interoperability

July 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Two U.S. Navy operations specialists stand watch aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Navy must provide cybersecurity for major systems aboard ships as well as for smaller logistical systems, all of which are targets for digital adversaries.  U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is moving ahead at full speed to equip its assets with effective cybersecurity. However, the diverse nature of those assets—some are city-size ships while others are small but vital systems—confound planners seeking to ensure interoperable security measures.

June 23, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Quality assurance specialists at the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific inspect network racks in the center's Network Integration and Engineering Facility. The Navy is tasking industry with providing cybersecurity solutions that are interoperable across the service. (Credit: Rick Naystatt, U.S. Navy)

Effective cybersecurity for the U.S. Navy will hinge on interoperable tools suitable for the fleet’s diverse number of ships. As different as the ships and their systems may be, their cybersecurity must be based on common standards and interoperate across the sea service.

May 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Air Surveillance and Interface Control technicians provide radar, radio and tactical data links to support the Sentry Savannah exercise at Hunter Army Airfield in February 2016. The Joint Tactical Networking Center supports interoperability among the military services and seeks to add new waveforms to the Department of Defense Information Repository.  U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chelsea Smith/Released

Personnel with the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Tactical Networking Center continually push to improve interoperability of waveforms used jointly across the military to save costs, enhance communications and ultimately fight more effectively.

April 15, 2021
By George I. Seffers
An F-35 Lightning II receives full from a KC-135 Stratotanker. The Army's communications exercises, which are being held in preparation of Project Convergence 21, are evaluating the ability of the different services to pass data from one to the other. The F-35, for example, may be used to pass information to ground forces as part of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Mota

The U.S. Army is conducting a series of major tests on the interoperability of joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) technologies prior to the Project Convergence 2021 experiment this fall.

Army officials are leading a series of communications exercises, commonly referred to as COMMEXes, in its new Joint System Integration Laboratory (JSIL). The lab uses a realistic and scalable tactical network architecture comprised of current and future tactical radios, software applications and transport systems to provide a system-of-systems integration and testing environment for emerging communications and networking technologies, according to an Army fact sheet.

March 2, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Paratroopers secure their location in preparation for the extraction of senior Afghan and coalition military leaders following a key leader engagement in southeastern Afghanistan, December 29, 2019. Complex policies for connecting networks and sharing data remains a significant barrier for working with allies and coalition partners, military officials say. Credit: Army Master Sgt. Alejandro Licea

With a new Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy document wending its way through the Pentagon, multiple high-ranking officers indicate that complex networks and related policies related remain the top impediment to working with allies and partner nations.

The strategy is being spearheaded by Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the director of command, control, communications, computers/cyber, and the chief information officer for the Joint Staff, J-6. According to Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, J-6 deputy director for the Joint Staff, the document has been sent to the chief of staff and vice chief of staff for approval and could land on the desk of the secretary of defense in the coming days or weeks.

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Marines participating in the Thunder Reindeer exercise in Setermoen, Norway in late May practice their cold weather survival skills while living in the Arctic. Credit: USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Chase Drayer

Even in the summer, Norway offers challenging, rugged terrain that helps hone the cold-weather survival and mountain warfare skills of the U.S. Marines. In May, Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, along with the Marine Forces Europe and Africa, deployed to northern Norway above the Arctic Circle as part of Marine Rotational Force-Europe (MRF-E) 20.2. The warfighters worked directly with the Norwegian Army to advance their skills and improve allied interoperability, says Lt. Col. Brian Donlon, USMC, commander of 3rd Battalion, who leads the MRF-E contingent.

September 16, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Big data will be a major disruptor for whichever country manages to gain control of it first. Credit: Artistdesign29/Shutterstock

Data in various forms supports a wide range of national security missions, and whichever country is best able to use that data will have a distinct advantage, according to intelligence agency experts speaking at the virtual 2020 Intelligence and National Security Summit.

