NITECH: NATO Innovation and Technology – Issue 3, June 2020

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NATO Innovation and Technology

NITECH NATO Innovation and Technology At the Edge of Defence Technology

Supporting NATO and the Nations


Nurturing Tech Talent

ISSUE 3 | JUNE 2020


| JUNE 2020

































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NITECH NATO Innovation and Technology

ISSUE 3 | JUNE 2020

Editors Adelina Campos de Carvalho, Simon Michell Project Managers Raimonds Bricis, Andrew Howard Editorial Director Barry Davies Art direction and layout Dorena Timm, Andre van Herk, Michael Williams, Andrea Grammling, J-P Stanway, Herita MacDonald Contributing Photographers Marcos Fernandez Marin, Conrad Dijkstra, Michael Linennen Cover Marcos Fernandez Marin

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Š 2020. The views and opinions, expressed by independent (non-NATO) authors, contributors and commentators in this publication, are provided in their personal capacities and are their sole responsibility. Publication thereof, does not imply that they represent the views or opinions of the NCI Agency, NATO or Global Media Partners (GMP) and must neither be regarded as constituting advice on any matter whatsoever, nor be interpreted as such. References in this publication to any company or organization, as well as their products and services, do not constitute or imply any direct or indirect endorsement, recommendation or preference by the NCI Agency, NATO or GMP. Furthermore, the reproduction of advertisements in this publication does not in any way imply endorsement by the NCI Agency, NATO or GMP of products or services referred to therein.



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Forewords and introduction 10 Kevin J. Scheid NCI Agency General Manager


Mircea Geoană NATO Deputy Secretary General


At the edge of defence technology Adelina Campos de Carvalho and Simon Michell, Editors, NITECH – NATO Innovation and Technology

P. 23

At the Edge of Defence Technology 20 The innovation imperative 23 One Tech NATO 28 Silicon Hills – sharpening NATO’s edge

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee

32 #Fasttech 40 Harnessing 5G 51

Imagining the future of defence

43 The 5G challenge for NATO 6

48 The race for quantum supremacy

54 Replacing the AWACS – how to predict NATO’s needs


P. 48

P. 77

Supporting NATO and the Nations 57 NCI Agency – a team of teams 60 Improving NATO’s maritime picture 64 Countering the nuclear threat 71

Behind the accession of North Macedonia


Keeping Kosovo safe

Ludwig Decamps, NCI Agency Chief Operating Officer

77 The Phoenix has risen 82 Electronic countermeasures

Nurturing Tech Talent 86 Embedding diversity and inclusion in the NCI Agency’s culture 89 STEM ambassadors 92 Ensuring that every concern is voiced – persons of confidence 94 Meet Tsvetelina Shabanska – cyber security intern at the NCI Agency P. 89

96 5 ways to lose your best tech employees



ACCS designed by ThalesRaytheonSystems is the only system of systems to fulfil NATO AIR C2 requirements ranging from air policing through complex air operations to ballistic missile defence.



Kevin J. Scheid


NCI Agency General Manager

What if NATO had no physical headquarters? This question used to be a kind of thought exercise for me, a way of pushing myself to consider how we can leverage technology to help the Alliance become even more responsive, resilient and agile. But, this year we quickly faced a situation that tested NATO’s digital resilience and forced us to consider this question – the COVID-19 pandemic. NATO has taken preventative measures at its headquarters to protect staff from COVID-19 - and the NATO Communications and Information Agency is playing a critical role in ensuring the Alliance’s

essential work continues. That means ensuring that NATO staff can work from anywhere, to continue to protect their health while conducting NATO business. Some that have needed to operate remotely may have never done so before, with security requirements that exceed many remote workers’ capabilities. Our Agency has needed to ensure that NATO can work wherever staff are located, to consult on matters critical to Alliance security. We are responsible for leading NATO’s digital endeavour. We are helping personnel across NATO to get the technology they need to telework – including extra laptops and video teleconferencing services. We are increasing access to mobile video teleconference and meeting support. And we’ve hit some significant milestones in this work.

SECURE VIDEO TELECONFERENCING We provided the technology to connect the newest NATO Member Nation, North Macedonia, to the first meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers held by secure video conference on 2 April 2020. Later, in May, the Agency successfully connected NATO’s 30 Chiefs of Defence to their first-ever virtual meeting. Achieving this fantastic result required significant preparation. In the five weeks preceding the meeting, the Agency deployed secure video teleconference capabilities to more than half the NATO Nations that did not have it already in their Ministries of Defence. We are watching a virtual NATO come to life.



