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10 31 2022

Agency experts deliver critical network to NATO Partners

On 18 October 2022, the NCI Agency achieved Final System Acceptance for a new NATO Partners Network (NPN), which serves Partners located in Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).

The new system is a modern replacement of the old Partnership for Peace Information Management System (PIMS). This significant endeavour was brought together by an effort from Core Enterprise Services (CES), NATO Digital Workplace (NDW), NATO Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Network Services and IT Infrastructure (NSII).

The new NPN system contributes to the three essential core tasks of the Alliance: deterrence and defence; crisis prevention and management; and cooperative security. It enables the Partnership Directorate (PD) at SHAPE to perform improved collaboration, coordination and information sharing with Partners at NATO Unclassified level.

More specifically, it supports Supreme Allied Commander Europe's (SACEUR) intent to develop, maintain and strengthen NATO's relationships with its Partners with a view to enhance mutual trust and confidence between military authorities.

The new network will enhance military cooperation with Partners whose security interests are aligned with NATO's by facilitating their participation in NATO missions and operations, including the NATO Response Force (NRF).

Agency experts deliver critical network to NATO Partners

"One of the most important drivers of the NPN network was security. That means assurance that the data shared with Partners is available only to the right Partner at the right time in an auditable way," said Nikolaos Chalkias, Senior Project Manager at the Agency.

The system received from Allied Command Operations (ACO) an Interim Authorization to Operate in March 2022 and is expected to reach full accreditation in the first quarter of 2023.

The NPN provides four main services: 

  1. An advanced collaborative platform called NPN Document Management System (NDMS) allowing NATO Unclassified documents to be shared based on SharePoint and Exchange technologies; 
  2. A mobility solution to extend the network outside SHAPE geographical boundaries via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) (reach back capabilities), authenticated through certificates issued by the unclassified interim NATO Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI); 
  3. Badge controlled follow-me printing capability allowing users to be able to print securely their documents; and 
  4. Strong cyber security elements using the NATO Cyber Security Centre.

The NPN also provides direct access to the internet with separate infrastructure, so that Partners can use their own national Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) equipment. All the connectivity of the NPN to the internet is provided and supported by another Agency service, the Public Internet Access (PIA) Gateway including Boundary Protection Systems.