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04 7 2020

NCI Agency connects North Macedonia to NATO Foreign Ministers video meeting

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency provided technology to connect the newest NATO Alliance Member Nation, North Macedonia, to the first meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers held on 2 April 2020 by secure video conference.

Multiple teams from across the Agency collaborated to achieve this result in such a short period of time.

NCI Agency connects North Macedonia to NATO Foreign Ministers video meeting

Tyson McWha, the Network Services and IT Infrastructure (NSII) Project Manager, aligned the Agency-wide team to deliver the project.

"It was incredible to see all parts of the Agency come together, focus on a common objective, and achieve the stated goal within the required timeframe," McWha said.

The Agency's Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Support Unit in Brussels, Belgium, together with experts from the NSII team, prepared the video teleconference systems (VTC) to be sent to North Macedonia, while supporting the normal VTCs taking place in NATO Headquarters.

The CIS Sustainment Support Centre, the main logistics and deployable system engineering depot within the NCI Agency, took the project manager's requests and planned the logistics. The centre coordinated transportation of the equipment with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency under extremely challenging circumstances due to the current COVID-19 borders restrictions.

"During the execution we interacted with the different stakeholders in order to guarantee the success of the shipment and to meet the project deadlines," said COL Egbert Teeuw, Commander of the centre.

Once the shipment arrived, the work to install and test the system began. Eddy De Clerck, VTC Cell Head Engineer, coordinated these efforts, liaising with the VTC Control Centre in Mons, and technicians in North Macedonia.

Experts from the NATO Cyber Security Centre also ensured that all security matters were in place and tested so the Agency could provide a secure capability for both NATO and North Macedonia.

Finally, the CIS Support Unit in Brussels supported the NATO Secret VTC connection between NATO Headquarters and North Macedonia during the meeting.

"This shows the importance of digital communications in a modern world, and certainly, in time of crisis," said CSM Daniel Maesschalck, VTC Team Leader for the CIS Support Unit in Brussels. "The NCI Agency delivered VTC support for an important event with professionalism, motivation and in such short notice."