The Alliance has evolved from a traditional military alliance for collective defence into a much more political organisation directed toward security co-operation on a much broader scale. The traditional role of assuring the territorial integrity and security of its member states has given way to increasing involvement in conflict prevention and crisis management outside the treaty area. The result is that the political role of NATO has increased and to some extent taken precedence over the military role – but not without cost.
NATO is projecting stability through an enhanced Partnership for Peace programme involving greater partner nation participation in NATO business. NATO also has extensive engagement programmes with Russia and Ukraine, as well as an active dialogue with selected Mediterranean nations. These programmes are intended to increase trust and build confidence.
The science and technology communities are ideally placed to make the most of potential opportunities arising from the expanding dialogue NATO is undertaking.
Because of the longer time-scales involved in research and technology and to avoid the inability to mount an appropriate response, NATO’s R&T stance should be to cover scientific work to the extent that it addresses a wide range of possible scenarios.
The within NATO that deals with science is the Scientific Affairs Division (SAD). It reports to the NATO Science Committee and deals with more basic science. Its coverage has tended to be on civil science and has mainly focussed on the development of scientists within the NATO countries, a focus which is now more oriented toward dialogue and interaction of scientists with the Partner nations.
The support for collaboration is channelled through a range of different mechanisms or activities, which are, designed both to create enduring links between researchers in different countries which is essential to progress in science, with the objective of contributing to overall stability and peace. The NATO Science Programme is grouped into four sub-programmes: Science Fellowships, Co-operative Science and Technology, Research Infrastructure Support, and Science for Peace. Hungary has been especially successful in Science for Peace sub-programme: 13 Hungarian projects have been supported till September 2002. The Hungarian budget for the Science Fellowships sub-programme is approximately 30 million HUF yearly that provided opportunity for 81 Hungarian scientists, 19 researchers from Partners Countries and 8 scientists from different NATO countries to participate in the sub-programme from the first call in March 2001 to September 2002.
The mission of the RTO is:
A community of defence scientists (and scientific managers) periodically drawn from government, industry and universities as national contributors tostudies of defence technology (there is also some systems work). This body works in the research and “proof-of-concept” part of the spectrum, primarily using information exchange.
The NATO Research & Technology Board(RTB) is the main governing body of the RTO.
The following level is the RTO Panels. 7 panels of RTO (RTO Panels) have been established according to different research and technology areas. The RTO Panels report to the RTB.
The NATO Research and Technology Agency (RTA) supports and co-ordinates the NATO Research and Technology Organisation (RTO).