The NCI Agency General Manager, Mr Koen Gijsbers hosted a small delegation from the U.S. Telecommunications Advisory Team (TAT) for Afghanistan at the NCI Agency on Monday 30 June 2014. One of the key objectives of the visit was to discuss opportunities for cooperation between the U.S. TAT and the NCI Agency.
The TAT coordinates and synchronizes IT projects and strategies conducted by the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), international assistance organizations and ISAF. The team's operational focus is on developing plans with the government of Afghanistan to support stabilization operations by providing the country's fiber-optic backbone, improving cell coverage and recommending actions to grow the industry to provide jobs and improve the country's economy. The delegation was led by Deputy Director, Dr Gregory Edwards, who was accompanied by Senior Cybersecurity Transition Lead, COL Andrew Gale USAF, and Senior Ministry of Defense Advisor, Mr James Boynton.
As NATO and Nations are preparing to withdraw forces from Afghanistan, the US wants to ensure a smooth transition and decrease any potential gap in provision of CIS support to the government of Afghanistan. In view of NCI Agency's long-standing expertise in C4ISR, and prominence in Afghanistan, Dr Edwards reiterated the importance of continuous service provision to Operation Resolute Support.
In the afternoon, Dr Edwards and his team visited the NCI Agency in Mons. At the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability Technical Centre (NCIRC TC) a briefing on the structure and activities of the Cyber Security Service Line was followed by a tour of the NCIRC TC giving an overview of the systems in place to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyber security incidents. To conclude the visit the team visited the Operations Centre to enhance their understanding of the Centre's role in management of networks and CIS across NATO with specific attention to Afghanistan.
"We appreciated the warm welcome of the General Manager, Directors, and other staff. The Agency seems well organized for successful delivery of CIS to its stakeholders despite the enormous depth and breadth of responsibilities. Looking forward, I'm confident NCIA can make a huge contribution in maturing ICT development within the Afghanistan National Security Force," Dr Gregory Edwards commented at the end of the visit.
*The NCI Agency is the executive arm of the NATO Communication and Information Organisation (NCIO), which aims to achieve maximum effectiveness in delivering C3 capabilities to stakeholders, while ensuring their coherence and interoperability, and ensuring the provision of secure CIS services at minimum cost to Allies – individually and collectively.Dr Gregory Edwards commented at the end of the visit.