NATO CIS School

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The NATO Communications and Information Systems School, (NCISS), is the School that provides formal technical training for NATO on certain Communication and information Systems (CIS) deployed on operations or exercises by the Alliance. NCISS operates as a training establishment for both NATO Strategic Commands and since 2004 it is responsible to the NATO CIS Services Agency (NCSA), in consultation with Allied Command Transformation (ACT).

The NCISS is due to be transferred from its present location in Latina, Italy to Oeiras, Portugal.

Historical notes

It was created in 1959 as a Contractor Training Facility to conduct ACE HIGH instruction, the school was hosted by an Italian Air Force Base in Latina (at that time the Centro Tecnico Addestrativo Difesa Aerea – CTA-DA), with the transformation of the Alliance was later modified to become the present day NATO Communications and Information Systems School.

In January 1963 Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) assumed full control of this still relatively small facility and recruited NATO civilian instructional staff to replace those of the civil contractor. In 1964 the training responsibility was extended into the area of Command and Control with the introduction of the "Status, Control Alert and Reporting System" (SCARS). The facility at this time was named the "SHAPE Centralised Training Facility" (SCTF). A further expansion occurred in the early 1970s with the addition to the training curriculum of Satellite Communications (SATCOM).

In April 1974 the title of the SCTF was changed to "NATO Communications School Latina" (NCS). To satisfy the increasing requirements arising from NATO's Integrated Communications System (NICS) concept, a project for a custom built training facility was initiated in 1976. This project called for a facility comprising a training and administrative building and a separate student accommodation block. The new complex was opened in 1983. It enabled the School to take on additional training associated with NICS such as TARE, IVSN and TCF, and allowed the School to cater for future developments within NATO CIS.

The School entered the area of Officer Training in the late 1970s with courses for NATO CIS Staff Officers, Officers CIS Orientation, Communications Security Officers and ADP Site/Terminal Area Security Officers.

On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary in 1989 the School was renamed "NATO Communications and Information Systems School" (NCISS) since with the introduction and increased use of specific Command and Control Information Systems within NATO, a requirement arose for software engineering and programming. In the 1990s the School entered the area of ADP, project management and information systems training, part of it being offered as off-site courses throughout NATO Europe.

In October 1994, the first CIS Officers' Course for Cooperation Partner (CP) Nations was conducted at Latina. This course is now included in our annual training schedule. The School successfully introduced Computer Assisted Training (CAT) modules on all its courses and analyzed the parameters for future contractor produced CAT and Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) programmes.

Additionally, in the last ten years, the lessons learned from NATO operations introduced the requirement of more deployable and mobile systems, to which the relative training is now being conducted in Latina.

Concurrently, in 2004 the NATO CIS Services Agency (NCSA) was established within NATO, with the mission to ensure the provision of secure "end-to-end" information exchange services required for NATO Consultation, Command, and Control (NC3) functions, using fielded communications and information systems in the most cost-effective manner, and the School was put under its organisation.

In the recent past and to date, the School is challenged with supplementary training, as a result of NATO involvement in "Beyond NATO's Area of Responsibility" operations.

School organization

  • NCISS Commandant - This post is assigned to an Italian Air Force Colonel. However, in the past it was covered also by Officers from other Nations. The name Commandant was first adopted when Mr Robert J. Pinoteau, a contractor first and then a NATO civilian who was a former French Navy Commandant, was appointed as the first Training Facility Director, in 1964. Since then, also when in 1971 the School was under the responsibility of the first military Colonel (Col. RNLA Theodore De Bie) the name has remained, also because, being the School hosted on an Italian Air Force Base, in Italian language the appointment of the Head of a Military Body is pronounced "Comandànte".
  • Chief of staff and command group - They are responsible of the coordination of the activities assigned to the two Branches of the School, and take care of the planning and policy, either for works and for the training aspects. Additionally they also manage the System Approach to Training (SAT) methodology.
  • Training branch - Core business of the School, the Training Branch is responsible for all training aspects at NCISS. It is composed of a Training Management office, responsible for the student administration, and the instructors are divided into some specific Subject Matter Expert Pools.
  • Support branch - As far as the support to a typical military Unit is concerned, this is taken care of by the Support Branch. Its area of responsibility covers mainly financial, logistics, security, Information Technology and Personnel aspects.

Mission

  • Provide cost-effective highly developed formal training to personnel (military & civilian) from NATO as well as Non-NATO Nations for the efficient operation and maintenance of those NATO Communication and Information Systems assigned to NCISS for instruction.
  • Conduct orientation and management training on NATO CIS for selected (Staff) personnel.

Within the Systems Approach to Training Methodology conduct Course Design and Development and Internal Evaluation for those courses assigned to and delivered by NCISS and, when requested by ACT (JET) or NCSA HQ, provide assistance with the External Evaluation process Contribute professional expertise to NATO projects and related training matters.

Training

In accordance with NATO mission and NCSA guiding principles and in the framework of NATO System Approach to Training methodology, the School today delivers cost-effective advanced formal training to military and civilian personnel from the NATO Nations and PfP/MD/ICI to obtain efficient operations and maintenance of NATO Communications and Information Systems training on NATO CIS.

Additionally, it conducts orientation courses and management training on NATO CIS for selected (Staff) personnel and contributes with its professional expertise to NATO projects for training related matters. Recently, with the introduction of e-learning methodology, the School has also expanded the way training is delivered, associating the newly born Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) to the traditional theoretical training in the classrooms and the practical hands-on in the laboratories, which is the added value of the School. Furthermore, even more requested is the off-site training, especially in Theatre of Operations, and the training on deployable, transportable and scalable systems, that is unavoidably the most flexible and efficient answer for the future of NATO operations.

The courses, covering both static systems and deployable communications equipment, are subject to continuous development and improvement to meet the new tasks assigned to NATO in Out-of-Area contingency operations, with emphasis on mobility and interfacing with national defence networks.

Training in Latina, using state-of-the art systems employing advanced techniques, and the professionalism of its instructors have also granted recognition to the School as an accredited CISCO Academy. Furthermore, NCISS is frequently available as a forum for important meetings and seminars, to increase knowledge and share experience.

NCISS's offers more than 90 different courses and over 370 sessions are scheduled. The courses, of various duration up to 6 weeks, range from the Communication area (SATCOM, DLOS, COM Systems, BME/NCN, Video Tele Conferencing, etc.), to the Information Systems (Functional Area Sub-Systems, MCCIS, AIFS, Geo-spatial IS, WISE, etc.), and the Security on Communications/AIS (Compusec, Information Assurance, Crypto, PTC, Cyber Defense, etc.) or simply on specific equipment (Fiber Optics, Crypto Devices, HF Radios, etc.) or even tailored on particular requirements (e.g. Frequency Management for Theatre of Operations, etc.).

The School response to NATO exercises and especially to SFOR, KFOR and ISAF operations, some of which even with short notice, was decisive for the deployment of qualified technicians and engineers in the new Theatres of Operation. Consequently, the overall student throughput is in continuous increase by a factor of about 15-20% a year.

School motto

The NCISS motto is "Sapére Aude" which is Latin for "dare to know".

External links

  • Official website
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