NATO receives scientific input from multiple sources. One of these channels supports a non-military civil function served by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme  which is administered by the Public Diplomacy Division (PDD). Direction for the Programme is provided by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Committee consisting of national representatives from each of the 26 Alliance countries. The PDD which is a new Division within NATO has emerged from a distinguished past going back almost to the Second World War. Since that time priorities have changed leading to the repositioning of the Science Programme to deal with NATO's new international challenges. The history of this evolution, the importance of independent scientific advice, and the composition and role of the new Science Programme are outlined. Under the new name of ‘Science for Peace and Security’ (SPS) the Programme seeks to influence and fulfil NATO's strategic objectives which include enhanced security in member states and partner countries, and the promotion of action through cooperation. While the Programme's objectives together with its various components and mechanisms used to procure and deploy scientific input have been reshaped, a critique will show that limitations persist which restrict the international impact of NATO's non-military civil function and that a high-level review of its role in the twenty-first century would be timely.
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