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04 12 2017

NATO App store: Leveraging a precious legacy

Each year, the Alliance invests several hundred million Euros in advanced software to support coalition operations. By nature, this software is 'born interoperable' and designed to help Nations operate together. More importantly, it is combat-proven, a direct legacy of operations in Afghanistan, Libya and the Balkans.

An innovative project, with an aptly cryptic technical name (Electronic Defined Media Library), now makes this software much more easily accessible to Nations interested in re-using it for national use. The project led to the creation of a 'NATO app store'.

Why pay twice?

Several Nations, including the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, have already made a policy to re-use existing NATO solutions to save on national investments while at the same time ensuring interoperability with NATO systems. The solutions are also available to NATO Partner countries.

The NATO Software Tools (NST) initiative covers 19 NATO software tools that can be used for free by NATO Nations for testing, evaluation and operational purposes. Consequently, 25 NATO Nations, six NATO Response Force units, US Army Europe and US Special Operations Command Europe have signed a licence agreement with the NCI Agency for the delivery of the NST.

"For some NATO Nations, the fighting in Afghanistan, for instance in terms of the number of casualties or rounds fired, was the most intense land fighting since the Korean War," stresses Koen Gijsbers, NCI Agency General Manager. "Afghanistan was perhaps the single biggest breakthrough for Alliance interoperability, how we can operate effectively as a coalition in terms of sharing information. That is a precious legacy that we need to preserve."

The Electronic Definitive Media Library now provides a secure one-stop-shop for NATO software, accessible from anywhere in the world. It offers a number of specific benefits including user registration and controlled user access, public key encryption and access logging and auditing.

NATO App store: Leveraging a precious legacy

Better support to Agency customers

The project, completed on schedule, was initiated by the Service Engineering and Architecture branch of Agency's Service Strategy directorate with the support from Demand Management, Service Support and Business Application and the Service Management and Control teams and sponsored by the Command and Control Service Line Chief.

"Our mission was to replace a manual software delivery process - costly and slow in terms of resources and performance - with a modern toolset providing fast and reliable services to a constantly growing customer base," said Mariano Valle, NCI Agency Senior Architect, Service Strategy. "It was our answer to the NCI Agency's call for an efficient use of IT resources, while providing a significantly more reliable, more stable and highly performant service to our internal and external customers."

The service is now up and running, and has already been used to distribute NATO software to NATO Enterprise units, Nations and Partners. It is also used in support of operations such as patch management, and NATO Response Force Exercises.

Speeding delivery, fast project

In developing the project, the Agency focused on agile development, minimizing costs. The project is another step forward in NATO embracing the creative use of cloud solutions. The EDML is implemented in the public cloud and Agile (SCRUM) development based on three iterative Sprints with DevOps tools and best practices in line with the "Cloud First" approach stemming from the NATO Cloud Computing Policy stating that "All future ICT solutions within the NATO Enterprise should use the NATO Enterprise's cloud infrastructure rather than deploying distinct additional infrastructures."

For more information, contact the NCI Agency POC as follows:

For NATO customers

For Nations and Partner customers

Service Management & Control Service Line
P: 0032 65 44 9063/9085

Demand Management
P: 0032 2 707 8353

Mr. Calin Haiduc [email protected]
Mr. Michaël Danys [email protected]

Ms. Britta Schuessler [email protected]