"Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”
This quotation from the Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO (1946) is more than relevant in the information age. One cannot imagine a successful operation without clearly defined and efficient strategic communication.
The NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) became functional in January 2014. On July 1 the same year, seven member states – Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom – signed memorandums of understanding on the establishment of the StratCom COE. The centre received NATO accreditation on 1 September 2014, and, as stated in the 2014 Wales Summit Declaration, Allies welcomed, “…the establishment of the StratCom COE as a meaningful contribution to NATO’s efforts…” in the area of strategic communications.
NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence is multi-nationally constituted and NATO-accredited international military organization, which is not part of the NATO Command Structure, nor subordinate to any other NATO entity. We are not part of NATO command structure or funded from the NATO budget and will not speak on behalf of NATO.
The NATO StratCom COE, based in Riga, Latvia, contributes to improved strategic communications capabilities within the Alliance and Allied nations. Strategic communication is an integral part of the efforts to achieve the Alliance’s political and military objectives, thus it is increasingly important that the Alliance communicates in an appropriate, timely, accurate and responsive manner on its evolving roles, objectives and missions.
The mission of the NATO StratCom COE is to contribute to the Alliance’s communication processes by providing comprehensive analyses, timely advice and practical support to the Alliance. It's strength is built by multinational and cross-sector participants from the civilian and military, private and academic sectors and usage of modern technologies, virtual tools for analyses, research and decision making.
The heart of the NATO StratCom COE is a diverse group of international experts with military, government and academic backgrounds - trainers, educators, analysts and researchers.
The Centre is staffed and financed by its sponsoring nations and contributing participants. As of January 2017, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands and United Kingdom are signed on as Sponsoring Nations of the StratCom COE. Finland and Sweden have become Partner Countries. Additionally, France has seconded staff.
Main activities of the NATO StratCom COE in 2017:
- Study violent extremism as an emerging threat for NATO nations
- Research how NATO and its members can counter hostile influence
- Study Russian information campaign in Nordic-Baltic countries
- Research the interpretation of WWII related events in Russia's narratives, actions and politics
- Discover new challenges in information environment in the context of robot trolling
- Continue work on "Defence Strategic Communications"
- Support the development of a NATO Military Committee Strategic Communications policy and doctrine
- Analyse the implementation of the NATO Strategic Communications policy throughout the NATO Command Structure
- Research the implementation of Strategic Communications within Allied nations
- Develop Strategic Communications online courses
- Support NATO StratCom training and education, including exercises education