August 4, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Response personnel at 911 call centers nationwide will benefit from research to improve the interoperability and compatibility of Next-Generation 911 systems. Credit: Photo by U.S. Department of Commerce

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

April 2, 2020
 

Avarint LLC, Buffalo, New York, has been awarded a $52,353,890 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-reimbursement, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity engineering service contract in support of the Digital Integrated Air Defense System (DIADS). This contract provides for unique developmental engineering services to enable the DIADS model to link with other systems associated with the Benefield Anechoic Facility used to support high priority test missions that includes the F-22, F-35, Miniature Air Launch Decoy, Miniature Air Launch Decoy Jamming, B-2 and various Red/Blue Flag training activities when applicable. Work will be performed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2025.

March 10, 2020
 

Valiant Global Defense Services Inc., doing business as Valiant Integrated Services, San Diego, California, has been awarded a $30,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for research and development. This contract provides for the research, development, testing and evaluation of joint and coalition requirements for tools and technologies that allow for joint and combined planning and data interchange with U.S. coalition partners in multiple theaters of operation to maximize interoperability and mission effectiveness when combatting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Camp H.M.

March 11, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Lt. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, USA, Army Chief Information Officer/G-6, listens to attendees at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference 2019.

“There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think … it’s all about the information.” These lines are from the 1992 movie Sneakers, a film exploring the possibility of a decryption machine that could break any code, obliterating the ability to protect secrets. Nearly three decades later, the fictitious decoder still doesn’t exist, but the importance of data has grown exponentially.

March 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Army’s Integrated Tactical Network will leverage emerging mid-earth-orbit satellite communications, among other advanced technologies.  Shutterstock/Andrey Armyagov/NASA

The U.S. Army’s work on advancing its tactical network through its “capability package construct” will pull in significant capacity, added resiliency and interoperability, leaders say. The Army is leveraging more commercial solutions than ever, as well as its own Science and Technology Directorate research and development, to bring a competitive edge.

As part of its latest pursuit of solutions for the Integrated Tactical Network concept, or ITN, the Army is going after high capacity commercial satellite communications, protected waveforms, mid-earth-orbit constellations, and space-based Internet.

February 10, 2020
 
The U.S. Defense Department has released a $705 billion fiscal year 2021 budget request that includes funding for cybersecurity, hypersonic weaponry, artificial intelligence and multidomain warfare. Credit: Defense Department photo

President Donald J. Trump sent Congress a proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget request of $740.5 billion for national security, $705.4 billion of which is for the Department of Defense (DOD), department officials announced today.

October 17, 2019
By George I. Seffers
M1A2 Abrams tanks take part in a May 2019 exercise in Poland. U.S. Army officials plan a massive exercise, Defender-Europe early next year. It will be the largest of its kind in 25 years.  Photo Credit: Sgt. Thomas Mort

Defender-Europe 2020, a massive, first-of-its-kind exercise to take place next spring, will test the Army’s ability to rapidly project power forward, effectively operate with other nations and engage in multidomain operations, service officials revealed at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.

October 30, 2019
By George I. Seffers
DISA is beginning to implement plans to build a common network infrastructure for 14 defense agencies known as the “fourth estate.” The effort could save hundreds of millions of dollars over the long term. Credit: ktsdesign/Shutterstock

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has begun the implementation phase for the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Initiative and will now begin building the network for 14 defense agencies. The endeavor will standardize equipment, enhance cybersecurity, improve interoperability and save significant money, DISA officials say.

October 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
NATO members participating in the 2019 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise test communication equipment to ensure partner communications can interoperate during combined operations. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is working to speed innovation into NATO forces to help improve interoperability along with seizing key military advantages.  Supreme Allied Commander Transformation photo

NATO is accelerating its efforts to input innovation into its operational capabilities. This effort is aided both by industry and academia and by different nations that bring new technology applications to the alliance table. But even the best ideas are encountering speed bumps, and adversaries are moving quickly to exploit their own technological advances.

