Series AC/260 - Senior Communications-Electronics Group

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Senior Communications-Electronics Group


  • 1966 - 1969 (Creation)

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Administrative history

The AC/260 chronological series contain the documents of the Senior Communications-Electronics Group. In a 29th June, 1966 meeting, the United States made a statement to the Council on the topic of communication satellites (see C-R(66)30). The US suggested, based on the potential needs of NATO’s future communication system, that a part of the United States Advanced Defence Communication Satellite Program might be made available for NATO purposes. Additionally, it was suggested NATO should make a co-operative effort in the research and development of Ground Terminals. This statement lead to a briefing by the US at a 28th September Council Meeting (C-R(66)52) where the Council came to a general agreement of the direction in which a group would work, and would await a paper by the International Staff that would propose a decision for the Council on the creation of a Senior Communications-Electronics Group, its Terms of Reference and its co-ordination with existing NATO bodies. On the 5th October Meeting, the Council approved the creation of the interim Group, as described in PO/66/457, with an open-ended term, to be eventually converted into a permanent high-level communications, electronics policy committee. The main task for the Senior Communications-Electronics (C-E) Group was to make recommendations on the desirability of establishing a NATO Communications Satellite Programme and propose how that programme could be carried out with respect to legal aspects and cost sharing. The proposals to the Council by the US consisted of three phases: Phase I to test and evaluate satellite communications, Phase II to acquire one or two synchronous satellites in order to service unique and vital communication needs of NATO (which would include the acquisition by NATO of some ten ground terminals) and Phase III for NATO participation in the United States ADCSP. With these proposals in mind, the Senior C-E Group addressed the complex technical, legal and financial contributions required for the Programme. Through the next few years, detailed plans for Phases I and II were developed and presented to the Council and the Defence Planning Committee. Such elements addressed included the procurement of Ground Terminals both in North America and many European countries, progress reports for the Phase implementation, and the consultation of a NATO-Wide Communications System for use in times of tension and crisis. On 6th October 1967, the Terms of Reference for the Group were expanded (See AC/260-D/29), based on recommendations to Council by the Study Group on Reorganization (See C-R(67)41). The new Terms of Reference included NATO’s civil communications whose requirements, which still needed to be assessed, could ultimately be co-ordinated with those of the military. The Group continued to produce detailed documents outlining Phase II of the Programme and the co-ordination of NATO civil and military communications. In a progress report on 24th June 1969 (AC/260-D/92), the Group reported that no slippage was expected in the date of the launch of the first satellite (January 1970). In an 18th July 1969 meeting, the Defence Planning Committee agreed to the establishment of a Joint NATO Communications and Electronics Committee as proposed by the Group in AC/260-DS/4. This committee would become responsible for the tasks that were being undertaken by the Senior C-E Group, and thus the Senior C-E Group would be rendered obsolete and would be disestablished.

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Scope and content

Documents in the AC/260 series address the creation and scope of the Senior Communications-Electronics Group. The series contains Documents, Decision Sheets, Notes, Records and Working Papers detailing the legal, financial and technical aspects of a NATO Satellite Programme.

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The documents are arranged by type - Document (D), Decision Sheet (DS), Note (N), 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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The chronological document series produced by the Senior Communications-Electronics Group was initially created and stored on paper. The documents were subsequently microfilmed and then digitized, and the originals were destroyed.

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