The Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers, commonly referred to by its French acronym CIOR, represents the interests of approximately 1 million reservists across 36 participating nations within and beyond NATO, making it the world’s largest military reserve officer organization.
Founded in 1948 by the reserve officer associations of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, CIOR is now a NATO-affiliated, non-political and non-profit umbrella organization of member nations’ national reserve officer associations.
The CIOR meets twice a year – in the summer and winter – and they work through committees that examine issues and provide analysis relating to reserve forces. Typical issues of interest include the contribution of reserve forces to international operations, the re-integration of reservists within their respective communities following deployment abroad, the law of armed conflict, the impact of NATO expansion on the Reserves, and employer support to reservists.
In addition to their roles as reserve officers, many individual delegates of CIOR are highly accomplished business and industrial leaders, public servants and academics. They are therefore in a unique position to contribute to a better understanding of security and defence issues in the population as a whole, as well as bringing civilian expertise and experience to the tasks and challenges facing reserve forces in NATO.
The CIOR is structured around a constitution that provides for a rotating presidency, a CIOR Executive Council comprised of vice-presidents of participating nations, key committees and several annual events that promote training, education and professional development. The presidential term is two years in length. Norway currently holds the presidency and will hand over the presidency to France in Summer 2012.
CIOR committees include the Defence Attitudes and Security Issues Committee (DEFSEC), Civil / Military Cooperation Committee (CIMIC), Military Competitions Committee (MILCOMP), Legal Committee, Partnership for Peace & Outreach Committee (PfP&O), Language Academy Committee, Winter Seminar Committee, and the Young Reserve Officers Workshop Committee (YROW).
The CIOR has two main roles: to provide advice on Reserve issues and support to the NATO Alliance, and to foster the professional development of reserve officers.
Support to NATO
Advice to NATO on Reserve issues: CIOR is a voice for reserve issues to the NATO Alliance and provides advice on the best utilization of reserve forces in a variety of operational settings, in addition to studying and promoting harmonization in the roles, duties and rights of reservists in Allied nations. CIOR also directly contributes to NATO’s goals by promoting and enhancing cooperation and interoperability amongst reserve forces within the Alliance and its partners.
Enabler to NATO Transformation: Transformation in NATO means coordinating this effort within an Alliance of 26 sovereign nations, navigating the challenges posed by the diversity of military cultures, languages, geo-political considerations, unique national security concerns, and economic factors. CIOR brings its collective expertise to bear in support of these challenges by bringing nations together, developing important cross-cultural dialogues and providing a forum for collaborative approaches to common problems.
The relationship between CIOR and NATO is fully defined in NATO Military Committee (MC) 248/1.
CIOR is an organization committed to professional development, and it provides a variety of high-calibre and cost-effective programs that benefit individual reservists, their member nations, and NATO as a whole. By raising awareness of contemporary reserve issues and promoting interoperability and cooperation while respecting national traditions, CIOR develops individual reservists to serve national and international interests.
Some of the key opportunities for professional development uniquely available through CIOR include the following:
Military Competition (MILCOMP): Over 250 athletes participate in CIOR’s military competition each year. Established in 1957, it is an internationally recognized competition that is focused on military skills that truly challenge the leadership and physical robustness of reservists from across NATO and its partners. It is highly relevant to deployed operations as it trains and tests real warrior skills that officers need to master for success on the current battlefield (physical fitness, teamwork, land navigation, marksmanship, combat first aid, and Law of Armed Conflict).
Young Reserve Officers Workshop (YROW): Annually, about 60 young reserve officers attend this week-long workshop, concentrating on current defence and security issues that relate to reserve force issues within NATO and its partners. It is designed to be a first international exposure for young officers to colleagues from the Alliance and its Partners. YROW is an enriching experience for these young officers, who are the future of the Alliance, providing them an opportunity to establish professional relationships that often last throughout their careers, and offering a strong foundation on which to build their NATO experience.
CIOR Language Academy (CLA): The CIOR Language Academy teaches English and French as a second language, emphasizing a NATO military lexicon. The students are reserve officers of NATO member nations, new Member and Partner nations of Eastern and Central Europe and the Mediterranean Dialogue countries. Through the Language Academy, students are provided an essential and indispensable tool to carry out international NATO business – the ability to communicate in one of NATO’s two official languages. Established in 2000, the Language Academyis growing each year and trains up to 100 students yearly fromalmost every nation of Eastern and Central Europe.
Winter Seminar – Held annually, with the direct support and cooperation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, about 70 participants attend this four-day activity that explores current defence and security issues.
Partnership for Peace Seminar (PfP): CIOR’s Partnership for Peace Committee holds an annual seminar for Partner members, which is held in Partner countries. This activity is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of the Alliance, as well as to gain a better understanding of the structure and organization of reserve forces and associations within the Alliance. This activity in support of Partner nations is well aligned with NATO’s objectives of cooperation, partnership and inclusion.
More than ever, under the mounting threats to our collective security, there is a growing demand for the Reservist’s flexibility, qualifications, cost effectiveness and motivation. There is also an increasing requirement for integration with Active (or Regular) service military and for a heightened interoperability with Allies. CIOR has proven itself to be a force multiplier by directly contributing to NATO in this regard. By continually adapting to the changing security environment, CIOR will continue to be a strong voice for reservists and to play an important role within the Alliance and beyond.