SPS Programme History

The origins of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme date back to 1958, when the NATO Science Programme was founded. At that time, one of the Programme’s major goals was to promote the training of scientists within NATO countries. Over its long history, the SPS Programme has constantly adapted to the demands of the times and has become an established brand for the Alliance. In response to the changing security environment of the 21st century, the Programme’s mission today is to address emerging security challenges and promote cooperative security with NATO’s partners through practical cooperation based on security-related civil science, technology, innovation, and beyond. This timeline of the history and evolution of the SPS Programme has been realized with kind support from the NATO Archive’s Committee.

1956-05-05 00:00:00

THREE WISE MEN

The North Atlantic Council tasks three NATO Foreign Ministers to advise on the improvement and extension of NATO cooperation in NON-MILITARY FIELDS to strengthen unity within the Atlantic community. The report of the "Three Wise Men", submitted to Council in December 1956, introduced a more cooperative approach to security issues, with a particular emphasis on the role of science cooperation.

1958-03-29 00:00:00

NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED

In the shadow of the launch of Sputnik 1, the North Atlantic Council met at the level of Heads of Government for the first time, where the establishment of a NATO Science Committee and the position of a Science Adviser to the Secretary General was formally announced.

1969-04-10 00:00:00

20th ANNIVERSARY MEETING OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL IN WASHINGTON

At the 20th Anniversary Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Washington in April 1969, US President Nixon asked for the creation of "a committee on the challenges of modern society... to explore ways in which the experience and resources of the Western nations could most effectively be marshalled toward improving the quality of life of our peoples" to "remain in harmony with a rapidly-changing world."

1969-11-06 00:00:00

ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMITTEE ON THE CHALLENGES OF MODERN SOCIETY (CCMS)

NATO formally established the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) on 6th November 1969. Its aim was to attack practical problems already under study at the national level and, by combining the expertise and technology available in member countries, arrive at valid conclusions to make recommendations for action to benefit all.

1969-12-08 00:00:00

FIRST MEETING OF THE CCMS

During the period of détente in the 1960s, Allies grew increasingly conscious of common environmental problems that could threaten the welfare and progress of their societies. Against this background, the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) was founded and had its first meeting on 8 December 1969. The considerations underlying the establishment of the CCMS reflect a concern about the degradation of the natural environments under the impact of technologically based industrialization. At the same time, Allies recognized the opportunities provided by these new technologies and that NATO countries over two decades of political cooperation and consultation had acquired the governmental skills which would enable them to act together to address the new challenges.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

20TH ANNIVERSARY OF SCIENCE COMMITTEE

The Science Committee celebrates its 20th anniversary. Over these two decades, the Programme funded some 1500 projects, allowing over 6000 scientists from different NATO countries to work together; it also resulted in 650 scientific books and several thousand articles being published in scientific books. More than 60,000 scientists had attended NATO-funded Advanced Study Institutes, and over 12,000 scientists had benefitted from the so-called NATO Science Fellowship.

1990-07-05 00:00:00

NATO SUMMIT IN LONDON

At the NATO Summit in London in July 1990 Allied leaders proposed a new cooperative relationship with all countries in Central and Eastern Europe in the wake of the end of the Cold War: “The Atlantic Community must reach out to the countries of the East which were our adversaries in the Cold War, and extend to them the hand of friendship.”

1990-12-20 00:00:00

NORTH ATLANTIC COOPERATION COUNCIL (NACC) IS ESTABLISHED

Following the guidance of the 1990 London Summit, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) was established on 20 December 1990, responding to the political changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. As a result, the geographical scope pf the activities of the Science Committee and the CCMS grew substantially. The NACC became the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.

1991-11-08 00:00:00

ROME DECLARATION

At the Rome Summit, Allies decided “to enhance non-military scientific cooperation between NATO and countries of the former Warsaw Pact”, essentially opening the NATO science programme to partners.

1995-12-06 00:00:00

ALLIES AGREE ON WORK PLAN FOR DIALOGUE, PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION 1996/1997

NATO Foreign Ministers agree on fostering scientific cooperation among Allied and partner nations. NATO Science Fellowships were an important tool in this regard, which provided opportunities for scientists to pursue their work or to continue their training at prestigious institutions in NATO as well as Cooperation Partner countries. Each year some 1300 fellows were selected by national competitions to receive these prestigious fellowships.