In May, the Agency connected NATO’s Secretary General and 30 Chiefs of Defence to their first-ever virtual meeting (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

Leading NATO’s digital endeavour, though, isn’t just about focusing on enabling the organization to do its job today. It is preparing NATO for the future. It is keeping NATO’s technological edge. Our work supporting NATO’s space capabilities is one such priority. The NCI Agency is working with its board to gather existing space resources into a NATO Space Technology Centre. It will be a virtual hub of our expertise, projects and tools, so that we can tackle space-related projects together more easily and effectively.

To be fair, the NCI Agency has had the ability to work remotely for years – it is in our DNA. In fact, in March, 90% of our workforce went remote to do our part to flatten the curve during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we are in the midst of an ambitious undertaking to modernize NATO’s technological infrastructure, which we call the Polaris programme. Our work to upgrade NATO’s IT and communications systems is critical. It will unite the Alliance like never before, allowing all of NATO’s staff to work and collaborate at a classified level from wherever they may be.

The Agency already provides many different forms of space support to NATO operations, including services and subject-matter expertise in areas such as mapping and geospatial services, satellite communications and navigation warfare. But the Centre will provide a foundation for developing the NATO space capability further, integrating innovative technologies into the NATO architecture and making NATO space operations possible. We want to harness industry’s space innovations for NATO, to ensure NATO keeps its edge in space. You can read more about our work in this area in this edition of NITECH.

NATO DATA SCIENCE CENTRE DEVELOPING NATO’S SPACE CAPABILITIES In a digitally enabled Alliance, satellite communications become even more important. In February, NATO celebrated the NCI Agency’s conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding with four Nations – France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States – for the provision of critical satellite communications services to NATO for the next 15 years. The NCI Agency coordinated the agreement with the Nations, and is now operating the capability to deliver services to NATO. This landmark agreement will provide a greater, more resilient and more flexible space capability for NATO to conduct its operations and exercises. The memorandum enables the four Allies to provide space capacity from their military satellite communications programmes to NATO. Nations began delivering the capability on 1 January 2020.


Recently, we used excess capacity from these partners to assist the German Navy from 7 March to 16 April, as they undertook tropical climate trials. It took only two weeks from the first request to ensure connectivity via NATO satellite communications.

Another priority for us is data science – big data analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence. As NATO’s IT provider, NATO’s data is transported on our networks, stored in our cloud and used by our applications. The NCI Agency is at the heart of NATO’s data. We are working with our board to establish a NATO Data Science Centre – investing in data science technologies and creating a network across the Agency that allows us to apply data science directly to the challenges that the Alliance is facing today. So, without further ado, I want to welcome you to the third edition of our NATO Innovation and Technology magazine, or NITECH. I am pleased to share this latest edition with you. With each iteration of the magazine, we aim to show you the fantastic depth and breadth of technical expertise at the Agency. This edition is no exception. We hope you enjoy the magazine, and we hope you stay in touch. NATO’s work hasn’t stopped – so we haven’t either. NATO – an Alliance that already crosses borders and oceans – is becoming even less dependent on physical proximity to work together. We will never stop adapting.

Š2020 Northrop Grumman

Congratulations, NATO, on the first transatlantic flight of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system.


NATO Deputy Secretary General

Mircea Geoană NATO: winning the implementation race COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, challenging us all to find new and innovative ways to live and work. Einstein said that, “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” and the NATO Alliance is taking this opportunity to increase our flexibility and resilience at a time of crisis. But the pandemic is not the only thing having a dramatic impact on our societies. Today, the speed of technological development has never been faster. The almost instant analysis of vast amounts of data using artificial intelligence is changing our lives in countless unpredictable ways – from the development of self-driving cars to breakthroughs in medicine and technology. This has extraordinary potential, but also poses difficult questions for our freedom and security. The race is now on to dominate these new technologies. Countries that do not share our values, such as China and Russia, are investing heavily in these technologies to increase control over their own citizens and exert influence in the world. China may be able to collect vast quantities of data without consent, but their


