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10 19 2016

NCI Agency signs milestone partnership agreement with Poland, Spain and the UK

The NCI Agency and representatives from Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, have signed the first Communications and Information Partnership (C&IP) on NATO Software Tools (NST).

The ceremony took place on 12 October 2016 at the NCI Agency Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium with NCI Agency General Manager, MGEN (rtd) Koen Gijsbers in attendance.

He was joined by three national representatives, MGEN Jose Luis Goberna Caride, Director of IT and CIS Centre, Spanish Ministry of Defence, COL Marek Gladysz, Chief of Command and Control Directorate, Polish Armed Forces, and COL Mark Purves, Joint Forces Command Capability Authority C4ISR, British Ministry of Defence.

MGEN (rtd) Koen Gijsbers noted: "Today is a historical moment. Historical because it is the first Communication and Information Partnership Agreement. Historical also because today's signature is an important milestone in preserving the interoperability gains we made in Afghanistan. We see that interoperability is more important than ever, and we need to be interoperable at a lower level than before".

The long road to the achievement of this key milestone started in 2012 at the Chief Information Officers Conference when 8 NATO Nations, together with the NCI Agency, identified the need for a multinational approach to provide an enabling framework for nations that facilitate usage of NATO C4ISR Tools and Services for national purposes, including provision of essential support services to assure suitability and sustainability of the tools within the nations' C4ISR architectures.

This has led to the establishment of this inaugural NST C&I Partnership, the preferred C4ISR Tools and Services Support to Nations framework, with the active involvement of Poland, Spain and the UK, as well as key support from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Norway. These forward-thinking Nations as well as newly engaged Nations, such as Romania and Canada, are currently considering to join the Partnership next year.

The objective of the NST C&IP is to enable interoperability through the provision of services to nations and entities (Participants) in the use of these NATO software tools and to facilitate a coordinated approach in enabling Alliance and coalition missions to become more coherent and interoperable by using a common suite of C4ISR software for NATO and national purposes.

Key benefits for Participants include:

  • Facilitate implementation of the "NATO First Solution" (N1S) through reuse of common funded (CF) tools for national purposes and therefore increasing the national return on investment (ROI) on NATO CF capabilities;
  • National use of NATO Software, in NATO and non-NATO contexts, to improve operational effectiveness and interoperability.
  • Overall cost savings through economies of scale, such as reduced acquisition, training and operational support expenses by sharing costs.
  • Standardize on tools and processes for national, coalition and NATO missions, reusing mission-proven C4ISR capabilities.
  • A coherent, managed framework for the identification, vetting, and pursuit for inclusion of national requirements into the single NATO Software baselines, leveraging, engaging and getting agreement from within existing NATO governance and control frameworks

NCI Agency signs milestone partnership agreement with Poland, Spain and the UK

Therefore, as more and more Nations join, NATO and the Nations will see an increase in interoperability and effectiveness in operations, while seeing a decrease in overall costs.

The NCI Agency and representatives from Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, participated in the kick-off meeting for the NATO Software Tools (NST) Communications and Information Partnership (C&IP) on 12 October 2016.

As the Spanish Navy NATEX, CPT Juan Martin Nieto, so aptly put, "It is appropriate that this day, 12 October, was chosen as the signature day for the NST C&IP. A much celebrated day in Spain, as Christopher Columbus arrived and "discovered" the New World, we are now embarking on a voyage of our own, together, as partners, to discover a new world of seamless interoperability amongst the Nations and NATO."

Now with the milestone NST C&IP signature ceremony achieved, the reins of the ship have been handed over from Demand Management to the Directorate of Application Services' Command and Control (C2) Service Line to ensure the Partnership delivers value to the Nations by achieving the stated objectives and benefits, and by successfully managing and executing the annual Programme of Work (POW).

The first step has been taken with convening the kick-off meeting of the NST C&I Partnership Committee (PC) in the afternoon following the Signature Ceremony to nominate and appoint the NST C&I PC Chairperson, to agree on the establishment of the NST C&IP Working Group (WG) and to approve the POW for Year 1. This has been achieved, with Spain appointed the Chair and the UK as Vice-Chair of the PC, and UK as Chair of the WG.

The NST C&IP POW provides a flexible mechanism to ensure the Partnership is able to meet the needs of the Participants, now and in the future. This includes the Foundation Services which provide the minimum set of services such as installation and deployment, education & training, remote operational support, Partnership management and Committee support services. This, together with the option for requesting additional tools-support services, via Supplementary and/or On Demand Support Services, ensures a managed, yet flexible means for satisfying the national requirements.

The tools selected by the Partnership for the Year 1 NST C&IP Baseline support major aspects of the Nations' C4ISR requirements, including

  • Joint C3 (interim Geo-Spatial Intelligence Tool (iGEOSiT), Joint Tactical Chat (JCHAT), Joint Operations Centre Watch (JOCWatch), Networked Interoperable Real-Time Information Services (NIRIS)),
  • Joint Targeting (Joint Targeting System / Functional Area Support Training (JTS/FAST)),
  • Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) (Joint Operations Intelligence Information System (JOIIS), NATO Intelligence Toolbox (NITB)),
  • Air C2 (Integrated Command and Control Software (ICC)),
  • Logistics (Logistics Functional Area Services (LOGFAS)), and
  • Operational Planning (Tools for Operations Planning Functional Area Services (TOPFAS).

As envisaged from the inception of the NST C&I Partnership, the toolset baseline may be expanded as more Capability Packages deliver and Software Tools become available to NATO nations for multinational use, such as NATO Common Operational Picture (NCOP), Intelligence Functional Services (INTEL FS), Logistics Functional Services (LOG FS), etc.

As the Partnership evolves and matures, the NST C&IP will offer the mechanism for collecting the national demand for software tools for possible inclusion in future NATO software acquisitions. Furthermore, it will help participating nations supporting the collection, consultation and integration of national requirements into the NATO baselines.

For more information, please contact the NST C&IP Project Manager, Ms Mimi Nguyen (+31 (0) 70 374 3928, [email protected]).