The OCC was endorsed by Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit in 1999. Taking into account lessons learned and practical experience gained from NATO-led operations, the OCC seeks to improve the interoperability of partner forces, reinforce their operational capabilities and enable the Alliance to put together tailored force packages to mount and sustain NATO-led Crisis Response Operations as well as any other NATO-led operations. At the Wales Summit in 2014, Heads of State and Government decided to evolve NATO's partnership frameworks with a more differentiated approach. The result was the:
- Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PlI)
- Enhanced Opportunities Partners (EOP)
- Defence and Related Security Capacity Building (DCB).
Following active use and development since 2005, the OCC today comprises several mechanisms and elements (pillars), described in the paragraph 3-2, of which OCC E&F Programme is the most important and complex one. The aim of the OCC E&F Programme is to improve the levels of interoperability and operational capabilities of partner units in order to enhance the operational relationship between the Alliance and partners contributing to NATO-led operations and to the NATO Response Force (NRF),. The Programme also supports transformation of partners' national defence forces and continues to act as a catalyst between force planning and operational planning to NATO's training, exercise and certification processes, where partner nations' contributions are reflected. The OCC Section in the Coordination and Integration Division (COI) of the Bi-SC Military Partnerships Directorate (MPD) is tasked with dministration of all aspects of the OCC appropriate to the military strategic level. Bi-SC MPD/COI/OCC is referred to as the OCC Section throughout the handbook.
Pillars of the OCC
The OCC is based on four pillars covering a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from the political and military strategic to tactical level.
a. The OCC Pool of Forces and Capabilities (PoF) is a list of units that partners declared to NATO as potentially available for participation in NATO exercises and operations, including NRF. The PoF is maintained by the OCC Section. The OCC Section also accumulates considerable information on the evaluations and performance of the units. This information is shared within NATO Command Structure (NCS) on a strict need-to-know basis only;
b. Peacetime Working Relationship is a scope of daily working relations and lines of communications between NATO and partners as well as between partners themselves. This includes establishment of working organisations with points of contact; partner contributions with personnel to the NCS; cooperation among partners, including sharing expertise, evaluators, etc., in support of the OCC E&F Programme;
c. OCC Evaluation and Feedback (OCC E&F) Programme is the two level evaluation process, which includes a self-evaluation (SEL) and a NATO evaluation (NEL) conducted on each level. Level 1 evaluations primarily focus on interoperability, while level 2 ones concentrate on capabilities (mission accomplishment); and
d. Enabling mechanisms are the fora and arrangements to evolve the OCC by bilateral (NATO-partner) and multilateral (among partners) cooperation on a legal and political, such as military-strategic, basis.