Capability (to perform a security role) is a set of integrated procedures, skills and material resources sufficient to achieve a measurable result in performing a particular task under specified conditions.

Planners generally lend a broad interpretation to the meaning of “capability.” For example, the European Defence Agency (EDA) uses the term to mean three categories:

  • capability management (command, control, communications, etc. or C3);
  • engagement capabilities (i.e., engage and protect), and
  • maneuver capabilities (deploy and sustain).

National governmental structures tend to use a higher number of capability areas, depending on the security and defence goals defined. Whatever the capability, it can – and often does – encompass the intertwining of many technologies to make the capability effective.


  • Bergmans, H., J. Van der Horst, L. Janssen, E. Pruyt, V. Veldheer, D. Wijnmalen, M. Bökkerink, P. Van Erve & J. Van de Leur: Working with Scenarios, Risk Assessment and Capabilities in the National Safety and Security Strategy of the Netherlands. The Hague: Landelijk Operationeel Coördinatiecentrum, 2009.
  • Papastathopoulos, S.: Expanding the European Union's Petersberg Tasks: Requirements and Capabilities. Washington, DC: Storming Media, 2004.
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