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.