companies are not free to challenge established thinking. Open societies like ours, based on international law, where people are free to think, explore and collaborate, will always be more effective and more creative than closed societies. Our Nations have incredible universities, researchers and companies. NATO Allies and our close partners have 92 of the world’s top 100 universities, including all of the top 20. NATO is working with leading universities, such as with the John Hopkins University to tackle how healthcare is delivered in conflict zones. China, by comparison, has just three universities in the top 100, while Russia has none. But, while we are great in the lab, we can struggle to get our ideas into the field. So, the race we really need to win is the race for implementation. NATO is already taking action to instil a culture of innovation across the Alliance. In London in December, NATO leaders agreed to develop a common understanding and approach to emerging technologies. Last year, we updated standards for resilient civilian telecommunications,




including 5G, and we declared space an operational domain, alongside land, sea and air, as we did with cyber in 2016. At the Headquarters, I chair the new NATO Innovation Board, which coordinates innovation policy and encourages cooperation across the whole of NATO. We will develop an emerging technologies implementation strategy by the end of this year. We are also establishing an external Advisory Group to ensure we have the best and brightest minds challenging us every step of the way. Our Innovation Unit encourages new thinking and experimentation across the Alliance. One example will be to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict and plan maintenance for our AWACS surveillance aircraft, increasing their availability for operations.

NATO will use artificial intelligence to increase NATO AWACS availability (PHOTO: NATO)


prescriptive, we need to talk to companies, set out the problems we want them to solve and ask for creative solutions. We need to encourage creativity, competition and, yes, we need to accept failure. The Estonian Ministry of Defence organizes an annual Defence Innovation Competition, to encourage companies from all sectors to come up with new and innovative solutions. This has led to new companies entering the defence market and developing a wide range of exciting new projects, from countering drones to improving battlefield awareness. Working in new ways means adapting our mindset when it comes to risk. Technology companies and start-ups are natural risk-takers. They experiment often, recognise quickly that something isn’t working and move on and capitalize on success. Governments, on the other hand, are naturally risk-averse, with a duty to safeguard taxpayers’ money. We need to institutionalize experimentation, so we can fail early and fail small if something doesn’t work, but learn quickly and scale fast if it does. A new mindset also requires a creative approach to finance. NATO’s defence planning process aims to incentivize all Allies to invest in the right technologies. Groups of Allies increasingly work together to jointly procure items as diverse as satellite communications, unmanned maritime systems and precision munitions, making the most of economies of scale and ensuring full interoperability. Countries like the United States, Canada, France and the United Kingdom have established venture capital funds in partnership with the banking industry to encourage innovation and the rapid adoption of new technologies.

Individual Allies are also driving change. The US Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is aiming to scale the use of AI across the Department of Defense and the military. The mission of France’s Defence Innovation Agency is to capture innovation and accelerate its deployment across its armed forces. And the British Army’s ‘Prototype Warfare’ approach is empowering tactical commanders to integrate new ideas and technologies in the field faster than ever before.

Another challenge is interoperability – making sure that all of our systems are compatible and can talk to each other. NATO sets common standards so that new technologies adopted by Allies are compatible from the start. For example, coming from our experience in Afghanistan, federated mission networking ensures that Allies’ equipment, training and procedures align, so our soldiers can work seamlessly together from day one of an operation.

The way we interact with industry is also a big part of our response. To stay ahead, we are increasingly engaging with a broad innovation ecosystem of defence companies, technology companies and start-ups. Dealing with non-traditional suppliers means acting in non-traditional ways and examining how we can most effectively harness the extraordinary talent that’s out there. Rather than being overly

NATO countries have the best minds and the most innovative companies, free and able to work and collaborate in open and creative ways. This gives us a huge advantage in the development of new technologies. By implementing new technologies quickly and at scale we will not only keep our edge, we will maintain peace and security for generations to come.




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04/05/2020 11:22


AT THE OF DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY With the outbreak of the coronavirus and the postponement of NITEC20 in Austin, Texas, to next year, the NITECH magazine serves as a communications link helping to keep the NCI Agency, its stakeholders, partners and suppliers connected and informed of key technology areas that NATO and the NCI Agency are keen to develop. This issue, NITECH – NATO Edge, focuses its lens on many of those areas that are at the forefront of the NCI Agency’s innovation priorities. As the Alliance strives to remain ready, relevant and resilient, dual-use technologies have become vital, because they enable NATO and its Member States to benefit from the huge research and development investment taking place in the commercial sector by global digital giants. To stay resilient, NATO must be especially prepared to adopt many of the dual-use technologies in artificial intelligence and machine learning being developed beyond the traditional defence industrial community, and often make use of the power of social media platforms and other open-source information channels. That is why it is so important for NATO to engage with innovators thriving in tech hubs such as Austin.


