The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is investing hundreds of millions of euros in an eight-year project to upgrade its IT infrastructure and improve its applications and security processes.

The organization has developed many of its IT systems in house in recent years. By investing half a billion euros the organization hopes to bring its IT systems into the 21st century, said Ton van Stiphout, a partner at Dutch management consulting company M&I Partners, which has been contracted for some of the work.

The giant project includes, among other things, renewing the base IT infrastructure that serves all of NATO’s offices. As a result, several hundreds of application used by the organization will need to be updated or rewritten from scratch.

After a tender process, M&I Partners was selected by NATO to oversee the first year of the project. It has called on tools vendor Borland Software Corp. to help with the project, because of Borland’s specialty in Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).

CMMI is a best practices model designed to improve application development and integration through process optimization. This should enable NATO’s Consultation, Command and Control Agency, known as NC3A, to develop a secure and effective framework, based on best practices, for developing and implementing new software.

Borland and M&I will assess NATO’s existing infrastructure and develop a plan for optimizing the organization’s software engineering, software acquisition, systems integration and information security processes, Borland said.

After this, a new tender process will follow to find software developers who can optimize the applications or rewrite them as necessary.

The project, known internally as the Functional Services Technical Integration Framework project, is the result of an ambitious NATO project initiated by the NC3A, which is essentially a decentralized overall IT department for NATO.

NC3A has developed a new architecture for its information systems, called the Bilateral Strategic Comment Automated Information System, Borland said. Existing information systems need to be migrated to the new architecture.