German Military Looks to Augment Legacy Systems With Commercial Technology

September 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The German military has way too many legacy communication and information systems to replace them all at once, so it is looking to commercial technology to improve capabilities. EDir. IT-AmtBw Hans-Ulrich Schade, chief of Division C, Bundeswehr IT Office, described this challenge at the AFCEA Bonn Chapter's Koblenz Symposium on September 3, 2009.

Schade related that the Bundeswehr has more than 120,000 radios. These include about 200 different types of radios, and the military cannot afford to replace them all. So, any solution must incorporate these legacy systems.

For example, some forces currently can transmit either voice or data. The need to choose between one or the other will be eliminated in the near future, he maintained. He also declared that the use of commercial technology is the basis on which all improvements to Germany military IT are based.

German Forces Add, Need New Battlefield Technologies

September 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

German military forces in Afghanistan have improved their command and control (C2) capabilities significantly, but they need more advanced technologies to move those advances down to the lower tactical levels. This assessment was stated by Lt. Gen. Carl-Hubertus von Butler, GEA, commander, German Army Forces Command, at the AFCEA Bonn Chapter's Koblenz Symposium on September 3, 2009.

Gen. Butler cited broadband solutions as a vital need for moving vital reconnaissance data down to warfighters. "What good will sensors do if they can't get [their information] down to lower levels?" he stated.

He called for better ability to transmit both voice and data at the tactical level. Many C2 advances in Afghanistan are bearing fruit, but the German army often finds it necessary to train its troops abroad on some new systems.

However, the general warned against information overload. Soldiers must be trained to recognize what information is relevant amid the flood of data that new sensors and networks are delivering. He expressed doubt that this goal is reachable.

And, interoperability remains a major challenge. Despite creating a joint French-German combat force, Germany found its forces were more interoperable with those of Norway and Sweden than with its French counterparts.

Maintaining technological superiority is the only way a modern military such as Germany's can defeat asymmetric threats, Gen. Butler declared.

Play Golf, Support Veterans

September 4, 2009
By Rita Boland

The Outback Steakhouse Annual Golf Classic is raising money for the American Freedom Foundation for the second year in a row. The foundation supports veterans and their families by raising money and awareness for veterans' organizations. The non-profit group has a special focus on welfare and education issues facing troops wounded or disabled in action and the families of veterans killed in action during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The 17th annual golf event will be played Monday, October 5, 2009, at  Cannon Ridge Golf Club  in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Last year, the classic raised $75,000. Information about this year's sponsorship opportunities, registration and activity times can be found on the Cannon Ridge Web site. The programs listed on these pages are not affiliated with our publication or association. We highlight these independent efforts as a service to our military and our readers. For more information about these programs, please contact the organizations directly.

NATO Allied Command Transformation Welcomes New Leader

September 2, 2009

Gen. James N. Mattis, USMC, will step down as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation during a change-of-command ceremony on September 9. Taking over the reins is Gen. Stephane Abrial of the French air force. The ceremony will take place on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower , Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. Gen. Abrial is the former chief of staff of the French air force. This is the first time in the organization's 60-year history that a non-U.S. officer has been permanently assigned as one of NATO's two Supreme Allied Commanders. Gen. Mattis will remain as the commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command.