On 23 May 2017, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, NCI Agency General Manager Koen Gijsbers and top Portuguese officials marked the start of construction of a prestigious NATO training facility in Oeiras, Portugal.
The NCI Academy will provide expert training to civilian and military staff from NATO and its member countries on the Alliance's advanced IT and cyber systems, both software and hardware. Operators trained in the Academy will go on to man NATO's IT and communications systems, as well as its air, ballistic and cyber defences.
"We are breaking ground on the construction of an Academy that will be a pillar of a modern, future-ready NATO," said the General Manager in his opening speech, "The Academy will be a hub and incubator for Industry, academia and vendors involved in training technology."
Not only will the subject matter taught at the Academy be cutting-edge. The facility itself will be state-of-the-art, with advanced technology connecting it to training locations in Nations, Industry and Academia.
Once fully operational, in the third quarter of 2019, it will replace several Agency training facilities, including the NATO Communications and Information Systems School in Latina, Italy, and the Air Command and Control Training School in Glons, Belgium.
A breathtaking location
Construction works, worth around 20 million EUR and funded entirely by NATO's Security Investment Programme (NSIP), are set to be completed in October 2018.
The public tender, approved by the Portuguese Council of Ministers in June 2016, was won by Mota-Engil, Engenharia e Construção S.A, a major construction company in Portugal. The contract for the construction was signed in March 2017 by the Portuguese Ministry of Defence and the company.
The contract foresees the construction of a 13,000sqm building. These facilities will be built within the scenic Compound Reduto Gomes Freire, in Oeiras, Portugal, the former home of Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon, which currently hosts NATO's Naval Striking and Support Forces, a detachment of the Alliance's Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre and a national Portuguese command.
The building of the Academy is part of the overall process of streamlining NATO's IT facilities, launched in 2012.