TechNet Europe '98 Examines New Tasks for Technology

January 1999
By Rear Adm. Dr. Sigurd Hess, GE N (Ret.)

Military, government and information technology professionals from the United States and 21 European countries attended the 19th Annual AFCEA TechNet Europe symposium and exposition in October to discuss the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The event provided a forum for intense dialogue on the effects of internal adaptation and restructuring of the organization as it applies to its communications and information systems requirements.

Various nations, ranging from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries in the west to the Ukraine in the east, from Finland in the north to Croatia and Romania in the south, were represented at the conference, which was held in Brno in the Czech Republic. This change of venue to the east recognized the intensive reforms that have taken place in the Czech Republic in preparation for its accession to NATO, along with fellow accessional nations Poland and Hungary.

Approximately 550 people attended the conference, held at the Brno Congress and Exposition Center BVV, to share new ideas and to develop creative solutions to the Alliance’s and the governments’ most pressing information technology challenges. TechNet Europe focused attention on advanced technologies and the people who develop them, which together can enhance government and military effectiveness and ensure the leading edge for the Atlantic Alliance and its member countries in today’s high-technology revolution.

About 40 companies presented technology solutions at the exhibition, which was formally opened by Lt. Gen. Jirí Sedivy, CZA, chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces. Approximately 70 percent of the exhibitors were European companies; the remainder were from the United States. Among participating organizations were the U.K. Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), which serves the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

The displays featured sensor modeling technology, including battlefield sensor simulation and telemedicine. Other offerings displayed included NATO integrated air defense system solutions by ALES S.R.O. and Lockheed Martin. Lynwood Rugged Systems, Compaq, Government Technology Services Incorporated and Sun Microsystems revealed their latest commercial off-the-shelf applications, and Bosch Telecom GmbH featured radio relay equipment. Data security solutions were displayed by CESG, ILEX Systems, Lockheed Martin Federal, NET-TEL and Portcullis Computer Security Limited. Systematic Software Engineering and STER Projekt S.A. featured interoperability technology, while Racal Radio Limited, COMSAT, Ericsson and GTE exhibited tactical communications. The exposition provided a forum for attendees and technology developers.

During the two and a half days of the conference, various speakers presented their thoughts about the technological responses to internal adaptation for the growing NATO and focused on the organization’s new tasks. The opening session, chaired by Loren D. Diedrichsen, general manager of NATO’s Consultation, Command and Control (C3) Agency and technical director of the conference, provided an opportunity to hear views from the new NATO members.

Marek Dukaczewski, under secretary of state, National Security Bureau of Poland, Col. Peter Nagy, HUA, head of the defense policy section in the NATO Department of the Hungarian Ministry, of Defense, and Ing. Jaromír Novotny, first deputy minister of defense of the Czech Republic, discussed the goals and challenges regarding their countries’ accession to NATO. Col. Lubomir Soukup, CZA (Ret.), Tesla Telecommunications Limited, chaired a presentation concerning the Czech policy toward interoperability, the European defense security identity and the role of the Western European Union. Maj. Gen. Josef Dufek, CZA, deputy chief of General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, and Maj. Gen. Jirí Pisklák, CZA (Ret.), vice president for international relations and managing director, Association of the Defense Industry of the Czech Republic, composed the panel.

During a command structures for international security session, Brig. Gen. Paul Kautz, NLA, NATO headquarters, International Military Staff, talked about the new NATO military command structure, and Lt. Col. Bernie Hewitt, British Army, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), communications and information systems (CIS) division, outlined the concept of the combined joint task forces. Col. L. L. G. van den Hurk, NLAF, commandant NATO CIS school in Latina, Italy, explained NATO’s training concept for information systems. This was followed by a session about peace support operations chaired by Brig. Gen. Hans Schulz, GEA, deputy controller NATO CIS Operating Systems Agency (NACOSA), SHAPE. Larry K. Wentz, Advanced Communications Systems Incorporated, discussed the Bosnian realities during peacekeeping information operations. Maj. Michael E. Firlie, II, USA, (GE/U.S.) Corps G6, communications, presented his views on a new approach to standing CJTFs at the primary subordinate command level, and Group Capt. Derek Ainge, RAF, NACOSA, SHAPE, detailed the CIS support for the Dayton Accords Stabilization Force operations.

A session about interoperability was held on the second day of the conference, and speakers explored the avenues toward solutions. Col. van den Hurk and Tony Patterson, Systematic Software Engineering Limited, chaired the session that included speakers from several countries. Dr. Brian Ray, DERA, and William Peach, Systematic Software Engineering Limited, from the United Kingdom, were joined by Guido Neumann, IABG, from Germany and Lt. Col. Milan Lokay, CZAF from the Czech Republic. F. Michael Campeggio, ManTech, United States, and Col. Marek Amanowicz, PLA, Military University of Technology, Poland, also offered their expertise on the subject.

Two sessions about information warfare and deployable communications capabilities were chaired by Cdre. Robert Howell, RN (Ret.), and Capt. Chris W. Williams, RN (Ret.), OBE. From the United Kingdom, speakers included Michael J. Corcoran, DERA; Simon Walker, Secure Computing; Brig. Gen. Martin W. H. Roberts, British Army (Ret.), OBE, Cogent Defence Systems, and Paul Marland, GEC Marconi Communications Limited. Faik Eken and Senol Uzun, both of ASELSAN Electronics Incorporated, Turkey, presented their expertise, and Gary N. Cohen, GTE Government Systems Corporation, United States, offered additional information.

CIS for air operations is of added significance to the three countries that will join NATO next year. Jochen Recke, GEA (Ret.), led a discussion about the topic, and panelists added information about various aspects of the issue. Col. Dwight Raymond, USMC (Ret.), Lockheed Martin, spoke about the Air Sovereignty Operations Center, and Group Capt. Stephen J. Colwill, RAF (Ret.), described a tactical air control center for today’s warfighter.

In front of a full auditorium, Lt. Col. Eberhard Mueller-von der Bank, GEA (Ret.), chaired the closing session, which discussed enabling technologies. Representatives from the United Kingdom included Dr. David Callaghan, Racal Radio Limited, and Graham J. Burrows, DERA. Speakers from Denmark included Dr. Jens B. Jorgensen, Systematic Software Engineering A/S,  and Bing Han, from the NATO C3 Agency.

A banquet held at the Moravian Cottage provided a good opportunity to discuss the issues of the day with friends and acquaintances.