"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. As such the Centre does not therefore speak for 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.
Mission of the Centre is to provide a tangible contribution to the strategic communications capabilities of NATO, NATO allies and NATO partners. 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. The centre was initially founded by Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom in 2014. The Netherlands and Finland joined in 2016, Sweden in 2017, Canada in 2018 and Slovakia in early 2019. France and Denmark are set to join in 2020.
Major Products and Activities in 2020
· NATO StratCom policy & doctrine development
· Multinational Information Operations Experiment (MNIOE)
· Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC)
· Analysing counter-narrative strategies, narrative development and assessment
· StratCom tabletop exercise (TTX) concept development and information environment simulation concept development
· Concept development of the disinformation attack simulation training module
· NATO Warfighting capstone concept development
· Work on StratCom Terminology Improvement
· Reports on robotic networks on social media, Russia's disinformation campaigns in the NB-8 region, deep fakes, nuclear deterrence, China's social credit system, role of data brokers in data manipulation, measuring the effects of disinformation and debunking
· Social media course and conference
· StratCom education and training support to ACT