When we convene there in 2021, the hope is to witness first-hand how the tech community in the Silicon Hills is working with the defence community on ultraadvanced digital solutions that combine the power of quantum computing with the problem-solving capabilities of artificial intelligence and the speed of 5G networks. But, in advance of our arrival in Texas,

NITECH - NATO Edge offers a foretaste of that digital ecosphere and how military organizations and NATO are already engaging with it. The past months have exemplified how digital technologies can inject resilience to, and recovery from, this awful pandemic. Not only was 90% of the NCI Agency staff working from home during the lockdown, it also spearheaded efforts to keep the wider Alliance at work by delivering secure remote-working hardware, software and collaboration tools to those who urgently needed them. A prime example of this was highlighted when the NCI Agency assisted NATO’s newest member, North Macedonia, in attending the first-ever virtual Foreign Ministers’ meeting by setting up a secure video teleconference (VTC) link from Brussels to North Macedonia. This was, beyond doubt, a glimpse of the future.

COLLECTIVE DEFENCE The unifying concept of the collective defence means that NATO must also continually upgrade its defensive capabilities in the face of growing threats in all domains, including space and cyberspace. The Alliance’s ability to withstand cyber-attacks and challenges on the electromagnetic spectrum must be continually

enhanced, as must its ability to defend itself against ballistic missiles. The articles on Countering the Nuclear Threat and the Electronic Countermeasures bear witness to the laser-focused effort to keep ahead of the threat. Adopting a tranche-based programme to upgrade NATO’s ballistic missile defence system will not only ensure that the technology within the network of sensors and shooters is up to date, but also that the investment is controlled and unexpected cost spirals are eliminated. It will also enable the Alliance to counter the introduction of new weapon systems within easy range of NATO territories. Rose Gottemoeller points out to NITECH readers that, to stay ahead of the curve, NATO must invest in its own defence and adopt new technologies. The NATO Emitter Database – Next Generation (NEDB-NG) is a good example of the additional capabilities and

advanced technology adoption that is taking place. Once it goes live later this year, the system will provide NATO and Member States with one of the world’s most advanced electronic warfare data-storage and near-realtime data-sharing capabilities. It will help the Alliance keep track of the threat as it grows and address it, if it is deployed. Also, with the entry into service of the Alliance Ground Surveillance system, albeit at an interim capability, there is further evidence that NATO is able to expand its situational awareness across its territories and into the maritime domain to protect its population.


The coronavirus has also underlined the fact that the NCI Agency and the wider NATO organizations are not separate from the societies they aim to protect. All the agencies, military groupings and political structures are staffed with people from all the Nation States and reflect those societies’ concerns and social priorities. NITECH – NATO Edge highlights some of the pioneering social programmes that are under way to promote diversity and inclusivity, not just for the sake of fairness, but also as a means to sustain itself and attract the best people from the citizens it defends.

As the COVID-19 crisis has tragically reminded us, scientific research and technological innovation are key to the survival of our societies, and to their progress. This is true for the Alliance as well – NATO must maintain its technological edge to address new and emerging threats, and continue to safeguard the freedom of nearly one billion citizens. NITECH magazine supports this effort.

This publication aims to provide you with insights from tech and cyber experts from across NATO Nations and the Alliance’s wider ecosystem. For this reason, we welcome your contributions, and encourage you to share your opinions, your topic or interview suggestions by emailing us directly on We want to hear from you because our strength as an Alliance lies in our willingness and capability to listen to one another, work together and share best practices. We both look forward to receiving your comments.

Adelina Campos de Carvalho Editor – NATO Communications and Information Agency Simon Michell Editor – Global Media Partners




As we all start to build a picture of what our lives will look like when living with the virus, I draw confidence from the fact that our organization has a strong track record of adapting to change. For more than 70 years, NATO has remained the cornerstone of defence and security in the

We have strengthened our military posture from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. For the first time in our history, we have combat-ready troops in the eastern part of our Alliance. We are raising the readiness of our forces, increasing our ability to move them across the Atlantic and within Europe, and have modernized our integrated military command structure. We have delivered on the NATO Readiness Initiative. We have also strengthened our hybrid and cyber defences by establishing CounterHybrid Support Teams and a Cyberspace Operations Centre. We have declared space as the fifth operational domain for NATO.


