About MCDC

Leveraging multinational capability

From October 2012 to November 2014, a group of Nations and NATO are collaborating on the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC) with the theme of "Combined Operational Access". MCDC is designed to develop and introduce new capabilities to enhance the coalition force's operational effectiveness in joint, interagency, multinational, and coalition operations.

ACT is in the lead for the Autonomous Systems Focus Area, the purpose of which is to develop comprehensive policy guidelines for senior policy-makers, defense planners, operational planners and industry, to steer the technical development, operational employment, multinational interoperability, and understanding of legal issues concerning Autonomous Systems capabilities in gaining combined operational access in a variety of peace and conflict scenarios.

An Autonomous System is one that is able to complete a task or execute a function without human intervention using a variety of intelligent behaviours, which may include reasoning and problem solving, adaptation to unexpected situations, self-direction, and learning. Which system functions are autonomous, and the extent to which human operators can direct, control or cancel autonomous operation of a function, is determined by system design trade-offs, mission complexity, external operating environment conditions, and legal or policy constraints.

The forum supports a study conducted by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation on the Operational and Policy Implications of Autonomous Systems. The study explores and analyses operational and policy issues in order to provide senior policy makers with guidance on future implications of increasing autonomisation in defence capability.