NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) participation. Each year, the STO seeks to increase the number of activities open to PfP and MD Nations, and additionally sponsors specific plenary sessions of Board and Panel meetings for these non-NATO Nations. For example, in the 2011 PoW, approximately 75% of the new activities are open to PfP Nations and 30% are open to MD Nations. The STO also extends opportunities for collaborative research to our Global Partners and has opened approximately 50% of the new 2011 activities to these Nations.

As mentioned before, facilitating the STO’s collaborative effort is the job of the CSO. This small executive office, located near Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine (FRA), has approximately 35 NATO civilian staff, and in addition, 15 military and civilian personnel generously provided by Member Nations, who serve on limited duration rotations. In its role as facilitator, the CSO provides programme management assistance to the STO Panels, serves as an interface between the national scientific and NATO military communities and provides S&T knowledge management through its website and databases.

Mr. Alan Shaffer, Director, NATO Collaboration Support Office

Mr. Alan Shaffer, Director, NATO Collaboration Support OfficeMr. Shaffer serves as the Director, NATO Collaboration Support Office in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating and synchronizing the Science and Technology (S&T) collaboration between NATO member and partner Nations, comprising a network of more than 3000 scientists.

Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)), US since 2007.  In this position, Mr Shaffer was responsible for formulating, planning and reviewing the DoD Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) programs, plans, strategy, priorities, and execution of the DoD RDT&E budget that totals roughly $25 billion per year. He has also served twice as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering from 2007-2009 and 2012 to 2015.   Additionally, in 2009, he was appointed as the first Director, Operational Energy, Plans and Programs (Acting).  Mr. Shaffer has also served as the Executive Director for several senior DoD Task Forces, including review of all research, acquisition and test activities during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure.  In 2007, he was the Executive Director for the DoD Energy Security Task Force, which led to the establishment of a congressionally confirmed position to focus on DoD operational energy use.  From 2007-2012, he served as the Executive Director of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) Task Force, where he was responsible for fielding 27,000 MRAPs.  

Prior to entering the federal government, Mr. Shaffer served a 24-year United States Air Force career with assignments in command, weather, intelligence and acquisition oversight with career assignments in Utah, California, Ohio, Honduras, Germany, Virginia and Nebraska. 

His career included deployment to Honduras in the mid-1980s and direct support of the United States Army 3rd Armored Division in Hanau, Germany.  During Operation DESERT STORM, he was responsible for deployment of the 500-person theater weather force.

Upon retirement from the United States Air Force in 2000, Mr Shaffer was appointed to the Senior Executive Service; in 2001, he assumed the position as Director, Plans and Programs, Defense Research and Engineering. 

Mr. Shaffer earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Vermont in 1976, a second Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from the University of Utah, a Master of Science in Meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.  He was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2007 and the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2004.

July 2015


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