Nations Seek Ways to Operate in Concert
NATO conference examines new methods for sharing information, decision making during coalition operations.
Discussing interoperability issues facing NATO nations are panelists (l-r) Tony Patterson, managing director, Systematic Software Engineering Ltd.; Dr. Hermann Wietgrefe, director, NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency; Peter Pharaoh, NATO Headquarters Consultation, Command and Control Staff; and Lt. Cmdr. Mario Angelov, BU AR, associate professor.
As a multinational alliance, NATO requires a high degree of interoperability across all of its command, control, communications and computer systems to function effectively. This interoperability also is necessary at all command levels as the alliance concentrates on overseas missions.
The need for interoperability and the ways to achieve it were the focus for the alliance’s sixth computer information systems (CIS) symposium, “Interoperability Challenges in Coalition Operations,” held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on October 18, 2006. The event was in conjunction with AFCEA’s TechNet Europe 2006 conference and symposium.
The changing nature of the alliance and the European community were highlighted by Brig. Gen. Boyko Simitchiev, BUA, chief of the CIS Directorate, General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, in the keynote address. As a new member of NATO,
Gen. Simitchiev noted that the military is developing a fixed and tactical CIS infrastructure and building a friend-or-foe tracking system and an identification system to track coastal shipping. Other CIS goals include a national tactical communications system and a national electronic message-handling system using NATO protocols.
The challenges to coalition interoperability were outlined by Adam Boothby, director of strategic development, L-3 Communications,
One difficulty is that ISTAR and many other networked systems are stovepiped. In recent joint exercises with the
Dick Whittingham, a principal technical coordinator at NATO’s Headquarters Consultation, Command and Control (HQ C3) Staff,
The requirements for an updated NATO C3 system include resources, armaments and force planning in the NNEC. The system will allow commanders to set and establish interoperability points for NATO operations. Whittingham said that these changes represent progress to full NNEC that goes beyond creating a new standard. He closed by noting that interoperability remains a challenge but added that the key to the process lies with NATO nations’ willingness to follow and implement standardized solutions.
The state of the restructured NATO consultation, command and control technical architecture (NC3TA) standards and profiles for coalition interoperability was discussed by El Wells, chairman of the NATO Open Systems Working Group,
NC3TA is a platform-centric standard for Web services, messaging and browsing. It is based on fixed interoperability points. Wells noted that the standard is evolving toward a service-oriented architecture with network-centric and integrated information services for sharing data with coalition partners. He said that the standard and its protocols were developed to assist coalition operations and that it also provides a reference model, techniques and guidance to support the transition to NNEC.
The Swedish perspective on network-based defense was provided by Maj. Johan Ivari, SWAR, head of enterprise architecture, Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters,
Tony Patterson, managing director of Systematic Software Engineering Ltd.,
Efforts to develop an interoperability, experimentation, testing and validation (IETV) testbed to support NATO expeditionary operations were outlined by Dr. Hermann Wietgrefe, director of the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A),