1997-01-01 00:00:00

NATO RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY ORGANIZATION FOUNDED

The NATO Research and Technology Organization (RTO) was established to conduct and promote co-operative research and information exchange. It served to support the development of national research and technology and thereby meet the military needs of the Alliance. The RTO was formed through the merger of the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research (AGARD) and the Development and the Defence Research Group.

1998-01-01 00:00:00

NATO SCIENCE PROGRAMME OPENED TO EURO-ATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL & MEDITERRANEAN DIALOGUE COUNTRIES

The NATO Science Programme is opened to NATO EAPC and MD countries. In 1998, after the end of the Cold War, an Independent High Level Review Group was tasked by the North Atlantic Council to conduct an in-depth review of the NATO Science Programme. Based on their recommendations, the NATO Science Programme undertook more outreach to NATO partners in selected areas of science and technology. Following these recommendations, the NAC directed the Science Committee to shift its activities from an intra-alliance to an alliance-partner focus. This entailed the opening of the Science Programme first to EAPC countries and then to Mediterranean Dialogue partners.

2003-01-01 00:00:00

NEW TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE

The NATO Science Committee receives new Terms of Reference. Around the same time, the NATO Scientific and Environmental Affairs Division is abolished and the Science Committee and its Programme are transferred to the newly created Public Diplomacy Division (PDD).

2004-01-01 00:00:00

LAUNCH OF SECURITY THROUGH SCIENCE

Launch of the NATO Programme for Security Through Science. This development represented a fundamental re-direction of the Programme to focus primarily on security, in line with NATO’s new directions and objectives.

2004-03-11 00:00:00

NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE MEETS IN BRUSSELS

The NATO Science Committee met in Brussels on 11 and 12 March 2004 and approved a number of new elements to be included in the Security Through Science Programme. Reintegration Grants for Partner-country scientists currently working in NATO countries were introduced as a new support mechanism; areas of priority research were selected by Partner countries; and stipends for laboratory assistance services were introduced for Security Through Science projects and for experts responsible for setting up computer networking infrastructure grants.

2006-10-20 00:00:00

INAUGURAL MEETING OF NATO COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE FOR PEACE AND SECURITY

In 2006, the current Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme was established after the merger of the two Committees (Science Committee and the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society). The new NATO Committee on Science for Peace and Security (SPS) held its inaugural meeting on 20 October 2006.

2008-10-20 00:00:00

NATO CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF SCIENCE ACTIVITIES

NATO celebrates 50 years of science activities.

2009-04-04 00:00:00

NATO CELEBRATES ITS 60TH ANNIVERSARY

As NATO turns 60 and adapts to a changing international security environment, the Alliance’s Science programme evolved with it. Find out more about the role science has played in NATO and where it goes from here in an article from Professor Sir Brian Heap, former UK Representative on the NATO Science Committee.

2010-11-01 00:00:00

SPS PROGRAMME IS TRANSFERRED TO EMERGING SECURITY CHALLENGES DIVISION (ESC)

On 1 November 2010, the SPS Programme and its staff were transferred from the Public Diplomacy Division to the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESC). In June of the same year, the Science for Peace and Security Committee was disbanded and the Political and Partnerships Committee (PPC) became the forum for the discussion of SPS award recommendations and for providing strategic and political guidance for the SPS Programme. It was also in 2010, that SPS Programme was opened for collaboration to experts in the countries participating in NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

2011-04-27 00:00:00

CREATION OF INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC EVALUATION GROUP

A new structure for the SPS Programme is approved by the PPC with the aim of increasing further the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Programme. During this restructuring, the multi-disciplinary Independent Scientific Evaluation Group (ISEG) was created to replace the four advisory panels previously used for scientific assessment. Moreover, grant mechanisms were reduced from seven to three categories used today: multi-year projects, workshops and training.

2012-06-08 00:00:00

NEW SET OF SPS KEY PRIORITIES IS APPROVED

A new set of SPS key priorities was approved by Allies, reaffirming the focus of the SPS Programme on security-related scientific cooperation. These were in line with the strategic objectives of NATO’s partnership policy as agreed at the Berlin Summit in 2011 and the NATO Strategic Concept agreed in Lisbon in 2010.

2013-05-13 00:00:00

SPS STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT IS APPROVED

The assessment outlined the history of major reforms and developments and provided statistics on activities undertaken with a view to determining the relevance of the SPS Programme to NATO’s core objectives.

