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Does the Joint Information Environment 
Help or Hinder Coalition Interoperability?

May 1, 2013
By Kent R. Schneider

Coalition interoperability has received a good deal of focus during the past few years. The Afghan Mission Network (AMN) has given many hope that a repeatable solution for coalition operations could be developed that would allow rapid deployment of a coalition-compatible network for future conflicts. The Future Mission Network (FMN) is envisioned to allow coalition partners to plug into a standards-compliant network with the functionality and security needed to support complex operations.

Recently, in discussions on the U.S. Defense Department initiative to develop a common operating environment referred to as the Joint Information Environment, or JIE, I began to consider whether the creation of such a common environment for the department would help move toward agile and effective coalition information sharing, or would put more distance between the U.S. military and its partners.

The conclusion I have reached is that the JIE could help or hinder coalition efforts, depending on how the JIE architecture is coordinated and whether it is kept on a path parallel to the FMN. It is important to remember that coalition information sharing today is more than just how the United States works with its foreign allies. Anywhere on the mission spectrum, the Defense Department must work with a wide range of U.S. federal agencies, industry partners and, sometimes, state, local and tribal agencies, as well as with international partners.

This means the legacy architectures, direction and needs of this extremely diverse set of players must be considered at every step of the development of the JIE. And, it is imperative to keep the development of the JIE and the development of the FMN coordinated every step of the way. Failure to do this will make it more difficult, not easier, to work with interagency partners and coalition partners.

Intelligence Concerns Shift
 on Both Sides of the Atlantic

December 1, 2012
By Kent R. Schneider

Similarities outnumber differences as allies compare challenges.

The past 11 years have seen a sea change in intelligence operations and challenges in both Europe and North America, as longtime allies have had to confront a new era in global security issues. Both the United States and European NATO members have discovered that they face many of the same challenges, some of which must be addressed together by all members of the Atlantic alliance.

These issues were at the core of discussions populating the first AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum, held September 20-21, 2012, in Brussels, Belgium. High-level speakers with unique perspectives on global security intelligence issues focused on changes in the intelligence community that have taken place on both sides of the Atlantic since 9/11. Discussions examined changes in the threat, how the cast of characters has shifted, the growing role of open source intelligence, how the cyberdomain has increased demands on the entire intelligence community, and the balance now needed between defense and security requirements.

A key perspective on the trans-Atlantic intelligence community was offered by the Right Honourable Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG Hon FRSE PC. Lord Robertson served as the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for defence from 1997 through 1999 and as the secretary general of NATO and chairman of the North Atlantic Council from 1999 through 2003. A veteran of the highest level of government leadership, Lord Robertson provided a sense of the intelligence community from the perspective of a senior decision maker. “Those who work and live in the world of secret intelligence rarely fully trust the ultimate customers of their product,” he said, adding, “I often had the feeling that I was only getting the most sensitive secrets on sufferance, and that it was high risk to tell me—unvetted as I was—what they were doing and discovering.”

Budgetary Pressures No Hindrance to
Turkish Military

November 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The need to upgrade the force prevails over 
austerity measures typical of other nations.

Turkey is pursuing a military modernization effort that runs unabated in the face of the global economic crisis. The NATO nation that sits astride Europe, Asia and the Middle East views internal and external threats as a greater danger than fiscal challenges, and it is continuing several programs that will introduce major new platforms built by Turkish industry.

Turkey’s annual national defense budget is about $15 billion. However, that is augmented by another $8 billion from the country’s Defense Industry Support Fund. Its military force, which is largely conscript, will shrink in numerical size but increase in professionalism and power through materiel upgrades.

Maj. Gen. Armağan Kuloğlu, TUA (Ret.), is a senior adviser to the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies in Ankara. An army veteran who also served as a deputy undersecretary in the Ministry of Defense, Gen. Kuloğlu explains that Turkey’s military mission is to be able to react to security problems and crises that may arise, particularly in the face of growing uncertainties. These include both internal and external security concerns, he points out.

External concerns are highlighted by Turkey’s strategic location. Its waterfront borders are the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Aegean Sea to the west and the Black Sea to the north. Its southern and southeastern land borders abut Syria, Iraq and Iran. Just last month, the violence afflicting Syria spilled over into Turkey as Syrian forces lobbed artillery shells into a Turkish village, killing several people and prompting retaliation from Turkey.

Turkish Groups Provide 
Industry, Government Bridge

November 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A major aim is to serve as a forum for the nation's defense companies to alleviate concerns over fiscal austerity.

Non-governmental organizations serve a valuable role in bridging industry and the military in Turkey. The NATO stalwart has developed its own high-technology defense sector, which now is expanding its export market penetration. This sector also stands to play a major role as NATO develops a technology acquisition architecture in which its member nations play complementary roles rather than competing ones. Because of the need for close coordination between government and industry, non-governmental organizations carry out essential missions in the defense establishment.

Representing a nation that historically has stood at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the Turkey Chapter of AFCEA International reflects a very active defense industrial community supporting the needs of both the Turkish government and its trading partner nations. Founded in November 1989, the chapter itself has a unique history, according to Col. Ismet Bora Büyüköner, TUA (Ret.), president of the AFCEA Turkey chapter.

