At the 2002 Prague Summit it was decided that NATO should change its military structures and concepts, and acquire new types of equipment to face the operational challenges of the new millennium. Thus NATO’s military command structure was reorganized with focus on becoming a leaner and more efficient organization. And as certain warfare areas and expertise were not reflected any more, Nations offered NATO to build up and keep this expertise concentrated in ‘Centres of Excellence’ (COEs).
In 2003 the ‘Military Committee Concept for Centres of Excellence’ has been approved. It states that NATO Command arrangements should be supported by a network of COEs. Since then more than 20 COEs have been established to concentrate knowledge and complement NATO resources outside the NATO Command Structure.
A COE does not represent an entity that provides Armed Forces with trained warriors. It has especially valuable soldiers, though, but the focus is more on the academic, analytical, and experience side of the house.
Nowhere else you would find a military entity able and designed to focus on one specific aspect of warfare in a similar manner. A COE tries to pool already existing international expertise under one roof.