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09 10 2019

Connecting the dots: Enhancing communications across the Alliance

Not everyone in information technology stays behind a screen.
Some, like Senior Project Manager Pablo Moreno, get to see the world as a part of their daily duties.

Beginning in November 2017, a mere two months after starting at the NATO Communications and Information Agency, Moreno travelled for six months all over the Alliance.

"It was very challenging at the beginning because everything was new to me," Moreno said. "It took me a couple of missions to understand everybody's roles, needs and concerns."

Soon after joining the Agency, Moreno became part of the project management team for an urgent effort to enhance the Alliance's command and control communications. Moreno works within the Network Services and IT Infrastructure (NSII) Service Line, which was in charge of the project.

The Service Line needed to quickly implement systems at 27 different sites in 18 NATO Nations. As the team leader of 12 of those implementations, Moreno travelled two to three weeks a month, logging time in ten different countries.

"I really enjoyed the experience and I learned a lot about NATO and the different stakeholders, but mainly a lot about the Agency's customers and users," Moreno said.

Moreno travelled with an implementation team – usually two engineers and a technician – to each site. Though the team worked on tight timelines, they found time to enjoy each location together with the locals on-site, Moreno said.

In Iceland, for example, Moreno remembers taking time to visit the "Bridge Between Continents" and enjoy Icelandic nature, with its unique landscapes and hot springs.

"And it surprised me that you never see the dark. It's sunny when you go to bed around 12 at night and it's still sunny when you get up at 6 a.m.," Moreno said about the time the team spent there. "You feel that the sun is always shining."

Connecting the dots: Enhancing communications across the Alliance

Moreno, who is from Spain, came to NATO looking to gain international work experience.

"I cannot think about a better international environment than this," Moreno said. "You work not only with customers and users from different NATO Nations, but your own colleagues are also from all these 29 Nations."

Today, Moreno is focused on a 54-site project to implement systems that will disseminate the recognized air picture, a listing of all aircraft in flight within a particular airspace.

Moreno hopes to visit some of the sites as the systems are implemented.

"I believe it is very positive to work with such a diverse group of people. I love sharing experiences with colleagues from different countries.
It is a kind of never-ending learning process and it is fun how different and how similar at the same time we all are," Moreno said of working for the Agency.

The NCI Agency has an "extremely important role" within NATO to bring the Alliance's Allies together, by providing the systems that enable them to communicate, Moreno said.

"Communication in general is key, but in NATO with such diversity, it is even more important," Moreno said.

While visiting the 12 sites, Moreno noticed most of them didn't have NATO connectivity before the team's arrival.

"When we deliver the NATO points of presence to these sites, with all of the capabilities, the national users really see NATO," Moreno said. "They feel that NATO has arrived."

Being connected, Moreno said, can change your perception of NATO.

"The services we provide to NATO and the Nations allow our users to communicate and share information in a secure manner using state-of-the-art technology," Moreno said. "And this is key for the NATO mission. This is why the role of NSII is key."

About the Network Services and IT Infrastructure Service Line: The NSII mission enables secure and resilient data, voice and video communication services worldwide. It supports deployed operations and exercises for NATO Joint Forces, and political consultations between NATO Headquarters and Nations. The NSII Service Line is one of the largest units in the NCI Agency by personnel (more than 300 employees), portfolio (300 million EUR a year) and geographical footprint (17 locations).

Interested in working for the NSII Service Line? Explore our vacancies.