Brig. Gen. Daniel R. Walrath, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff, Operations, Resolute Support Mission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and United States Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan.
Brig. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, USAF, has been assigned as commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Alliance Ground Surveillance Force, Allied Command Operations, NATO, Sigonella, Italy.
NATO is moving into the digital realm deliberately, avoiding a headlong rush into new technologies, even though it is committed to modernizing its communications and information systems on a large scale. The alliance is incorporating new information technologies without breaking either the bank or speed records by tapping the expertise of others to bring digital benefits to the organization and its forces.
NATO and the European Union are improving information sharing on the cyber threat and bolstering collaboration on potential solutions. The two organizations seek to increase the relevance of shared data and are discussing the potential for sharing classified information.
NATO is building a wide range of technological capabilities, including open source intelligence, counterterrorism, artificial intelligence, space-based surveillance, electronic warfare and biometric solutions, some of which were previously left to the individual nations or other international organizations.
The flurry of activity amounts to a complete metamorphosis of NATO’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, according to Matt Roper, the joint ISR chief within NATO’s Communications and Information Agency. Roper notes that the alliance’s new direction results directly from the 2012 summit in Chicago.
Amid stunning digital attacks that have not only rocked countries around the globe but also targeted alliance forces, NATO is sharpening its resolve to serve as a cyber protector. A forthcoming Cyber Operations Center will incorporate cyber warfare into NATO’s defense operations. In addition, NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is boosting the organization’s cybersecurity-related research, exercises and instruction to meet the seemingly unending threats.
As global security becomes more uncertain, NATO only grows in importance to its members. We’ve seen the repeated bad behavior of Russia, the continued chaos of the Middle East, the influence of Iran moving throughout the region and beyond, the increasingly bellicose activity of North Korea, and the ceaseless threat of ISIS all affecting NATO’s strategic interests. The alliance represents a unique set of international political and defense standards, values and norms that form the basis for rules-based order in Western civilization. Further, member nations underpin each other’s economies with dynamic trade and security.
NATO views Russia as a key to regional security and seeks to work with the country on a variety of issues. However, the alliance views some Russian actions with suspicion, and recent statements from Kremlin leaders are not viewed as constructive, according to a leading NATO general.
The resurgent national power is involved in many areas of importance to NATO. And other countries, such as China, India and Pakistan, have concerns in these areas and must be included in discussions. But their role tends to be in support of their own regional interests, whereas Russia is making moves near the borders of NATO members.
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.
Brig. Gen. Michael R. Fenzel, USA, has been assigned as director, CJ-5, Resolute Support Mission, NATO, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan.
The increasing hybrid military threat in Europe is becoming more closely related to developments in cyber technology. Cyber can both favor hybrid warlike activities and bolster situational awareness and swift reaction. Defending a modern society, which depends heavily on social media and critical infrastructure, requires a well-trained and prepared cyber defense force.
Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, USN (Ret.), has been selected for appointment to the Senior Executive Service and for assignment as the defense adviser to the NATO ambassador.
Brig. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff for operations, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, NATO, United Kingdom.
Russia has advanced the state of the art in electronic warfare capabilities to overcome and even overpower Western electronic systems, both military and commercial. And now the country’s military modernization plan extending to 2025 lays the groundwork for further advancement, according to a recent European think tank report.
Russia is developing a total package of electronic warfare (EW) systems covering a broad frequency range. The systems encompass traditional areas such as surveillance, protection and countermeasures, and they shield Russian use of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). These total package systems are designed to be highly mobile and include small units deployable by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Rear Adm. Andrew C. Lennon, USN, will be assigned as deputy chief of staff, Submarines, Allied Maritime Command, Northwood, U.K.
Cyberspace is often described as the fifth domain of military operations, as equally critical to national and international defense as the domains of land, sea, air and space. The success of military missions increasingly depends on the availability of cyberspace and freedom of action in it. Robust and resilient cyber defense capabilities are now required to support military structures, missions and operations. Although many nations have recently made great progress in developing their cyber defense capabilities, a consensus is growing that there is much room for improvement.
UltiSat Incorporated of Gaithersburg, Maryland announced that it has been awarded a NATO Framework Agreement, under which the company will provide consulting services in support of NATO's technical support program. The services include subject matter expert staffing in support of NATO missions. “UltiSat is honored to have been selected as a partner for this important project,” said M.G. Abutaleb, CEO of UltiSat. “We bring relevant past performance in the provision of high-touch professional services to mission-critical programs such as required under this Framework Agreement, including significant in-theater operations support.
Europe is nervous. A nationalistic and revanchist Russia threatens security, and post-Cold War downsizing of U.S. forces across the continent leaves it vulnerable. At one point, 300,000 soldiers stationed in Europe were tasked with the mission of deterring the Soviet Union. Today, that number hovers around 30,000. It is no surprise, then, that senior U.S. and allied military leaders have placed a renewed emphasis on strengthening NATO and improving its battlefield capabilities. One of the most effective ways to fortify the alliance is through unit-level partnerships.