NITEC2017

July 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Gen. Denis Mercier, FRAF, discusses the importance of interoperability among member nations at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario.

The road for NATO to achieve communications interoperability must be paved with innovation and effective cybersecurity, top leaders recently said. Only then can the alliance fulfill its missions and continue to function as it faces a wide range of threats in a time of tight budgets. 

However, identifying technology needs and incorporating them is easier said than done. NATO and its 28 member nations still lack a concrete plan to rush new capabilities into alliance and national systems. Intricate procurement processes compound the absence of cooperation among contracted firms, while cyber adversaries continue to improve and broaden their methods.

April 26, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Ernest J. Herold, deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO, discusses the changes NATO is—and must be—undergoing in the acquisition realm during NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

NATO is undergoing needed change and striving to spend more on vital projects, but it must ramp up these efforts to be successful, said a former U.S. Army veteran who is the deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO. Ernest J. Herold told the Wednesday audience in his keynote address at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that NATO needs to adapt to survive. In recent years, the balance has tilted in favor of collective defense, but further changes are necessary.

“For NATO to remain relevant, it needs to adapt to the changing security environment and its challenges,” he stated.

April 26, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Corinne Charette, senior assistant deputy minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector, Canada, describes how her country is an emerging source of cyber and space technologies at NITEC 2017.

A new generation of secure space satellites will both serve Canada and contribute to NATO innovation, said a government official. Corinne Charette, senior assistant deputy minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector, Canada, told the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that the country will benefit both socially and economically from the new orbiters looming just over the horizon.

Charette emphasized that these satellites, which will represent cutting-edge space technologies, will have effective cybersecurity. That cybersecurity may originate in Canada, as she noted the country has a burgeoning high-technology industry.

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
A panel explores acquisition innovation at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Useful methods of encouraging innovation in military cyber must be consolidated to achieve success, according to high-technology executives. Speaking on the second day of NITEC 2017 in Ottawa, this panel of experts outlined useful measures of boosting innovation, and then warned they must be part of a larger overall effort.

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, describes cybersecurity threats and solutions to the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Cybersecurity has not kept up with changes in the realm that opened the door to the security challenges facing networks today, said a Silicon Valley executive. Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, told the audience at day two of NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that new approaches to security and network architecture must be implemented to turn the tide against cyber adversaries.

“The past decade, there have been tectonic shifts in the IT [information technology] landscape that created the perfect storm,” Anderson said. He mentioned several activities—and lack of key actions—that enabled adversaries to take advantage of their own burgeoning skills to penetrate networks nearly at will.

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Several leaders from academia and industry accept awards for the NCI Agency's Defence Innovation Challenge.

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has named 10 innovations as the best of its Defence Innovation Challenge, which is designed to spur new solutions to agency challenges. The agency announced and presented the awards at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa. The winners, representing both industry and academia, are:

Radionor Communications (Norway): Long-range wireless communications: resilient terrestrial long-range or rapidly deployable, scalable IT infrastructure

Larus Technologies Corporation (Canada): Service management automation and analytics

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

Eleven contracts ranging from €5 million to €32 million head NATO’s menu of business opportunities in core enterprise services and joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (JISR). Officials at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa listed and described the opportunities offered by the NCI Agency.

Antonio Calderon, NCI Agency chief of core enterprise services, described seven contracts along with the expected quarters for their invitation for bids and the contract amount:

• New NATO Messaging Services, 3q 2017, €16 million

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
A panel discussion examines innovation as a security imperative at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Needing innovation for cybersecurity more than ever, NATO and its member nations still do not have a concrete plan to speed new capabilities into alliance and national systems. Intricate procurement processes compound the absence of cooperation among firms while cyber adversaries continue to improve their methods and broaden their capabilities.

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, CenturyLink, describes the difficulty in building a network of trusted peers at NITEC 2017.

U.S. cybersecurity firms have discovered the value and the difficulty of building a stable of trusted peers, but extending that principle to the multinational status of NATO will be as challenging as it is important, according to a U.S. technology firm leader experienced with both government and industry. Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, CenturyLink, told the first-day audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that his firm serves its customers by relying on trusted partners who can support the company as needed.

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Gen. Denis Mercier, FRAF, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, speaks to the audience at NITEC 2017.

The near certainty that future military operations will require coalitions of modern network-centric forces mandates interoperability among advanced technologies, said the head of NATO's transformation effort. Gen. Denis Mercier, FRAF, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, told the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa, Canada, this is the alliance's key issue.

Always a concern, interoperability has risen to critical importance as military capacities have become focused on networks and information technologies. Countries and industry must work together to ensure effective communication among advanced technologies.