Organization:NATO Research and Technology Organisation

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NATO Research and Technology Organisation
Organisation pour la Recherche et la Technologie OTAN
File:NATO RTO.gif
FormationNovember 21, 1996 (1996-11-21)[1]
ExtinctionJune 30, 2012 (2012-06-30)
TypeScience and Technology Cooperation Network
HeadquartersNeuilly sur Seine, France
Official language

The NATO Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) (French: Organisation pour la Recherche et la Technologie OTAN)[2] was a former agency of NATO for scientific and technological research. It was established in 1998, and replaced in 2012 by the NATO Science and Technology Organisation (STO).

RTO promoted and conducted co-operative scientific research and exchange of technical information among 26 NATO nations and 38 NATO partners. The largest such collaborative body in the world, the RTO encompasses over 3000 scientists and engineers addressing the complete scope of defence technologies and operational domains. This effort is supported by an executive agency, the Research and Technology Agency (RTA), that facilitates the collaboration by organising a wide range of studies, workshops, symposia, and other forums in which researchers can meet and exchange knowledge.


Formed in 1998 by the merger of the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) and the Defence Research Group (DRG), the RTO is the primary NATO organisation for defence science and technology. The RTO reports to both the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) and the Military Committee (MC); it has both a governing board and technical panels; and it integrates the research and technical missions of its predecessors.

The RTO continues to promote and foster not only a network of scientists and engineers from NATO Nations, but also a collection of experts from Partner Nations. With over 130 activities on-going at any time, the RTO covers a wide swath of military and dual-use technologies. However, all of this relies on the contributions of NATO and the Nations to identify and support the participation of their experts. The RTO was stood down on 30 June 2012. Its legacy has been picked up by the new Science and Technology Organisation.[citation needed]

RTO set-up

The RTO was organised according to a hierarchy of three levels, along with the role of the RTA. The following paragraphs explain, in a little more detail, the role and make-up of the technical panels (AVT, HFM, and so on) and the role of the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG) and the Information Management Committee (IMC).

Board members level: The Research and Technology Board (RTB)

The Research and Technology Board constitutes the highest authority in RTO. It is the policy body tasked by the North Atlantic Council through the CNAD and MC to serve as the single integrating body within NATO for the direction and/or co-ordination of defence research and technology. Its membership comprises up to three leading personalities in defence research and technology from each NATO Nation . The members are chosen by the Nations and may be from government, academia or industry. Typically, Board members are senior science and technology executives at the deputy under-secretary, deputy assistant secretary or deputy administrator level.

Panel members level: Technical Panels and Group

The total spectrum of R&T activities is addressed by six Technical Panels covering a wide spectrum of scientific research activities, and a Group specialising in modelling and simulation : and a Committee dedicated to supporting the information management needs of the organisation:

  • Applied Vehicle Technology Panel (AVT)
  • Human Factors and Medicine Panel (HFM)
  • Information Systems Technology Panel (IST)
  • System Analysis and Studies Panel (SAS)
  • Systems Concepts and Integration Panel (SCI)
  • Sensors and Electronics Technology Panel (SET)
  • NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG)
  • Information Management Committee (IMC)

These bodies are made up of national representatives as well as generally recognised world-class scientists[who?] and information specialists . They also provide a communication link to military users and other NATO bodies.[citation needed]


The Applied Vehicle Technology Panel strives to improve the performance, affordability and safety of vehicles through advancement of appropriate technologies. The Panel addresses vehicle platforms, propulsion and power systems operating in all environments (land, sea, air and space), for both ageing as well as future vehicle systems. In fulfilling this mission, the Panel is focused on three disciplines: mechanical systems, structures and materials; performance, stability and control, fluid physics; and propulsion and power systems. The Panel carefully reviews proposed future activities to ensure the coherence and balance as well as the relevance of its programme. In this process, specific emphasis is placed on NATO’s long-term requirements and on-going programmes, such as Defence Against Terrorism (DAT). This way, the members of this strong community of researchers are constantly aware of NATO’s current and future needs when they provide their contributions to NATO’s capabilities. The trend of addressing subject areas common to all theatres of military operations as well as applicationoriented technology has thus been successfully adopted. It encompasses an intense consideration of NATO’s needs and works in close co-operation with the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and all relevant elements of the structure under the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD).[citation needed]


The mission of the Human Factors and Medicine Panel is to provide the science and technology base for optimising health, human protection, well being and performance of the human in operational environments with consideration of affordability. This involves understanding and ensuring physical, physiological, psychological and cognitive compatibility among military personnel, technological systems, missions and environments. This is accomplished by the exchange of information, collaborative experiments and shared field trials.[citation needed]


The Information Systems Technology Panel is concerned with both the quality and integrity of the information exchanged and the quality and integrity of the paths through which communication passes. The mission of the IST Panel is to advance and exchange the techniques and technologies of information systems so as to provide timely, affordable, dependable, secure and relevant information to military personnel, planners and strategists.[citation needed]


The mission of the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group is to promote co-operation among Alliance bodies, NATO Member and Partner Nations to maximise the efficiency with which Modelling and Simulation (M&S) is used. Primary mission areas include M&S standardisation, education and associated science and technology. The activities of the Group are governed by a Strategy and Business Plan derived from the NATO M&S Master Plan. The Group provides M&S expertise in support of the tasks and projects within the RTO and from other NATO bodies.[citation needed]


The mission of the System Analysis and Studies Panel is to conduct studies and analyses of an operational and technological nature and to promote the exchange and development of methods and tools for Operational Analysis (OA) as applied to defence problems.


