In December 2009, the Chief of General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces declared to the Supreme Allied Command Transformation (SACT) the initiative of creating a Military Police Centre of Excellence on the territory of Poland. In response to the offer, the Commander of the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) accepted the concept for the NATO MP COE, with Poland as the framework nation. The NATO MP COE was to be an independent International Military Organisation which open to all NATO countries and PfP countries.
What is a Centre of Excellence (COE)? By definition the COEs are predominantly multinationally sponsored organisations that provide NATO with a tool to enhance interoperability in specific areas. The COEs operate as independent centres under the direction and guidance of a Steering Committee. The centres are not placed in the C2 of the NATO Command Structure. HQ SACT`s Transformation Network Branch (TNB) is responsible for coordination of the COE and for providing it with the annual request for support on behalf of NATO.
The COEs provide tangible improvement to NATO and nations by developing new capabilities. The centres do not duplicate any existing NATO core functionalities and competences, but may improve and expand the capacities that already exist within NATO Command Arrangement. The NATO MP COE conforms to appropriate NATO procedures, doctrines and standards. It can put forward improvements and propose amendments to doctrines, procedures and standards. The COEs, in their Programme of Work, are focused on transformation and interoperability. They are platforms for expertise, subject matter experts and cohesive organisations to experiment, prepare, develop and disseminate products of experience of alliance`s troops at every level. Their level of work ranges from the tactical up to the strategic one and they work to establish a common multinational and joint perspective in their areas of interest. COEs are co-ordinated by SACT in a supporting network, thereby encouraging internal and external information exchange to the benefit of the alliance. SACT's subordinate entities participate in this network, as well as in other networks. Moreover, specialists or subject matter experts are included in the network. A close relationship between the COE and the appropriate agencies, schools of non-NATO countries and external entities is highly desirable in order to avoid duplication of effort and to fully profit from the synergy that can be reached by working in close harmony.
Poland has offered to establish the NATO Military Police Centre of Excellence in order to enhance the NATO's military police or gendarmerie interoperability. Poland is the framework nation. The NATO MP COE is located in Bydgoszcz. The COE's mission is to enhance the MP capability of NATO and its member nations in order to support military transformation, the SNs and other customers, thus improving the alliance's interoperability in the field of MP. The NATO MP COE harmonises its mission with the efforts of other national and NATO entities in enhancing the MP capabilities.
The NATO MP COE focuses on but does not limit its activities to the cooperative aspects of MP in support of the NATO Strategic Concept and current or future operations in the following core areas:
- Doctrine and Concept Development
- Education and Training
- Research and Development
- Analysis and Lessons Learned
COEs maintain relationship with SCs, NATO agencies and NATO schools.
These relationships are managed by sponsoring nations, at the same time keeping SACT informed and taking security aspects into account. The Director of the NATO MP COE is subordinated only to the Steering Committee which consists of a framework nation, sponsoring nations and HQ SACT representatives (a SACT representative is only an observer and advisor with no rights to vote). The MP COE works in close cooperation with SACT through the Transformation Network Coordination Cell and supports national military police or gendarmerie.