I write these words as Governments around the world consider how to bring the lives of the population back to a semblance of normality from the enforced ‘lockdown’ that has been necessary to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE INNOVATION IMPERATIVE Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach GBE KCB DL,* Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, explains why it is important for the Alliance to innovate continually, and outlines his priorities for technology breakthroughs

Euro-Atlantic area. Throughout our history, we have adapted to an ever-changing security environment – evolving constantly to face existing and emerging threats. The Alliance’s evolution or adaptation has not only been a reflection of the changing security environment, but a response to evolving technology of modern warfare. NATO has been able to achieve its mission objectives by staying at the forefront of technology and by adapting across all domains. In recent years, in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO implemented the biggest reinforcement of its collective defence in a generation.

We are committed to ensuring the security of our telecommunications infrastructure, including 5G. And we are looking to enhance the protection of our energy infrastructure. Responsibility for NATO’s transformation and adaptation is part of our primary role as a military Alliance. That is why we have developed a new military strategy to promote a common understanding of NATO’s military goals, intended approaches and resource requirements. This work is being refined and operationalized through our work on the concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area (DDA) and the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept (NWCC), which looks



forward 20 years and sets a vision to support Allies’ efforts to develop the Alliance’s military forces. When finalized, the NWCC will identify potential capability gaps and provide the necessary recommendations to ensure NATO exploits opportunities and innovative approaches, including the use of emerging and disruptive technologies, to maintain its military advantage. We understand change. Advances in technology are driven by the commercial technology sector, rather than the public or defence sector, with industry now far exceeding government investments in research and

strategic context and derive implications for the Alliance out to 2035 and beyond. This document proposes how Alliance forces should plan to transform, and recommends abilities that these forces may need to develop over the next 15 years and inform the NATO defence planning process. ACT is also working with other stakeholders, NATO’s Science and Technology Organization and the NATO Communications and Information Agency to build a shared vision for the future, to identify potential capability needs for future operations, and to use that information to establish and align science and technology investment priorities.

NATO recognises the impact that technology has on our economies and societies. We will continue to adapt development (R&D). Nonetheless, a strong defence industry reinforces the Alliance by enabling it to be more federated, capable and responsive regarding its security.


The significant investments in these technologies made by potential adversaries necessitate an Alliance-wide sense of urgency to better harness technological developments. NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is responsible to identify the relevant technology breakthroughs, assess their applications, anticipate and decide on how they might be used. ACT has developed a Strategic Foresight Analysis Report to identify trends that will shape the future

The Alliance encourages Allies to work together to develop, acquire, operate and maintain military capabilities to undertake the Alliance’s essential core tasks agreed in NATO’s strategic concept. This is what interoperability means. This means harmonizing requirements, pooling and sharing capabilities, setting priorities and coordinating efforts. We do this through the NATO Defence Planning Process – which is the principal vehicle for harmonization of capability development efforts undertaken by Allies individually, multinationally or collectively – and our Smart Defence initiative, which is the cooperative way to generate these capabilities in a

more cost-efficient, effective and coherent manner, while helping us to avoid unnecessary expensive duplication. This means that, for NATO to be successful in its defence and deterrence posture, it must harness both traditional and non-traditional technologies, including innovation from the civilian sectors. The impact of the COVID crisis will have lasting economic and societal impact, and will raise questions on national budgeting priorities. But the threats we all faced before the pandemic have not disappeared and we must all remember that our security, resilience and collective defence requires a commitment to invest to keep almost one billion safe and secure. Allies have made good progress towards achieving fairer burdensharing, with nine Allies now investing 2% or more of their GDP in defence. This is good news for all the people of the 30 Allies that benefit from the security provided through NATO. With this increase, more funding is expected to become available for R&D and capability development, enabling the Alliance to maintain a technological edge in a complex security environment. NATO recognises the impact that technology has on our economies and societies. We will continue to adapt, as we have done throughout our 70-year history, to remain at the forefront of new technologies. We see that the world has changed, and it is vital that NATO continues to change with it.

* Sir Stuart Peach was appointed Knight

Grand Cross of the British Empire (GBE) in 2016, Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 2009, and Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Lincolnshire (DL) in 2014.


