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NATO

Romania Stretches Out Military Modernization

March 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Romania has opted to extend its force modernization period rather than cut important purchases as it deals with its version of the global budget crisis. Despite suffering from the severe economic downturn that began more than five years ago, the Black Sea country continues to upgrade its military with the goal of being a significant security force in an uncertain region.

NATO Focuses on Terrorist Cyber Exploitation

March 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

NATO’s efforts to defend against terrorism now are focusing on cyberspace as a tool of terrorists instead of merely as a vulnerability for striking at alliance nations and their critical infrastructure. These efforts cover aspects of cyber exploitation that range from understanding terrorists’ behavior to how they might use social media.

Many Needs Vie for Scarce Defense Funding

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The budget reductions that will be a fact of military life for the foreseeable future promise to impel dramatic changes in force structure and military operations. Ongoing needs such as high technology and overseas commitments offer the possibility of being both challenges and solutions, as planners endeavor to plan around a smaller but, hopefully, more capable force.

NATO Priorities,
 Post Afghanistan

November 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

People, not technology, are still the greatest advantages or inhibitors in the world of military interoperability. For NATO, bringing together the right humans has enabled amazing advancements during the last five years, but it has also caused confrontations delaying momentum in certain cases.

Raytheon to Provide Miniaturized GPS Receivers to Allies

September 23, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Raytheon Co., Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo Calif., was awarded a $38,634,619 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for supplies and services necessary for the production and sustainment of the miniaturized airborne Global Positioning Systems receiver 2000-S24 (MAGR 2000-S24). This contract involves foreign military sales to North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other allied countries. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Global Positioning Systems Directorate, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8807-13-D-0001).

NATO Forwards Biometrics

September 17, 2013
By Rita Boland

NATO is investing time, talent and treasure into advancing biometrics, Col. Bernard Wulfse, Dutch Army, commander, Joint Task Force Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED), explained at the Biometric Consortium Conference. The alliance has named biometrics a critical capability shortfall to address. Key to achieving goals for biometrics is bringing all the partner nations together—not only the few currently supporting the efforts. Methods that proved useful against IEDs have applications in the biometrics realm, and lessons can be applied from the former to the latter.

Current conflicts generate from within states, not between them, so identifying enemies is difficult. More investment in rooting out the bad guys is necessary, Col. Wulfse explained. This anonymity in the physical and cyber realms makes it impossible for traditional forces to deploy their best capabilities. “Asymmetric threats … have rendered our strengths ineffective,” Col. Wulfse said.

Identity management of friend and foe can help mitigate the threats of these types of adversaries and not only in the military context. Other applications include C-IED, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, access control and more. Unlike in times past, biometrics efforts now truly have support from the highest headquarters, the colonel stated.

Despite this support, the basic challenges remain the same. The potential of biometrics for military use is not fully understood. NATO lacks harmonization in guidance, procedures and standards. Capabilities among the various armed forces are unbalanced. There is a lack of knowledge and trust in the biometrics arena, and many of the troops collecting biometric information today will not see the benefits from their work because it often takes years for the data to become a usable resource.

Lockheed Martin to Provide NATO Headquarters Network Infrastructure

September 12, 2013
George I. Seffers

Lockheed Martin has been selected to design the Active Network Infrastructure (ANWI) for NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. This contract, worth more than $100 million, includes options under which Lockheed Martin may also be contracted to maintain the NATO network for five years. Lockheed Martin’s team will develop an infrastructure to service more than 4,500 users at the alliance’s headquarters and support up to an additional 1,500 conference visitors. The team also will provide four integrated security networks interoperable with other NATO nations; cross domain information assurance solutions for secure, seamless interconnectivity; a robust, modern, high-availability data center; and comprehensive unified communication and collaboration services.

Transforming NATO's Information Technology Architecture

September 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

NATO officials are laying the groundwork for a centralized enterprise networking architecture with invitations to bid expected to be released by year’s end. The new approach is expected to offer a number of benefits, including cost savings, improved network reliability, enhanced cybersecurity and greater flexibility for warfighters.

Officials at the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency kicked off the alliancewide effort in August of last year shortly after the agency was created. The initial goal was simply to examine the alliance’s information technology infrastructure, how it could be modernized, where efficiencies could be gained and how to make the business case for modernization. The NCI Agency partnered with the Network Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) for the study. “We didn’t want to take just an academic view or an internal belly-button look. We wanted to get industry involved and find out what is within the realm of possibility today,” says Peter Lenk, chief, Capability Area Team Seven, NCI Agency.

The result will be a historical transition for the alliance. “We are for the first time, or one of the first times in NATO, looking at things as an enterprise. We’re starting to try to consolidate things across traditional boundaries,” Lenk says. “Through the creation of the NCI Agency, which has a mandate across all of the components of NATO, now we have within our grasp the ability to do this, and we can clearly see the advantages.”

Portugal's Navy Faces Double-Edged Challenge

September 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

The economic and technological challenges facing Western militaries are magnified for Portugal as it tries to ensure the viability of its navy. The small maritime nation that regularly participates in NATO naval operations is facing severe budgetary constraints as its domestic economy contracts, but it must improve and even increase its capabilities as a result of a growing mission set.

The first challenge facing the Portuguese navy is to meet its obligations amid the severe fiscal crisis gripping most of the Western world. Portugal has been hit hard by austerity measures amid high unemployment, and the navy’s budget may not grow significantly for the foreseeable future. The Portuguese Defense Ministry has stated the defense budget will remain at about 1.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) through 2020, but that GDP has been contracting since late 2010.

The second major challenge for the navy is to address the country’s new geopolitical makeup at sea. Portugal has applied for exclusive economic zone continental shelf status beyond the traditional 200 miles to encompass the Azores and Madeira, which are Portuguese territory. This would link and extend the three separate economic zones into a larger single zone. The result would be a much larger maritime area of about 3.8 million square kilometers (2.4 million square miles) that would need protection by the Portuguese navy, especially with regard to ocean-based resources ranging from fishing stocks to potential oil deposits.

Adm. José Saldanha Lopes, PON, is the chief of the Portuguese Naval Staff. He is pursuing a plan for his successors that would ensure the viability of the navy through the year 2035. Technology, fleet transformation and a shift in funding priorities are at the heart of the thrust for an effective future navy without significant funding increases.

NATO Seeks 
Umbrella
 Communications

September 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

NATO is adopting an enterprise approach to networking so it can take advantage of new defense information system capabilities as well as recent developments gleaned from Southwest Asia operations. This approach would allow different countries participating in alliance operations to network their own command, control and communications systems at the onset of an operation.

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