Upon request by several Nations during the last Chief Information Officers (CIO) meeting, the NCI Agency hosted 29-30 April a workshop on the legal models available for cooperation with the Agency.
Twenty-six representatives from eleven NATO states, two Partner nations, European Defence Agency and European Space Agency attended the workshop. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Agency Supervisory Board, Mr Timothy Harp joined the workshop for a couple of its sessions.
The NCI Agency Chief of Staff, MGEN Luis Andrey opened the workshop and greeted the participants on behalf of the General Manager. He provided a brief overview of the NCI Agency, its role for Connecting Forces and its main strategic priorities.
MGEN Andrey was followed by the NATO Legal Adviser, Mr Steven Hill who addressed the participants by elaborating on the NCI Agency in the legal NATO context and the specifics of sharing the NATO international and juridical personality.
The workshop continued with the NCI Agency Legal Adviser, Ms Simona Rocchi, who provided more legal specifics on the NCI Organisation and its Executive body the NCI Agency. Furthermore, she described the available frameworks for bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the NCI Agency as per the NCI Organisation Charter. Ms Rocchi emphasized the status of the NCI Agency which shares the NATO legal personality leading to agreements under public international law. The Agency, therefore, is different from a commercial organizations where relations are governed by private international law. She explained the differences between the NATO acquisition rules and procedures followed by the NCI Agency and the ones followed by other international organizations and highlighted the options available in that respect for non-NATO countries.
The NCI Agency Chief Finance Business Management Mr Rui da Silva explained the specifics of the customer funded aspects of the NCI Agency and the requirements for advance transfer of funds by the NCI Agency counterparts in case of cooperation.
The afternoon sessions during the first day were devoted to the specifics of cooperating with the NCI Agency. The Senior Assistant Legal Adviser Ms Kerstin Müller and the Principle Account Manager Nations from Demand Management Mr Xavier Desfougères elaborated on the different available models and formats for bilateral cooperation with the NCI Agency. The Assistant Legal Adviser Mr Vincent Roobaert and Principal Account Manager Multinational Projects from Demand Management Ms Agata Szydelko introduced to the participants the available and planned projects for the multinational cooperation, as well as the legal framework structuring such projects.
The second day was opened by a brief by the Assistant Legal Adviser Captain Jean-Luc Prevoteau on the practical example of a successful multinational cooperation in a deployed environment and its future use for Connecting Forces also in peace time, namely the transition from the Afghanistan Mission Network into the Federated Mission Network. This presentation was followed by a brief on the staffing process within NCI Agency by the Assistant Legal Adviser Ms Milena Dicheva. The last session was on the cooperation model as specified in the NCI Organisation Charter, related to C&I Partnerships. The Assistant Legal Adviser Mr Vincent Roobaert provided the participants with an overview of the possible legal frameworks for execution of this model and this was followed by a lively discussion on Nations' view for the prospective way ahead.
NCI Agency Legal office and the representatives from several Nations and an international organization decided to use the opportunity and have bilateral sessions during the workshop. During these meetings, legal matters specific to the cooperation of NCI Agency and the given Nation/organization were further discussed and elaborated on.
The workshop was an excellent venue to enhance collaboration with and amongst lawyers from the Nations' Ministries of Defence, who work on the legal aspects of C&I cooperation with NATO and the NCI Agency.