Rasa Pangone, Senior Industry Relations Officer at the NCI Agency, tells Simon Michell how the Agency’s One Tech NATO strategic initiative will link innovation hubs within Europe and across the Atlantic to share knowledge, best practice and talent




Whereas a few decades ago armed forces could rely on a fairly predictable line-up of traditional defence companies and their supply chains for almost all their needs, now non-defence corporations, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and start-ups have taken the lead in a core area of defence capability – the digital world. Even the most advanced nations have realized that the rapid and inexorable rise of digitization is in danger of leaving some military organizations lagging behind when it comes to technology



Military organizations, including NATO, are looking to capitalize on dual-use technologies developed by the tech sector (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

development. There is now an existential need to be able to turn some of the emerging and disruptive civil technologies into dual-use military capabilities.

FLEXIBILITY AND AGILITY However, in order to tap into the ecosystems of these non-defence communities, NATO, like most other military organizations, is having to become more flexible, imaginative and agile in the way it develops technology. According to Rasa

Pangone, the NCI Agency’s Senior Industry Relations Officer, the Agency, is learning from previous initiatives, such as its NATO Industry Cyber Partnership (NICP), and building on them: “Our aim for the One Tech NATO strategic initiative is to go much further than the NICP model, which is centred on industry partners. We are taking lessons from the NICP, but adapting them beyond just industry to include other important elements, such as academia, research laboratories,

not-for-profit organizations and government entities.” What NATO is looking for, in particular, are innovation hubs that have already begun this dual-use technology journey. A prime example is the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas, which has built a thriving ecosystem of digital start-ups, investors, government entities, mentors and entrepreneurs. According to Pangone, “A key reason for staging NITEC20 in Austin was to learn from its thriving digital community. Of course, due to the coronavirus crisis, the NCI Agency has postponed the event into spring 2021, but everyone at the Agency is looking forward to experiencing what this incredible tech community has on offer next year.”



The NCI Agency is learning from and building on previous initiatives, such as the NATO Industry Cyber Partnership (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

The One Tech NATO concept goes a step further than just identifying tech hubs. What the NCI Agency wants to do is connect them to each other via the Agency. “By linking up these technology communities, we hope to further enable their innovation. We want to harness their collective intelligence and share the

However, despite not having access to the financial resources of the commercial digital sector, NATO and the NCI Agency, in particular, have a lot to offer. “We may not be able to fund start-ups in the way venture capitalists do, but we can share some of our other resources,” says Pangone. “We can talk about embedding staff to work together on specific projects or solutions. Alternatively, we could exchange information. For example, NATO has a lot of data that it collects via its sensor networks, but we don’t have the necessary computing power to process and analyse it all as much as we would like. Maybe we can find a partner and work together to come up with something really valuable.”

A MISSION TO LEARN Pangone admits that the idea is not entirely new. The NCI Agency already works with a number of technology ecosystems including, for example, the Hague Security Delta, with which it collaborates to deliver the International Cyber Security Summer School in The Hague, alongside a group of regional and international organizations. “But the NCI Agency has a mission to learn more about these non-defence entities, to expand our engagement with them so that we can position ourselves in the centre of this virtuous innovation circle,” Pangone explains. Although the One Tech NATO concept is still in its gestation period, the Agency is keen to start a pilot case and already has a couple of targets in mind.

INNOVATION CHALLENGE 2020 – An update from Rasa Pangone, Senior Industry Relations Officer, NCI Agency


knowledge,” explains Pangone. Not surprisingly, the targets for this innovation and knowledgesharing are focused on the sorts of technologies where the commercial sector’s muscle and coffers now dwarf those of the public sector: 5G, artificial intelligence, data science and quantum computing.

Despite the postponement of NITEC20 in Austin, Texas, due to the coronavirus, the NCI Agency is going ahead with its highly successful Innovation Challenge competition. And, in order to keep up the momentum and offer a more exciting and valuable prize, we are changing the terms of reference. In previous years, the main benefit of participating in the NCI Agency’s Innovation Challenge was the visibility the competition offers smaller companies. By holding the presentations and awards at our NITEC events, we were able to offer the competitors a physical stage on which they could showcase their companies and their technologies, giving them a significant lift-up in their visibility within the NATO community and our industry partners and other stakeholders. Now, as part of the prize, we also want to offer them an opportunity to bid for a contract in an upcoming NATO procurement programme. Obviously, the postponement of NITEC20 has meant that we are unable to hold the awards on a physical stage this year, and so we have partnered with the United States Air Force’s AFWERX. As a result, this year we can hold the competition pitches as part of their Spark Collider Pitch Bowl virtual event, which will be hosted by Capital Factory this summer. For more information on the challenge, visit innovation-challenge-2020



INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE As a result, many don’t have enough bandwidth capacity for every area of their operation. Furthermore, not everyone has the right tools, licences and/or security measures in place, and many companies have policies or even legislation that prevents the processing of data at home. Also, many employees haven’t actually had the right training to make the most of remote-working tools. This is where we can help.

