About common projects

Gerard ELZINGA, NATO Headquarters C3 Staff, Head, Spectrum & C3 Infrastructure Branch
18 July, 2018 - 16:11
What is NATO - Ukraine Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) Trust Fund?

At the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO Allies established a comprehensive and tailored package of measures in support of Ukraine. One of these measures is a Trust Fund on Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4). The C4 Trust Fund assists Ukraine in modernising its C4 structures and capabilities by enhancing Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security. It promotes the interoperability of these structures with the Alliance, facilitating Ukraine’s participation and contribution to NATO-led operations and exercises.

Trust Fundis multi-nationally (10 nations) funded and led by Lead nations. The Lead Nations for the C4 Trust Fund are Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Lead Nations provide the Governance to the C4 trust Fund and decide on the projects to be implemented under the respective Trust Fund. The actual implementation of the C4 Trust Fund is done by the NATO Communication and Information Agency (NCI Agency) that manages the identified projects to achieve the goals of the C4 Trust Fund.

Prior to the start of the implementation of the C4 Trust Fund, a C4 Trust Fund Feasibility Study was conducted. The aim of this study was to assess the current C4 situation within the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Security Services. This study started end 2014 and ran until early 2016. A final study report was submitted in June 2016. During the study phase, interviews were conducted with representatives from the Armed Forces and Security Services. In addition many facilities were visited to obtain an in-depth knowledge of the C4 situation in Ukraine. This results were reflected in the report that also contained a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat (SWOT) Analysis Services. Based on all of the input and the SWOT analysis, the Report concludes by defining 4 projects that would enhance Ukraine’s C4 Capabilities and as well as increase interoperability with NATO.

The four identified projects were:

  • Knowledge Sharing;

  • Regional Airspace Security (RASP);

  • Secure Tactical Communications;

  • Shared Situational Awareness.


The Lead Nations agreed that these projects should be pursued and awaited project implementation proposals from the NCI Agency


This project is all about the exchange of information between NATO and Ukraine with the aim to share the collective knowledge and best practices of NATO and NATO nations with Ukraine. The knowledge and best practices are reflected in various policies, directives, guidances and standards that have already been developed by the Alliance over the course of many years. These documents help to shape a common understanding and offer an approach to the various challenges that Ukraine is facing. Topics that are addressed concern organizational structures, sharing and delegating responsibilities to the lowest possible levels. Other topics that are being addressed under this project are C3 Interoperability and how that is achieved within NATO, IT Service Management, Information and Knowledge Management. Especially the latter is of prime interest as the information in Ukraine is very much stove piped and centralized. This does not allow for rapid information exchange and consequently rapid decision making. This project also allows Ukrainian C4 personnel to have direct access toNATO experts that have proven their worth in helping out with technical problems. The project is conducted through Workshops, Courses that are generally held in Ukraine. During these Workshops and Courses, interactive sessions are set up that allow Ukrainian representatives to engage in discussions with NATO experts. Whereas initially the lead was with NATO, recently Project Teams have been set up to address specific topics (e.g. Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Federated Networking) that are Ukraine led but supported by NATO. In a number of cases Ukrainian Representatives have been in a position to attend NATO events outside Ukraine, this included attending a Cyber Security Cyber School, the Allied Command Transformation Enterprise Architecture Hackathon, the TIDE Sprint. Of particular interest is the Ukrainian participation of Ukrainian Teams in the NATO organized Hackathons; Ukrainian teams won multiple prizes in the various challenges and as such have proven that there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise available in Ukraine. As such, NATO also learns from Ukraine.


 As a result of the success and experiences gained by Ukraine at the NATO led hackathons, Ukraine took the initiative to set-up a national Hackathon that would involve that Ukrainian Armed Forces and Security Services. Through the NATO Ukraine C4 Trust Fund Knowledge Sharing Project this event is sponsored and NATO Subject Matter Experts will be present to support this initiative. Apart from developing solutions to the challenges that can be implemented, the Hackathon also serves to bring the various representatives from the Armed Forces and Security Services together that will help to support the interaction between the various organisations. This will be beneficial in many ways in particular by increasing interoperability and by sharing information and knowledge.


 The RASP addresses cross-border coordination capabilities for Ukraine for the handling of air security incidents and promote regional airspace cooperation improving internal civil/military coordination. It aims at enabling permanent and real-time connectivity with neighboring countries to provide early notification and coordination on airspace threats, security incidents and suspicious aircrafts.This will enhance Airspace management, safety and security. Furthermore, it allows sharing of air pictures from radars, enables direct voice coordination and the adoption of joint handling procedures. In February 2016, a successful RASP Pathfinder demonstration has been performed in Vinnytsia, establishing a temporary connectivity with existing units in Ankara and Warsaw. The Pathfinder demonstration has showcased the exchange of air traffic information between Poland, Turkey and Ukraine, as well as enabled direct voice communication. A Feasibility Study has been conducted to enable full implementationof ATM (Air Traffic Management) units in Ukraine, this is approved by the C4 Trust Fund Lead Nations and implementation is planned. The project consists of two parts; an upgrade of existing sites in Bodo (Norway), Warsaw (Poland) and Ankara (Turkey) and the installation of new sites in Lviv, Vinnitsia and Odessa. The US Federal Aviation Administrationfunds the upgrade project as a contribution to the C4 Trust Fund, the remainder comes from within the C4 Trust Fund budgets. Although approved, a separate legal agreement with Eurocontrol is required. This agreement is now finalized, agreed by NATO and Eurocontrol and requires a formal signature to allow for implementation. This is expected to occur over the summer period 2018, after which the implementation will be planned and executed.


The Ukrainian Armed Forces are lacking modern Secure Tactical Communications Equipment. During the C4 Feasibility Study it was assessed that a project providing this type of equipment would help to resolve the identified shortfall. Initially the focus was on a typical military-grade tactical radio. As the Armed Forces were already provided with large numbers of these radios through bi-lateral agreements, the project re-focused on other tactical level radios that could be used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Security Services. The project, that has been approved by the Lead Nations, is now in the process of procuring secure terminals (radios and short-burst data devices) that use satellite communications to communicate with each other. It is a flexible low-cost highly secure solution. Initially, and through the C4 Trust Fund, it will be provided to the Armed Forces. As a result of the low-cost of the system, increasing the number of devices to the Armed Forces and/or providing it also to other security services, can be considered by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and or other Ministries. This will improve the interoperability between the various organisations. Expected delivery, training and implementation will take place in the second half of 2018.


An identified shortfall between the Armed Forces and Security Services is the availability of a Common Operational Picture. As such there is no common understanding of the operational situation between the Armed Forces and Security Services. This will limit and delay the decision making. To help building a Common Operational Picture and to increase Shared Situational Awareness this projectis aimed at providing the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Security Services with Situational Awareness Tools that are developed and in use by NATO supporting operations and exercises. These Tools can also be used on a national basis. By using the NATO developed tools, Ukrainian personnel will familiarize themselves with it and, when deployed in a NATO-led operation, are able to immediately use these tools and communicate and share information with other NATO and Non-NATO nations involved in the operations and exercises. The project proposal, for approval by the lead nations, is currently on hold due to a re-orientation of the project.