As NATO’s technology and cyber leader, the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency supports quite a few exercises each year.
Most recently, the Agency played a key role in the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX), which ran from 10 to 27 June 2019. The exercise is designed to test and improve interoperability between NATO and national C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) systems.
The Agency delivered NATO’s C4ISR capabilities to the exercise and provided a support backbone for the event. The Agency also conducted technical tests of fielded, developmental and experimental systems in the context of a coalition scenario.
More than 1,500 people from across the Alliance worked together to make CWIX happen. Around 60 of those were subject matter experts from the Agency. The Agency’s Communications and Information Systems Support Unit in Bydgoszcz, Poland, also supported the execution of the exercise.
“The expertise and customer-oriented attitude demonstrated by the NCI Agency’s CSU staff was clearly recognized by all organizers and participants alike,” said Fulvio Postogna, NATO Joint Force Training Centre Deputy CWIX Officer of Primary Responsibility, in a note of appreciation to the Agency. “All issues and tickets were resolved in a timely fashion and no customer was sent away without answers.”
Allied Command Transformation (ACT) led and managed the exercise. The Agency delivered 33 capabilities and systems that were critical to the exercise, such as joint chat, and NATO-wide integrated command and control software for air operations.
“This was possibly the best CWIX yet," Postogna said.
CWIX was also an opportunity for the Agency to test and verify the interoperability of several systems and services. For example, during the exercise the Agency worked to verify NATO’s Core Data Framework, which is designed to help the Alliance share information across different communities of interest. Through the framework, NATO aims to enable the Alliance to share data on a message format level, while minimizing misinterpretation of that data.
As another example, the Agency worked to verify interoperability between national Friendly Force Tracking Systems. Friendly Force Tracking Systems are developed and deployed
by many Nations with multiple interfaces to share positional and operational information on their own forces across the coalition.
The exercise is also an important opportunity to explore innovative solutions to interoperability challenges. The NCI Agency enabled experimentation and exploration of innovative concepts in areas such as data science, and data-centric security.
More than 8,000 tests were developed and executed on more than 300 systems during a three-week period. The exercise is focused on systems intended for deployment within a NATO Response Force or Combined Joint Task Force.