NATO and the Planning Board for Ocean Shipping (PBOS)


The Maritime Administration is the United States representative to NATO’s Planning Board for Ocean Shipping (PBOS). Additionally, MARAD’s Office of Emergency Preparedness provides the Secretariat for PBOS and the Assistant Administrator currently serves as the Chairman of PBOS.

PBOS was established by the NATO North Atlantic Council (NAC) in 1950. It is one of nine NATO Planning Boards and Committees (PB&Cs) responsible in peacetime for coordinating and monitoring National and NATO arrangements for civil emergency preparedness and crisis management.

The Planning Board is responsible for developing and maintaining plans for civil shipping support to the Alliance in crisis and war. PBOS planning takes into account the international character of merchant shipping and seeks to facilitate access to worldwide shipping. Its planning responsibilities include planning for the provision of shipping resources to support military lift requirements through appropriate shipping crisis management arrangements, and planning for the availability of marine war risks insurance for merchant ships supporting the alliance.

PBOS plans for the use of merchant shipping in crises or wars affecting the interests of the Alliance. All other sealift activities in peacetime are solely a national responsibility.

PBOS Organization

PBOS meets annually in Plenary Session in early Fall. It meets at 26, with NATO members only in attendance, and it meets with representatives from the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Nations in an enlarged format at 49. The PfP Nations participate in the work of PBOS, but are not involved in the decision making process. The Planning Board reports to the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC) and through the SCEPC to the North Atlantic Council (NAC), the highest political body in the Alliance. Most of the work of PBOS is carried out by the PBOS Working Group (PWG) which is its permanent subordinate working group.  PBOS has a cadre of sixty-one civil shipping experts that provide guidance on the use of civil shipping resources to the NAC, the SCEPC, NATO Military Authorities, nations or other appropriate bodies as agreed by the NAC/SCEPC.

Ship Operations Cooperative Program
Maritime Research & Development
Inland Container on Barge
Intermodal Access to U.S. Ports and Marine Terminals