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03 4 2024

The NCI Agency enables accelerated NATO decision-making

Since Russia's illegal war of aggression in Ukraine, security and defence for NATO has markedly transformed, and rapid and efficient decision-making has become more critical than ever for the Alliance. Within the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) Centre enables NATO's current and future Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

The JISR Centre's work directly supports NATO's current understanding of developments in operational and strategic environments, by enabling the collection, processing, utilization and dissemination of intelligence data and information. They stand at the forefront of ensuring NATO is well informed at strategic and tactical levels, and that all collected information is integrated into and accessible from networks across the Alliance.

"Our experts help enable interoperability between a wide range of ISR capabilities and NATO systems through software applications and architectures. This allows information collected by NATO and national ISR platforms to be integrated in, and accessible from, Alliance networks using NATO-approved standards," explains Matt Roper, NCI Agency Chief of JISR Centre.

Enabling the Alliance to perform persistent surveillance

Over the past few years, a strong focus of the Agency's JISR support was the successful delivery and integration of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability into operational service. The NATO's AGS system provides a state-of-the-art ISR capability to NATO, enabling the Alliance to perform persistence surveillance over wide areas. The capability continues to evolve into NATO's ISR Force and will become the hub for JISR data and services within the NATO Command Structure.

Persistent surveillance is fundamental for effective deterrence and defence. With efficient data management, persistent surveillance provides military and political leaders with essential awareness to enable timely decision-making. This work demands access to a multitude of data sources from the Alliance, Nations and commercial providers.

The Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS) programme addresses this challenge, through streamlined space data collection, sharing and analysis. The APSS will use JISR architectures and applications to improve NATO's intelligence and surveillance, providing essential support to NATO military missions and operations.

The Agency's JISR operational support extends to other NATO capabilities, including the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control (NAEW&C) Force, the extension in service of the E-3A aircraft (NATO's AWACS) and the support to the programme which will provide the Alliance with an enduring replacement - the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) Programme. The JISR Centre has also been supporting the assessment of industry proposals for AFSC with a focus on NATO JISR interoperability within the various concept proposals and feasibility studies provided by industry.

Technology to protect the Alliance

The growing demand for integrated ISR data, products and services within NATO Multi Domain Operation activities requires a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience within the Alliance. At the Agency, the JISR Centre supports NATO's requirements by expanding its work to the research and application of advanced technologies, such as machine learning or sensor fusion, in all its portfolio activities. Electro-magnetic operations, Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) activities, navigation warfare, Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) activities, biometrics and identity intelligence are some of the many areas which are directly benefitting from the developed knowledge and understanding within the JISR Centre.

All JISR data, products and services require geo-location in order to ensure that relevant information can be searched, retrieved, analyzed and can directly contribute to decision effects. The JISR Centre capabilities within the areas of geospatial, meteorological and oceanographic (GeoMetOc) information systems, provide the ability to rapidly comprehend the multi domain environment, ensuring the Alliance is basing key decisions and actions on common GeoMetOc frameworks.

The NCI Agency enables accelerated NATO decision-making