Series AC/274 - Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS)

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Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS)


  • 1969 - 1980 (Creation)

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The AC/274 chronological series contains the records of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS). The CCMS is a standing committee established by the North Atlantic Council on 24 November 1969 (see C-R(69)49). The initial terms of reference from 17/11/1969 (AC/274-D/1) were revised on 01/08/2000. It reports on its activities to the Council annually (AC/274-D/1).The CCMS was one of the three scientific committees created by NATO in the 1950s and 1960s. The Committee worked in line with Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that "the Parties will promote conditions of stability and well-being". It was a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience on technical, scientific and environmental aspects of the social and environmental issues in both the civilian and military sectors in NATO countries. After 2000, its network was expanded to the Partner countries, and its activities were reoriented more toward the problems that could jeopardize peace and stability.The CCMS was chaired by the Assistant Secretary General of the division responsible for scientific and environmental affairs. Each participating country could determine the make-up of its participation. The committee was assisted, as required, by the relevant divisions of the International Staff (AC/274-D/1).The fundamental role of the CCMS was to supervise NATO's Environment and Society Programme, created on 28 January 1970 (C-R(70)5). The CCMS met twice a year to review general policy, discuss the various parts of the programme, discuss work under way and propose new work, and forward its annual report to the Council (AC/274-D/110). Member countries had to inform the Council and the Committee of steps taken to apply CCMS recommendations (AC/274-D/39).The staff officer for the topics of study was the contact person on the International Staff. Under the authority of the Assistant Secretary General, the staff officer was responsible for the coordination, the running and the centralization of the entire programme. The Staff Officer prepared the meetings of the Committee, its panels and its working groups, liaised with the other science organizations (including the SCOM) and oversaw the CCMS public relations policy (BC-D(70)11).Throughout its existence, there were four parts to the programme: the pilot study, the ad hoc short-term project, the workshop or seminar, and the research fellowship. The pilot study created on 28 January 1970 (C-R(70)5) was by far the most important. Pilot studies lasted several years (usually three to five). The results were available to everyone. The topic of the pilot study could be suggested by a Member country or by the Committee itself (AC/274-WP/2). Research focused on environmental or societal issues, including pollution, noise, urban problems, energy, health and defence-related environmental problems.Starting in 1970, it was mandatory for a final report to be drafted, but it was only in 1974 that the procedure was clearly and definitively established (AC/274-D/39-REV2).The pilot study had to involve at least five partners of which two had to be Member countries after 1997. It was funded by the lead nation and the co-leads (AC/274-D/2). The pilot study could be punctuated by annual workshops or international conferences held in each participating country in turn. During the 1990s, problems emerged that led to a progressive decline in the programme: the portion of participants from Member countries decreased, some partner countries had hesitations, or there was overlap between the activities of the Science Committee (SCOM) and the CCMS.The proposed solution was a merger of the two committees into a single Science for Peace and Security Committee (SPS or AC/328). This merger, which entered into force on 28 June 2006, marked the end of the CCMS and its NATO's Environment and Society Programme.

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The archives of the AC/274 chronological series report on the work of the CCMS, in particular follow-up of the various programmes supported by the Committee. Various types of administrative documents can be found there.

Records (R) are reports on the regular or plenary meetings of the CCMS. They address either general policy matters or the review of the pilot study programme over a given period. They are the committee’s reference documents.

Documents (D) present the cycle of activities of each Committee actor. For the CCMS itself: annual activity reports. For the pilot studies: proposals on new studies, status reports, final reports. For conferences: proposals and findings. For the fellowship programme: annual reports.

Notes (N) are organizational in nature. They bring the Committee's organizational chart up to date (choice of project administrator, make-up of the secretariat, list of liaison officers). They offer a three-monthly overall status report on the pilot studies under way or on one in particular. They announce publications and distributions of documentation. They prepare forthcoming meetings (planning, list of participants, agenda).

Working papers (WP) present a given country's proposals for a new pilot study (for example) or a change to the working procedure.

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System of arrangement

The documents are arranged by type - Document (D), Decision Sheet (DS), Note (N), Record/Summary Record (R) and Working Paper (WP).

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Conditions governing access

NATO publicly disclosed information is available for research and education purposes. Any commercial use requires the written permission of NATO. Please credit the NATO Archives should any documents be used for publication. Guidelines for the proper citation of NATO publicly disclosed information can be found on the NATO Archives website (

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The records were circulated in NATO’s two official languages, English and French.

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