August 22, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army’s PEO for command, control and communications-tactical, speaks at TechNet Augusta. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Engaged in a concerted modernization effort, the U.S. Army is making strides in overcoming a persistent challenge—interoperability, according to Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army’s program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical.

The Army’s network modernization plan and strategy calls specifically for officials to “define and develop the Mission Partner Environment to improve network joint interoperability and coalition accessibility.” Simply defined, interoperability is the ability to effectively communicate or share data with international partners and allies or even with other U.S. military services.

November 14, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018 panelists discussing coalition interoperability are (l-r) Capt. Ron Gumbert, USN (Ret.), Gartner; Capt. Allen Edmiston, USN, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Mark Fox, Amazon Web Services; Frank T. Quick, MITRE National Security Sector; and Lt. Col. Van Thai, USAF, DKI APCSS.

The pursuit of coalition interoperability has become more difficult as new technologies emerge, potential operations become more diverse and vastly different militaries look at cooperative actions. This kaleidoscope of coalition operations was the focus of a panel at AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu.

One of the biggest problems facing the quest for interoperability is that no one knows precisely what it should be.

March 1, 2018
By Paul D. Mehney
U.S. soldiers prepare for a convoy to a tactical operation center during a multinational exercise. Such exercises help the Army improve interoperability and other technology-related issues.  Spc. Randy Wren, USA

The U.S. Army has partnered with NATO and other coalition nations to enhance operational readiness in a series of multinational exercises this year focused on interoperability. The drills enable national militaries to assess and adjust the interoperability of their capabilities long before meeting adversaries in the battlespace.

February 15, 2017
 

Volant Associates LLC,* Chantilly, Virginia, has been awarded a $14,005,098 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) Framework Integrated Collaborative Environment. Contractor will foster interoperability and collaboration of mission systems and capabilities within the Department of Defense and intelligence community by planning, analyzing, evaluating, designing, developing and testing a feasibility demonstration model of a collaborative framework for members of the DI2E community. Work will be performed at Chantilly, Virginia, and is expected to be complete by April 13, 2019.

February 8, 2017
 

Raytheon Co., Tewksbury, Massachusetts, is being awarded an $11,778,274 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide communications and interoperability for integrated fires in support of the Office of Naval Research. The future naval capability will develop networking and communications enhancements to enable next-generation sensor netting, electromagnetic maneuver warfare and integrated fires across the force. Work will be performed in St. Petersburg, Florida (35 percent); Largo, Florida (29 percent); El Segundo, California (27 percent); and Tewksbury, Massachusetts (9 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2020.

November 15, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Panelists at TechNet Asia-Paciifc 2016 discuss the need for trust in the cyber domain. Photo by Bob Goodwin

Trust—or a lack thereof—is one of the biggest impediments to information sharing among coalitions and partner nations, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference in Honolulu.

August 16, 2016
 

CSC Government Solutions LLC, Fairview Heights, Illinois, has been awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a not-to-exceed $88,085,627 for logistics integration and weapon systems logistics network support. Contractor will provide the support for the services necessary to perform four separate interoperability roles. The interoperability roles include supporting information technology infrastructure at headquarters Air Mobility Command, at the wing-level for sortie generation, and for G081 Program Management Office staff, as well as providing G081 functional programming support, training and subject matter expertise for technology, policy and system integration recommendations.

July 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
A 25th Infantry Division specialist conducts data and chat communications using a Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). The division’s top signal officer says he wants to get his hands on a new industry-developed cross-banding solution that will improve interoperability between U.S. forces and Pacific Rim partners.

U.S. Army and Marine Corps units soon may begin informally evaluating a product designed to provide lightweight, inexpensive and reliable voice interoperability at the lowest level. The cross-banding device could improve communications between newer and older radios among the U.S. military services, between the military and other government agencies and among U.S. and international forces, according to military and industry sources.