The mission of the Systems Concepts and Integration Panel is to further knowledge concerning advanced system concepts, integration, engineering techniques and technologies across the spectrum of platforms and operating environments to assure cost-effective mission-area capabilities.


The mission of the Sensors and Electronics Technology Panel is to advance technology in electronics and passive/active sensors as they pertain to Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA), electronic warfare, communications and navigation; and to enhance sensor capabilities through multi-sensor integration/fusion in order to improve the operating capability and to contribute to fulfil strategic military results. As NATO warfighters and peace-keepers continue to shift more and more towards asymmetrical warfare, SET technologies have to focus on the military mission of saving lives, improving the quality of life and extending our combat effectiveness.[citation needed] Research in the SET Panel addresses the phenomenology related to target signature, propagation and battlespace environment, electro-optics (or electro-optical), radio frequency, acoustic and magnetic sensors, antenna, signal and image processing, components, sensor hardening and electro-magnetic compatibility.


The mission of the Information Management Committee is to provide advice and expertise in the area of applied information management to the RTO as a direct support element of the RTA. It also provides support to information policy and management matters to the benefit of NATO and the nations. IMC’s activities cover the entire life cycle of information, including the acquisition, processing, retrieval, exchange and distribution of information. IMC is also the developer of the NATO Science, Technology and Research Network (STARNET)

Experts members level: Technical teams

The scientific and technological work of the RTO is carried out by Technical Teams, created under one or more of these seven bodies, for specific activities and with a specific duration. Such teams are typically formed as focus groups performing dedicated research activities in their area of scientific expertise. Research activities often involve workshops, symposia, field trials, lecture series and training courses, in all cases leading to the publication of highly valued[citation needed] scientific literature, much of which is published in the general scientific research outlets as well as specific peer-review journals.

Research and Technology Agency (RTA)

The supporting agency has approximately 30 NATO civilian staff and a further twenty, both military and civilian, provided voluntarily by Member Nations for limited periods. Its headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris.

Coordination with other NATO bodies

The RTO is well connected to and works in synergy with other NATO bodies. Also there is a constant call for more emphasis on a coordinated approach in conducting Defence R&T for NATO and the Nations. In order to assist the RTB Chairman in his/her coordination leadership function, the Research & Technology Coordination Group (RTCG) was established in March 2006. Members of the RTCG are the Allied Command Transformation, the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency, the NATO Main Armaments Groups and the NATO Industrial Advisory group, the COMEDS, the NATO Science for Peace and Security Program and the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC).

Cooperation with non-NATO member states

The RTO actively supports NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) initiatives, and is proceeding with improving relations with Russia and Ukraine. Each year, the RTO seeks to increase the number of activities open to PfP Nations and sponsors PfP-specific Board and Panel Meetings.

List of officials

Chairmen of the Board
# Name Country Duration
1 Dr. Mike Yarymovych  United States 21 November 1996 – 2000
2 Nils HOLME  Norway 2000 – 2003
3 Dr. Don DANIEL  United States 2003 – 2006
4 IGA Jaques BONGRAND  France 2006 – 1 April 2009
5 Dr. Robert WALKER  Canada 1 April 2009 - 2012
RTA Directors
# Name Country Duration
1 Dr. Ernst A. van HOEK  Netherlands 1 July 1997 - 2000
2 Ken PEEBLES  Canada 2000 - 2003
3 Dr. Ahmet ÜÇER  Turkey 2003 - 2006
4 Dr. Greg Schneider  United States 2006 - 2009
5 MGen Albert Husniaux  Belgium 2009 - 2012

See also

  • The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP)


  1. Dr. Keith L. Gardner, Lt. Col Terry A. Franks"NATO's new Research and Technology Organization". NATO Review, Vol. 45 No. 1 (Jan. 1997), pp. 20-21
  2. RTO Brochure 2009.

Further reading

  • Theodore von Karman with Lee Edson. The wind and beyond: Theodore von Karman Pioneer in Aviation and Pathfinder in space. Little, Brown and Co., 1967, Library of congress Catalog card no. 67-11227.
  • Jan van der Bliek (Ed.). AGARD: The History 1952-1997. RTO, 1999, ISBN:92-836-1079-2.

External links