“The AFCEA Turkey Chapter was founded at the directive of the Turkish Ministry of National Defense and the Turkish General Staff, under the leadership of the Undersecretariat of the Turkish Defense Industries,” he outlines.

The chapter has been approved as a scientific purpose association by the defense ministry, which means that members of the Turkish Armed Forces are allowed to become AFCEA members with permission from superior officers. Membership in the chapter is open to individuals and companies that “operate in the field of communications, electronics and information technology,” according to the chapter,’s website.

La Collaborazione con l’Industria, una Spinta Importante per la NATO

September 1, 2012
Di Robert K. Ackerman

Stabilire una collaborazione maggiore con il settore privato è uno degli obiettivi primari della NATO nel momento in cui è necessario adattarsi al mutare delle tendenze politiche, finanziarie e militari. Una partnership forte con l’industria è considerata dai membri dell’alleanza la chiave per aprire la porta a idee e soluzioni innovative in un momento di limitazioni finanziarie. Tuttavia, l’impiego di tale fucina di idee pone alcune difficoltà per l’organizzazione multinazionale.

La NATO pone la sua partnership con l’industria su un piano di alta priorità, in quanto mira a migliorare la collaborazione in un momento di ristrettezze finanziarie e di trasformazione profonda delle esigenze operative. Il beneficio primario che l’Alleanza Atlantica cerca è l’ottimizzazione dei processi industriali che consentano soprattutto l’impiego delle tecnologie più innovative.

Raggiungere tali obiettivi, in particolare nel campo delle comunicazioni e dei sistemi elettronici, richiede un processo di acquisizione delle capacità operative più agile. Tuttavia, la NATO è ostacolata in questo sforzo dalla sua natura d’organizzazione multinazionale che deve tenere in giusta considerazione le esigenze degli Stati membri.

“Stiamo utilizzando i fondi di 28 nazioni che sono tutte sotto pressione finanziaria e pertanto esse esamineranno in modo molto critico tutto il lavoro che facciamo con l’industria,” riferisce il Magg. Gen. Koen Gijsbers, RNLA (in pensione), direttore generale della NCI, Agenzia NATO per le Comunicazioni e le Informazioni di recente formazione. “In questo contesto, è necessario stabilire una modalità di collaborazione più efficace ed efficiente.”

Teaming With Industry a 
Major Thrust for NATO

September 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Establishing a greater partnership with the private sector is one of NATO’s primary goals as it adjusts to changing political, financial and military trends. A strong partnership with industry is viewed by alliance members as the key to opening the door to innovative solutions in a time of fiscal limitations. However, tapping that wellspring of imagination poses some difficulties for the multinational organization.

NATO places its partnership with industry on a high plane, and it aims to improve that partnership in a time of severe financial constraints and transforming combat needs. Foremost among the benefits that the Atlantic alliance seeks is best industry practices, especially for delivering the latest technologies.

Achieving its goals, particularly in the arena of communications and electronics systems, will require a more agile process. However, NATO is handicapped in this effort by its nature as a multinational organization that must take its members’ needs into account.

“We are spending the money of 38 nations that basically are all under financial pressure, so they will scrutinize all the work that we do with industry,” relates Maj. Gen. Koen Gijsbers, RNLA (Ret.), the general manager of the newly formed NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency. “In that environment, we need to find a relationship to make this [partnership] most effective and efficient.”

This is one opportunity that is being driven by necessity. Because of the global financial crisis—which has hit Europe and the United States particularly hard—all military and government planners must do more with less. So, tapping the font of innovation that emerges from commercial technologies and capabilities offers a way for NATO to achieve its modernization goals without exceeding its shrinking budget.

Eurocorps Seeks to Pioneer Coalition Interoperability

May 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

The future of coalition operations may be unfolding within a NATO command in Afghanistan. The Eurocorps, a multinational corps that is barely two decades old, is focusing on building a capability that will allow a coalition force to respond rapidly to urgent operational needs.

Harmonizing European Defense Efforts

May 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

The European Union is trying to bring the defense programs of its 27 member nations into synchronicity before the budget boom is lowered on military spending.

Two Firms to Provide International Information Assurance Support

March 23, 2012
By George Seffers

DRS Technical Services Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, and M. C. Dean Incorporated, Dulles, Virginia, are each being awarded a $16,600,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price multiple award contract for the support of the electronic security systems, information assurance, and engineering network system programs for government facilities in the European, Middle Eastern, African, Southwest Asian, and Central Asian regions. These contracts include options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the individual contracts to an estimated $94,700,000.  Work will be performed entirely outside the continental United States and is expected to be completed by March 2017, of all options are exercised. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, South Carolina, is the contracting activity.

EDA's Arnould: "Pooling and Sharing" Vital in Lean Times

September 20, 2011
By Max Cacas

At a time when the European Union and the United States are both facing moderate to severe austerity in the years ahead, it's more important than ever to do more with less. Claude-France Arnould, chief executive of the European Defense Agency, discussed key priorities for the organization in the coming lean years.


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