The Alliance's ability to share and process complex intelligence was significantly improved through Unified Vision 2016, a major 'trial' managed by Allied Command Transformation and NATO Headquarters in the context of NATO's Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance initiative 14 – 29 June.
The outcomes will improve how NATO runs multinational operations, responds to hybrid warfare and leverages the new Alliance Ground Surveillance capability.
"What's the point of collecting tons of imagery, if you don't share or exploit it," said Ludwig Decamps, NATO's Joint ISR Capability Area Manager. "The beauty of NATO is that Nations have unique expertise, for example in a certain geographic area or cultural context. If we link that up, we get more insight, more quickly. That allows NATO to react faster."
During the event, a team of 400 participants from 17 Nations worked across 10 sites to rapidly address threats posed in five complex vignettes. These included convoy protection, hostage rescue, domestic terrorist threat and ballistic missile defence.
The trial introduced and validated new procedures for 'Federated Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination' of intelligence. This new approach optimizes how vast volumes of intelligence are processed in Alliance operations, allowing teams to share the burden of analysing huge volumes of data and leveraging a given Nations' unique geographic, historical or cultural background. The challenge now is for Nations to embed these processes in their national doctrine and tactics.
"The trial took place in 10 locations because that reflects NATO operations – various National units working together to a common purpose," said COL Mike Clark of Allied Command Transformation, the trial manager.
The locations taking part included Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Live assets used included the US RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk, the Romanian Hirrus, and the Belgian B-Hunter remotely piloted air systems. A Danish Combat Support Ship also took part in the trial. The command post was hosted by the United States Air Forces in Europe Warrior Preparation Center in Germany. Technical and subject matter expertise was provided by the NCI Agency.