Strategic Guidance

NATO's Science and Technology OrganizationStrategic Guidance for NATO Science & Technology


As a political-military organisation, NATO has a long history of sustaining the generation of Science & Technology (S&T) to stimulate innovation, to build bridges amongst Nations and to support the development and use of cutting-edge technologies. The Alliance continuously benefits from the results of S&T activities in multiple ways, including supporting the development and delivery of capabilities, fostering political consultation and partnerships, and providing evidence-based advice to support political and military decision-making.

For over 60 years, NATO S&T activities have been conducted by dedicated NATO organisations. They supported S&T collaboration between Allies, promoted science activities with partner nations, and maintained the edge, e.g., in air defence and undersea research. They relied largely on the deliberate choice of Nations to share, through NATO mechanisms, the knowledge derived from the S&T programmes conducted with their own funds.

In 2010, Heads of State and Government adopted the Strategic Concept that acknowledges the increasing importance of technological innovation. Some of the technology-related trends are poised to have major global effect that will impact NATO military planning and operations. Others could increase the impact of terrorist attacks targeted at our administrations, businesses, economies, or transportation networks. Therefore, the Strategic Concept calls upon the Alliance to stay at the forefront of assessing the security impact of emerging technologies and to take resulting risks and opportunities into account in planning and decision-making.

Strategic Guidance

Governance and leadership of NATO S&T is vested in the NATO Science & Technology Board (STB). The STB exercise governance through multiple strands, including the provision of strategic guidance, which is composed of the NATO S&T Strategy, NATO S&T Priorities, and Strategic S&T Initiatives. Further the STB acts as the focal point for coordinating S&T activities in NATO, thus avoiding duplication of efforts and achieving synergies throughout the S&T community.

Strategy - The NATO S&T Strategy articulates the long-term vision, mission and objectives that shape the overarching reference frame for S&T within the Alliance context. The Strategy was approved by the North Atlantic Council, is applicable to all NATO stakeholders involved while respecting their organisational integrity.

      Read NATO Strategy

Priorities - The NATO S&T Priorities provide guidance for the medium- to longer-term planning of NATO S&T activities taking into consideration the full spectrum of Alliance requirements. The Priorities cover the full topical breadth of defence and security related S&T, while offering emphasis in those areas that deserve the special attention of NATO S&T.

      Read NATO S&T Priorities

Initiatives - The Strategic S&T Initiatives present a collection of finite duration projects on highly relevant time-sensitive issues that require orchestrated efforts in order to jointly achieve results that are beyond the reach and scope of individual NATO S&T stakeholders.