Military leaders are already fighting the next war before it has even begun. NATO members and their partner nations have increased investment into industry programmes to keep pace with technology as they prepare to for scenarios where more sophisticated intelligence systems will dictate the victor of the battle for information superiority especially in connectivity contested environments.
We, as organisers of the Defence Communications meeting, have spent several months speaking with nations and researching technology programmes to develop a clear picture of future operational requirements these include NATO ‘s CP 130, the EU SATCOM project and many deployable networking project by nations such as BATCIS.
The rate at which both transmission mediums and enablers are evolving and being used not only increase connectivity, data transfer ability and reduces need for hardware (which in turn aides deployment) but also changes the way in which users communicate. This is evident from modern innovation such as the development of smartphones, software applications and general ICT.
One of the biggest challenges military leaders face is sharing information and creating networks on the move that suit the NATO response force initiative. Our conversations have revealed this extends from single nations communicating various assets and sharing data to larger coalitions acting in the same theatre.
This brings the management of data into play with vast amounts of data flowing between assets. Managing the bandwidth is therefore mission critical. The network infrastructure however needs to adapt from past conflicts such as in desert terrain to where future conflicts may arise, including woodland and urban terrain. Due to the success of the Afghanistan Mission Network (AFM) NATO are trying to standardise capability and connectivity of C2 systems for all their partners the Federated Mission Network (FMN).
We discussed with military leaders the increasing interest in cloud software solutions. The attractiveness for military HQs, deployable units and information managers comes as the software capability eradicates the need to carry data storage whilst deployed, facilitates access to intelligence in any situation and outsources data management. There are concerns however over data security, and integration with legacy systems.
Defence Communications takes place 26th – 27th September 2017 in Krakow, Poland.