The ability to work together is more important than ever for the Alliance. States need to share a common set of standards, especially among military forces, to carry out multinational operations. By helping to achieve interoperability among NATO’s forces, as well as with those of its partners, standardization allows for more efficient use of resources and thus enhances the Alliance’s operational effectiveness.

Criteria for a non-NATO standard hardware

  • Have implementations from a cross-section of vendors available;
  • Be utilized by the broader user community;
  • Be developed in a consensus-based way;
  • Be free from any legal issues (i.e. intellectual property rights);
  • Meet NATO requirements;
  • Be easily accessible to vendors;
  • Have an open architecture, e.g. extensible for new technological developments,
  • Be compatible with other NATO-agreed standards;
  • Be stable (mostly recognized by related community/industry) and mature enough in terms of technology;
  • Be measurable in terms of its compliance.


The ability to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Allied tactical, operational and strategic objectives.


NATO standardization is the development and implementation of concepts, doctrines and procedures to achieve and maintain the required levels of compatibility, interchangeability or commonality needed to achieve interoperability.

Standardization affects the operational, procedural, material and administrative fields. This includes a common doctrine for planning a campaign, standard procedures for transferring supplies between ships at sea, and interoperable material such as fuel connections at airfields. It permits NATO countries to work together, as well as with their partners, preventing duplication and promoting better use of economic resources.

A document, established by consensus and approved by a recognised body which provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.
NATO Standardization Agreement
A Standardization Agreement (STANAG) is a NATO standardization document that specifies the agreement of member nations to implement a standard, in whole or in part, with or without reservation, in order to meet an interoperability requirement.