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06 20 2016

Exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2016: Testing NATO deployable CIS interoperability

NCI Agency staff have been commended for their outstanding performance during a major NATO exercise, Steadfast Cobalt 2016. Agency experts made key contributions to the success of the exercise, which concluded in Bucharest, Romania, on June 3, 2016.

Major General Walter Huhn, Commander NATO Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Group, handed over Certificates of Appreciation to the Agency's Michael Rudack, Krzysztof Krysiak, Kostas Kaltsas, Theo Bingham, Darius Dworznik, Philippe De Smet, John Henwood, and the Mission Support Services Team. He congratulated Steadfast Cobalt participants on their achievements. MGEN Kuhn said: "I have already received excellent feedback from many areas, highlighting well on your preparation, your conduct throughout the exercise and indeed your ability to simply do the job. I am hugely impressed by you all."

Exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2016 was designed to test the interoperability of NATO's deployable communications systems, as well as that of Member Nations. It aims at improving the Alliance's readiness, in light of a changing security environment. The scale of this complex exercise reached unprecedented levels as personnel took into account requirements from the new NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.

More than 1,000 troops and 55 NATO units took part in the exercise, with around 7,000 tests undertaken in just over a week, up from 5,600 in 2015. Agency experts were solicited throughout the set-up, particularly in the areas involving Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), NATO Response Force (NRF), and Joint Command and Control Capability (JC2C), among others.

Exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2016: Testing NATO deployable CIS interoperability

NCI Agency and CIS Support Unit (CSU) Naples supported JFC Naples by delivering secure, coherent, cost effective and interoperable communications and information systems and services through a continuous and reliable linkup. The exercise also covered Federated Mission Networking, testing all 'human-to-human' communication services, that is to say, e-mail, chat, video teleconferencing, document handling, web, and audio services.

The Agency's Subject Matter Expertise (SME) Services, which were deployed from their home locations, managed to solve many issues ensuring the readiness of the Enhanced NATO Response Force (ENRF) in the areas of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR).

A NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) team successfully demonstrated a malicious insider attack into the mission network. NATO Rapid Deployable Corps – Italy (NRDC-ITA) participated in the exercise in preparation for the NRF 2017 validation. Exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2017 is due to take place in Lithuania next year.