2013-10-11 00:00:00

SPS OVERARCHING GUIDELINES ARE APPROVED

In October 2013, the SPS Overarching Guidelines were approved to ensure that all prior political and strategic guidance for the SPS Programme was interpreted in line with the present political and strategic aims of Allies. As a result of these guidelines, the SPS Programme broadened its scope to include activities beyond pure scientific cooperation, while preserving an important scientific dimension of the Programme. Moreover, it was decided that the SPS Programme would aim to increasingly promote larger scale and more strategic activities with a view to enhancing the political impact of NATO’s partnerships and the public diplomacy impact.

2014-04-01 00:00:00

NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS SUSPEND PRACTICAL CIVILIAN AND MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN NATO AND RUSSIA

In response to Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, NATO Foreign Ministers at their meeting in April 2014 decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia, while maintaining a political dialogue at ambassadorial level. As a result of this political guidance, no new SPS activities with Russia have been launched since. At the same time, SPS cooperation with Ukraine and other Eastern partners was stepped up significantly, making Ukraine the major beneficiary of the SPS Programme in 2014

2015-04-30 00:00:00

REPORT ON SPS FINANCIAL & PERFORMANCE AUDIT ISSUED

In 2014, the SPS Programme underwent a comprehensive financial and performance audit by the International Board of Auditors of NATO (IBAN). In its report, the IBAN concluded that the Science for Peace and Security Programme objectives reflect NATO's overall goals and objectives and that the programme is effectively managed. The report also identified three recommendations on further improving the SPS Programme. On 30 April 2015, the NAC noted these conclusions and recommendations of the IBAN Report on the SPS Programme.

2015-06-08 00:00:00

SPS AT NATO EXERCISE CAPABLE LOGISTICIAN

During Exercise Capable Logistician 2015 NATO tested a range of energy-efficient solutions in an effort to cut cost while enhancing interoperability and military effectiveness. The exercise took place at Bakony Combat Training Centre near Veszprem, Hungary. 30 experts from defence agencies and research institutes participated in a NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) funded workshop as part of the exercise. They provided input and recommendations on how to make best use of smart energy in the armed forces.

2015-09-21 00:00:00

SPS TELEMEDICINE PROJECT PART OF EADRCC FIELD EXERCISE IN UKRAINE

In September 2015, a Consequence management field exercise, jointly organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and the State Emergency Service (SES) of Ukraine, took place in Lviv, Ukraine. A major NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) project developing a Multinational Telemedicine System was successfully live tested during the exercise in a field environment. It was the first time that independent national telemedicine systems were connected and interacted to provide medical support in a disaster situation. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visited a demonstration of the SPS Telemedicine project on 21 September 2015.

2016-07-08 00:00:00

NATO FOSTERS PARTNERSHIPS AT WARSAW SUMMIT

At its landmark Warsaw Summit NATO Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to a long-term partnership with Iraq as well as to assist the country through the Defence Capacity Building (DCB) Initiative. NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS) launched a key project in this regard to train and equip Iraqi officers in Jordan in 2016. Over the course of the project approximately 350 personnel will be trained in areas including military medicine, civil military planning and countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Iraq’s counter-IED operations will support humanitarian efforts to return displaced populations safely to their homes. At the Warsaw Summit Allies further reiterated their support to Ukraine. Since the crisis in 2014, the SPS Programme launched new flagship projects in Ukraine’s priority areas of cooperation. In 2015 alone, 16 new activities with Ukraine were approved by Allies. One particularly important SPS project is supporting the efforts of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU) in the area of humanitarian demining. In order to safeguard the civilian population and allow the return of displaced persons in the affected regions, the project will train and equip the teams with modern technologies of detection and clearance as well as associated specialist training so that the SESU can cope with the challenges stemming from a high-threat environment.

2017-09-17 00:00:00

A TRAINING PACKAGE FOR ICI PARTNERS

In September2017, a SPS Information Day took place as part of the NATO Week at the NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait. The event resulted in the development of five SPS-supported, tailor-made training courses for the NATO-ICI Regional Centre in the areas of CBRN defence, energy security, and cyber defence. Inaugurated on 24 January 2017, the NATO-ICI Regional Centre is the hub for training, education and other cooperation activities between NATO and its ICI partners in the Gulf. The SPS training courses were among the first activities to take place at the Centre.

2018-03-29 00:00:00

CELEBRATING 60 YEARS OF SCIENCE COOPERATION AT NATO

In 2018, the SPS Programme celebrates its 60th anniversary. Over six decades, it has adapted to NATO’s changing strategic and security agenda and today is supporting key Allied partnership priorities and policies. With almost 150 ongoing activities, it is a key programme to engage NATO partners in meaningful, practical cooperation on security-related issues.

SPS Programme History

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