CIOR IT Support officer presented at NATO conference

For probably the first time ever, a CIOR representative has briefed at a NATO conference. That happened when IT Support officer (officially Assistant Secretary General Information Technology), UK RAF Squadron Leader Robin Wilkinson in early June gave a presentation to the Alliance’s annual ‘e-learning’ conference.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt.Col. (R), Norwegian Army/CIOR Public Affairs

Sqn Ldr Wilkinson presented to over 200 delegates on CIOR’s use of digital technology for some of its business online, and to ensure 24/7 connectivity between the Presidency and the delegates from the organisation’s 34 member associations. His presentation was titled “Digital Development in support of International Reservists”.

Screenshot from Sqn Ldr Robin Wilkinson’s briefing session with the “NATO Training Technology Conference”.

The presentation was well received by the audience at what is formally named the “NATO Training Technology Conference”. The conference was entirely virtual, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Wilkinson participated from his home office in England. Attendees were following the presentation from across Europe and North America.

Moving forward in the digital space

– It showed how CIOR is leading the way in embracing technological change, an evolution – not so say revolution – which has proven absolutely crucial during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilkinson said.

CIOR started its digital revolution 18 months ago, and the project has now come to practical fruition to the extent that nearly all aspects of the organisation’s dealings practically could happen online – securely.

CIOR has just held its first IBM entirely as a virtual meeting and plans to provide at its upcoming Late Summer Congress remote access for any delegates unable to attend.

Although cyberspace activity is not foreseen to ever fully replace in-person meetings with face-to-face human interaction, the potential for savings in terms of both travel time and money by reducing travel is huge – and is something that the Confederation is looking into.

– About finding a good balance

– It is about finding a good balance between virtual meetings and physical attendance, CIOR President, UK Colonel (Retd.) Chris Argent said. He sees NATO’s interest in the CIOR project as a sign of success.

– This is clearly evidence that the path we chose and the priorities we set in 2018 were the right ones. CIOR has been leaning forward in modernising itself for the 21st century to stay fit for purpose, Argent said. He mentioned E-learning as another area where CIOR had put in a lot of effort to make good use of new, digital tools.

“New tools, technologies, strategies, and practices”

The NATO Training Technology Conference “is for anyone involved in NATO training and education who is looking for new tools, technologies, strategies, and practices to enhance their knowledge, expertise, and capabilities, with learning technologies” (

The annual conference is organised by Allied Command Transformation, NATO’s warfare development command and one of the Alliance’s two strategic entities. It’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia is the only permanent NATO institution outside of Europe.

Allied Command Transformation headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia is NATO’s warfare development command. Photo: HQ SACT.