Federated Mission Networks in the Enhanced Forward Presence
The first day of the Defence Communications conference in Krakow, has seen some fascinating insights from ministries of defence, from allies and from Industry with a focus on Federated Mission Networking in the Enhanced Forward Presence and wider NATO contexts. Chaired by Brigadier Tim Watts, Former Signal Officer-in- Chief, British Army, the meeting welcomed over 100 delegates from NATO member and partner nations.
Brigadier General Carlos De Santa from the Spanish MOD opened the meeting with a presentation on the MOD and Governmental approach, looking to deliver a radical increase in protected X Band, Military Ka and UHF satellite capability.
The meeting quickly moved onto discussing Federated Mission Networks.
Colonel Robert Pazur from Poland described the central role Poland is playing in the development and fielding of Mission Networking and the successes of Exercise ANAKONDA 16. Col Pazur was followed by Colonel Joachim Neumueller from the NATO FMN Secretariat, with a comprehensive description of the FMN spiral programme. Colonel Neumueller emphasised the essential balance of ‘quality’ – the centrally produced standards and governance, and ‘quantity’ – FMN Affiliates applying national resources to the programme.
Colonel Phil Collett provided delegates with a fascinating account of New Zealand’s approach to its Network Enabled Army and their approach to programme management, in the context of their unique operational challenges and doctrine.
The meeting also played host to Lieutenant Colonel Joel Hook from US Army Europe who described the EUCOM and USAREUR commitment to interoperability in the European and NATO context, and Major Geoffrey Beaudot from Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Department of Defence outlining the nations ambitious Government Satellite programme.
Industry contributions included Dr Christoph Erdmann who presented the Recusant approach to securing commercial smartphones, allowing the simultaneous operation of secure services and applications and the range of non-secure applications on IOS and Android.
Bob Schena described Rajant’s journey to the delivery of device and network mobility using mesh technology and the synergy and innovation gained from linking these radios to commercially available drones. Øystein Pederson showcased to the meeting Radionor’s highly flexible beam forming radios, and their military applications – a different approach to resilient, efficient, long range communications.
Arturo Usarek from Fights on Logistic, and representing Black Diamond and GMRE described a suite of products enabling the integration of on-the soldier Dismounted Situational Awareness systems, and developments in mesh networks. Ending the contribution from industry was Jorge Promo showcasing GoTenna’s disruptive take on soldier/edge communication needs – a simple, highly affordable, and throw away approach to situational awareness and C2.
The day ended with a thought-provoking panel session with Brigadier General Carlos De Santa, Lieutenant Colonel Guido Fielder (Bundeswehr)and Lieutenant Commander Stephen Goetz (Canadian Navy), discussing insights from the day and ways in which industries and governments can work together in this fast-moving area.
The meeting concluded in agreeing Federated Mission Networking is making great steps in enabling NATO to face the post Afghanistan operating environment, and has very wide buy in.
The next generation of national satellite programmes is looking for greater cross-government utility, while taking advantage of new technology. Meanwhile, innovative developments in mesh networking and other disruptive technologies are providing remarkable opportunities.
Security and reducing reliance on GPS were recurring themes, as were the challenges of matching capability to a wide range of operating environments, and how MODs can benefit from extremely rapid innovation in the private sector.
The day ended with a Networking Drinks Reception hosted by Airbus Defence & Space.