natophoto81At the crossroads of informal intelligence sharing and institutional streamlining

Bob de Graaff
(Professor for intelligence and security studies at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands)

Copyright: Atlantisch Perspectief (Academic Journal (6-2017) - published in the Netherlands. Publication in RIEAS web site ( on 21 January 2018

In public parlance NATO intelligence for a long time seemed to be an oxymoron. And indeed, in spite of inter alia the existence of both a Civilian and a Military Intelligence Committee a civilian Intelligence Unit, a military Intelligence Division, a Situation Center and, since 2003, a Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit, lack of trust and a common culture among the member states obviated large-scale intelligence sharing. NATO intelligence was more or less US intelligence, in as far as the US was willing to share intelligence with its partners. The appointment of Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven as NATO’s first Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security in late 2016 must have come as a surprise to many and should be a clear sign of the recognition of today’s relevance of intelligence to NATO’s alliance. However, NATO has been involved in (counter) intelligence much longer than often thought. James L. Mader’s Ph.D. dissertation about NATO’s 450th Counterintelligence Detachment in the 1950s, which he defended at the University of Utrecht on November 28, 2017, shows that NATO multilateral (counter ) intelligence cooperation has existed much longer than people often think. Read more