On 15 November 2017, Chief Information Officers from NATO Member countries and eight partner nations gathered in Brussels for the sixth edition of the Chief Information Officers' Conference (CIOC). The aim of this NCI Agency flagship event is to provide an opportunity to build a CIO community, share strategic perspectives, exchange views on new ideas and business models, and trigger collaborative initiatives.
Since its beginnings in 2012, the CIOC has evolved considerably in content, format and participation. This year, the invitation was extended to Interoperability Platform partner nations, and a new format with panel discussions and increased audience interaction via an online Audience Participation Tool was adopted.
The conference's executive summary will be released by mid-December. In the meantime, an overview is provided below.
In his opening speech, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, Mr Heinrich Brauss examined the geo-political challenges facing the Alliance in the near future. "You, the Allied and partner Chief Information Officers and the NCI Agency, play an important role in mastering the broad spectrum of challenges and threats our Alliance is facing – threats and challenges that are increasingly complex and demanding," he stressed. "In this context, technology is of key importance for NATO and for Allies. It is a critical enabler for the Alliance's adaptation to the changed and evolving security environment."
The first panel on 'Embracing Change in Cyberspace' was led by Mr Murray Davidson, NCI Agency Director of Service Strategy. It provided an excellent view into the threats and opportunities of future technologies, with inputs from Dr Thomas Killion, NATO Chief Scientist, and Mr Christian Lifländer, Head of the Cyber Defence Section of the Emerging Security Challenges Division at NATO.
The second panel, moderated by Dr Gregory Edwards, NCI Agency Director of Infrastructure Services, focused on NATO's Digital Endeavour and 'What is in it for me?'. Building on the first discussion, this panel explored the practical implications of the Digital Endeavour for Communities of Interest. Rear Admiral Önder Çelebi, Assistant Chief of Staff, Command & Control, Deployability and Sustainability - Allied Command Transformation, provided his thoughts on NATO's 'ability to share' through interoperability as a critical aspect of the Alliance's Digital Endeavour. Brigadier General Kurt Pedersen, Deputy Commander of the Norwegian Armed Forces Cyber Defence and former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Project Group, contributed to the panel by discussing some prerequisites for successful implementation of timely, innovative, digitalized, secure and redundant solutions to support modern war fighters.
Moderated by Mr Ludwig Decamps NCI Agency Director of Demand Management, the last panel 'How do we take it from here?' centred on the Nations, and ambitiously tried to sketch the way ahead. Major General Bruno Maurice, Officier Général Transformation Digitale des Armées, France, and Rear Admiral Maarten Tossings, Principal Director of Organisation and Chief Information Officer, Netherlands, both provided valuable insights into challenges and successes of digital transformation from their national perspective.