Signal, cyber and communications experts from industry, government and the militaries of several NATO allied and partner nations gathered together for the 9th annual Mobile Deployable Communications Conference in Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 4-5.
One of the key themes of the conference addressed the need for mobile, resilient and deployable communications and for those systems to be interoperable in a joint and multinational environment.
Col. Jimmy L. Hall Jr., commander of 5th Signal Command (Theater) and the U.S. Army Europe, or USAREUR, chief information officer/G6, delivered a keynote address about how interoperability enhances existing U.S. assets and capabilities and how this can lead to greater cooperation across Europe as USAREUR works to reassure NATO allies and partners and deter potential aggression.
Hall highlighted the cooperation agreement signed last May with the Bundeswehr Communication and Information Systems, or CIS, Command, or BwCISCOM, as an example of building upon existing relationships to enhance signal-specific interoperability and partner capacity.
“We want to take that to the field, to work on practical applications where our communications systems are talking across platforms,” he said.
Addressing the assurance of NATO allies and partners, Hall spoke about the progress and importance of ongoing exercises as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, and how the five pillars of Strong Europe contribute to assurance and deterrence. He said USAREUR completed 75 exercises in 2015 and has 101 planned for 2016.
“It’s about our persistent presence, it’s about our resolve. Assurance and deterrence is important for us – that’s what we’re here for,” Hall said.
“We will stand together as partners and allies. We will make Signal Strong for a Strong Europe,” he said.
Col. Juergen Schick, from BwCISCOM’s Concepts and Developments Branch, spoke about their efforts to build the German Mission Network and how it would work in a multinational environment.
“Our goal is to support network-enabled operations in missions and ensuring national and multinational command and control,” Schick said.
He said BwCISCOM is working to eliminate differences between green [mission] and white [non-tactical] systems and networks to allow Soldiers to train and work as they fight. As for what constitutes a mission, Schick said Germany plans for a range of scenarios that includes everything from stability operations to high intensity combat.
“If you are able to provide communications in both scenarios, then you are able to cover any likely mission, in our eyes,” Schick said.
U.S. Air Force Col. Ken Yunevich, head of operations for the NATO CIS Group, delivered a keynote address about the organization and capabilities of NATO’s communications support deployed forces. He emphasized the need for NATO’s static and deployable communications assets and networks to work together to support and sustain multiple missions on short notice.
“Secure communications on the move is an important growth area for our own internal capabilities,” Yunevich, said.
Brig. Gen. Jozef Nasiadka, chief of the Command and Control Directorate – J6 for the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, spoke about the capabilities building activities in the Polish Armed Forces and its top mobile deployable CIS projects.
“It is essential to have networks that channel information among allies,” said Nasiadka, highlighting Poland’s experience as part of the Afghanistan Mission Network and NATO’s push for Federated Mission Networks.
Nasiadka emphasized the importance of cyber as the fifth dimension of operations, together with air, land, sea and space.
“Military success in the physical domain is today increasingly dependent on success in the cyber domain,” he said.
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