April 7, 2016
 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced today the implementation of a new technology to streamline and improve secure information sharing between the DHS and its partners. The Backend Attribute Exchange will simplify user identification and verification between different organizations for the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) by eliminating redundancies while ensuring proper security.

July 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army has announced the procurement of Motorola’s WAVE technology to enhance radio interoperability.

The U.S. Army is procuring Motorola’s WAVE software technology to fill a need for a unified application that links two-way radios, smartphones, telephones and personal computers together for seamless communications. The $14.1 million contract provides the Army with unlimited access to the capability. WAVE will act as the glue to patch together devices normally incapable of communicating with one another.

January 13, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

While cybersecurity is getting big play in the news these days—as it well should—three topics require just as much attention but have not yet hit the big time. Acquisition, spectrum and interoperability may not have the headline-grabbing charm of the hack into the U.S. Central Command’s Twitter account, but they are issues that need the same serious attention.

For years, industry and government personnel have agreed that the system for purchasing information technology systems needs change—serious change. The complicated acquisition process not only puts out-of-date technology in warfighters’ hands, it puts lives in danger.

May 15, 2014
 

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $7,253,896 modification (P00068) to FA8615-07-C-6032 for F-16 production contracts. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $430,377,045. This modification incorporates a solution to solve a radar interoperability issue affecting F-16 aircraft produced for Pakistan and Thailand under the basic contract. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2016. The contract supports 100 percent foreign military sales for Thailand and Pakistan. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

June 6, 2011
By George Seffers

Covia Labs Incorporated, Mountain View, California, recently announced that it has received a contract from the U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate's Small Business Innovation Research program to research and develop public safety mobile broadband applications for mission critical voice communications. Under the contract, Covia will develop a plan and deliver software technology that leverages long-term evolution (LTE), existing communications systems, and Covia Labs' Connector interoperability platform to address these requirements.

March 1, 2011
By George Seffers

Lafayette Group Incorporated, Vienna, Virginia, has been awarded a contract potentially valued at nearly $31 million for technical support to federal, state, and local government agencies engaged in a wide range of command, control, communications, computers and intelligence activities supporting communications interoperability for public safety. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

February 18, 2011
By Beverly Schaeffer

In this European nation of approximately 9.3 million people, Sweden's government and technology sectors are reaching beyond its borders to ramp up interoperability. Growth is an inevitable outcome, and Sweden is putting the pieces into play to achieve this goal. In his article, "Technology Sector Poised for Growth," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, George I. Seffers focuses on the elements driving Sweden's technology market-interoperability, outsourcing and exports.

September 3, 2010
By Beverly Schaeffer

Communications shrink the world and connect nearly all of its inhabitants. Countries can no longer afford to operate in a vacuum-and neither can coalition military operations, because their very success depends on interoperability. Practice aims at perfection, and through military exercises and demonstrations, coalition players hone their team-working skills while testing their systems' capabilities. One such event is the Coalition Warfighter Interoperability Demonstration (CWID), which turned 16 this summer and earned its driver's license to try new technology for a more realistic experience.

May 13, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor

The final panel of the 2010 Joint Warfighting Conference focused on two topics that have been discussed consistently for more than a decade: lack of interoperability and convoluted acquisition. Though the panelists agreed on the problems, their opinions about solutions differed slightly. Vago Muradian, panel moderater, opened the discussion stating that the need to improve interoperability has been at the heart of the last two administrations and remains a priority in the Obama administration. One topic of particular interest to members of industry in the audience concerned changing import/export rules. Muradian believes that changes to these policies would help ensure interoperability.

September 1, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The 2010 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) cycle has begun. Organizations interested in participating in the event can go to the Federal Business Opportunity site for details about how to participate.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sponsors the annual event, which supports the U.S. Defense Department and homeland defense and security acquisition decisions. Federal, state and local government organizations identify the technology solutions they are seeking.