Reacher Large CIS capability deployed on Ex TRIDENT JUNCTURE 16.
INNSWORTH, UK- As a collection of 28 nations across the globe, the members of NATO face a unique challenge during any exercise or operation: communication. As the NATO mission set has expanded, its units need to become quicker and more adaptable to the changing world. Whether spoken word or digital communications, clear communication between 28 nations and their various military branches is vital to their success.
Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps is one of NATO’s High Readiness Forces (Land) on the forefront of that quick adaptability. With Joint Force Command Naples, participating from Italy, Exercise Trident Juncture 16, October 23 – November 4, at RAF St. Mawgan, UK, is to certify the servicemen and women of the ARRC as the NATO Response Force Land Component Command in 2017. This exercise links the ARRC in the UK to JFC Naples in Italy, to four sub-units led by 4 different nations simulated in Norway, an Air Component in Germany, and a simulated Maritime force at sea.
The road that led to today’s Communication and Information Systems landscape was born out of the NATO International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan.
"In Afghanistan we had the Afghanistan Mission Network, where all of the separate nations connected their systems together,” said British Lt. Col. Laurence Fowkes, Capability Development for HQ ARRC. "It was a technical and procedural template for people knowing what a safe system looks like.”
"So rather than us having a UK secret system, this template is how everyone was able to connect their networks together,” he continued. "As soon as Afghanistan finished, the AMN was pulled apart but all the nations within NATO wanted this framework to continue and to endure for future contingent operations.”
This network was made into what is called the Federated Mission Network. With the FMN, NATO has been able to connect 28 nations, regardless of location, and one key element of that is NATO Deployable CIS Module (E) and their deployable CIS system, Dragonfly.
"DCISM (E) provides CIS support to NATO operations where needed,” said Romanian Capt. Cristina Dinu, commander of DCIS (E), 2nd NATO Signal Battalion. "We provide voice, data and video telecommunication services to supported HQs.”
For the ARRC’s upcoming NRF mission in 2017 as the LCC, they could be responsible for several units spanning military services and NATO nations, the interoperability of communications is even more crucial.
"For NRF 17, this is the first year that they expect people to be able to turn up with systems that can connect together on operations,” said Fowkes.
"Information, planning and execution documents that are produced by the Land Component are updated, so rather than everybody having to send things by email or chat its directly available,” he said. "It’s very effective collaboration and it means everyone’s got one version of the truth.”
As Trident Juncture 16 continues, communications are on forefront. Refining that capability now, gives the ARRC the edge for anything they might face as the NRF, and the importance of good CIS systems can’t be understated for anyone involved.
"It’s been a good moment for us to train, exercise and refine our capabilities,” said Dinu. "It’s a good opportunity to prove that we have these capabilities and that they are real.”
Story by HQ ARRC Public Affairs Office