CWID 2010 has continued its tradition of showcasing innovative technologies in an active, joint scenario. Participants now "play and learn" in a realistic environment modeled after the combat theater of Afghanistan. While some believe CWID has outlived its usefulness, others advocate its importance to joint operations in the international arena. What's your opinion?
A time-honored military event turned 16 years old this summer, and what some may call an unruly adolescent and others an annual gathering that has outlived its usefulness reveals how lessons learned can turn into powerful practices. The Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration, with its trial sandbox mirroring Afghanistan, not only continues to be as vital as it was in years past but also shows that building on experience leads to new discoveries.
The 2010 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) cycle has begun. Organizations interested in participating in the event can go to the Federal Business Opportunity site for details about how to participate.
Against a backdrop of current events, warfighters participating in the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration took the controls and toyed with tools that future troops may one day find indispensable. The activities in which to explore more than 40 emerging or improved capabilities were based not only on operations in Afghanistan but also on terrorist activity that could be plucked from the headlines of any major newspaper. Though provided with a set of real-world scenarios, the diverse backgrounds of participants—from technophobes to technomaniacs, young and experienced, active-duty and reservists—resulted in serious free play that lent an air of operational realism to the event.
The U.S. armed forces’ yearly demonstration to test and assess interoperability technologies took place in June as military services and government agencies from various countries gathered at worldwide locations to evaluate new communications capabilities. This year’s event had several new features and components, including a combatant command sponsor that filled the role for the third consecutive time, increased foreign country and direct academic participation, a focus on Afghan military operations, and a connection with other military interoperability and certification exercises. Now, personnel involved with the effort are looking to take past successes and combine them with fresh perspectives and new ideas as they prepare for the future.
The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s demonstration designed to enhance interoperability is making greater efforts to improve communications with forces outside of the United States. This year’s Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration involved increased NATO participation as well as trials at locations worldwide. The event host, the U.S. European Command, leveraged its physical location and mission contacts to expand international cooperation. Next year, the command will serve as the host combatant command for the demonstration for the third consecutive year—the first command to three-peat.
This year's Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration was just as much about evaluating the event itself as it was about evaluating technologies. Although the 2006 format mirrored previous years' activities, the lessons learned during the first time the execution phase was hosted outside the United States could help improve the annual undertaking by broadening the focus to boost international interoperability. Event leaders are recommending several changes for future demonstrations, including increasing the number of countries that participant; linking the demonstration to Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics programs; and improving the coordination between the U.S. and NATO's Allied Command Transformation.
Armed forces from a multitude of nations and U.S. government agencies will come together next month for their annual examination of interoperability in a coalition environment. Although the focus will be on homeland defense and homeland security technologies, participants in the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) also will scrutinize promising communications capabilities with broader missions in mind.