Accession Number:



Air Defense Integration and Interoperability Challenges within the NATO Alliance

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The ability to defend NATO allies from a regional adversary air attack in the low-medium threat category has become increasingly strained since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992. NATO has a limited capability and capacity to defend itself against the emerging air threats such as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, and traditional fixed and rotary wing platforms. US and NATO strategic guidance both direct interoperability and discuss the importance of interoperability and integration among the NATO alliance. The benefits of integration and interoperability allow the alliance to share the cost burden of expensive high-tech air defense weapon systems and enhance the alliances ability to defeat, deny, and disrupt enemy air threats. Though the guidance of integration and interoperability between alliance members is clear at the strategic level, implementation and execution at the tactical and operational levels are extremely problematic. The challenges associated with NATOs challenges to integrate the differing air defense weapon systems among the alliance are attributed to four primary obstacles. They are identified in the areas of technical integration due to diverse weapons systems, limited command and control data architecture, foreign disclosure processes and agreements and finally the national level of commitment to resource material interoperability. The guidance and direction of integration and interoperability between NATO allied countries is a sound concept in theory. The execution of integration and interoperability of differing air defense weapons systems is achievable during a bilateral training exercise through work arounds and ad hoc task organizations. These unique solutions are short lived and not a long-term or strategic solution to a holistic integrated air and missile defense network capable of defeating a regional air threat in an alliance as robust as NATO.

Subject Categories:

  • Antimissile Defense Systems
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]