Andrew Small Global Director of Portfolio, BT

How is BT helping organizations like NATO keep running during the coronavirus pandemic? We’re helping all our customers, including large organizations like NATO, keep their global activities running by making sure they can continue to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, partners and stakeholders all over the globe. Some of the areas we’ve helped with include short-term upgrades to network capacity, increased virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for additional remote workers, extra conferencing and collaboration tools, as well as support to make sure our users have continued access to, and use of, all the digital tools they need. For example, when the coronavirus first took hold, we were asked by a European government organization to help them prepare for a rising demand in homeworking. So, we committed to significantly upgrading their internet capacity on two different links within hours of the request coming in. Athough many organizations were already set up to enable people to work from home before the pandemic struck, most weren’t prepared to do it on such a large scale and so quickly.

Current technology decisions need to be made with our present reality in mind. It’s about looking at what works best for everyone, rather than looking for what the ‘richest’ digital experience might be. This is a compromise, but it’s a short-term one. Once things calm down, organizations can start exploring the best remoteworking experiences for the future.

How can BT support large organizations like NATO with connectivity challenges? We’ve got decades of experience in delivering complex network solutions, and over the years, we’ve developed three key areas that make our network capability relevant for organizations like NATO – security, resilience and innovation. We develop and deploy secure network solutions by building in a range of inherently secure services that match the security-risk posture of each customer and the environment they operate in. We can also overlay that with additional managed security solutions that can flex with any sudden changes in risk posture. An organization like NATO has to be resilient, which is why our networks are built to be naturally fault-tolerant and can handle crises. We’ve shown that by the way we have supported our customers with the challenges they have faced during the coronavirus pandemic, such as delivering upgrades in days – sometimes hours.

And, just as NATO seeks to constantly innovate, so do we. We continually invest to enhance our network solutions and wider portfolio. Our R&D teams work with governments, universities and industry bodies across the globe to make sure we’re bringing the latest network technologies and architectural principles – like network function virtualization (NFV) and Zero Trust, for example – to our customers.

How can BT support organizations with remote workers’ data security? When you suddenly have a large workforce working from home, security becomes a significant challenge. It’s vital to make sure that the sudden transition hasn’t exposed a wider attack surface, and, so, giving employees and suppliers the right levels of security is an important step in keeping control. It’s also important to understand the temporary compromises and concessions that organizations make to support homeworking and, additionally, the challenges presented by similar risks made within their supply chain. As companies increasingly rely on remote connections, they need to help their employees understand the potential risks, as, for many of them, being home-based for work is uncharted territory. Such changes can make people behave differently to how they would in an office. During times of crisis, rational thinking is more important than ever. It’s vital to get your people thinking clearly so they act as another layer of cyber defence. Cybersecurity, and cybersecurity training, is another key area for us. It’s possible to quickly extend remote working without compromising user experience. Using VPN and securing company devices are important steps, but it’s also vital that employees

understand the policies and risks they need to take into consideration. Everyone’s IT environment is growing rapidly, with lots of temporary accesses, architecture and permissions being added. By keeping track of all the changes, it’ll be easier to roll back from them as needed in the future. And being clear on where data has been processed outside standard procedures means it can be secured and repatriated when appropriate. As with any significant business change, applying sound, diligent planning is crucial. It’s a tough ask when things are moving so fast, but if you can create some space to think ahead, making sure you have the right people and expertise in place, it could make all the difference to meeting your remote working goals and looking after your organization and employees.

What are the key functions of BT’s Digital Workplace concept? The Digital Workplace can mean different things to different people. At BT, we think of it as a means to use digital and mobile technology linked to the cloud to boost productivity, promote innovation, enhance collaboration and reduce cost. These things are essential for all organizations, especially those struggling to innovate, as well as recruit and retain staff. Our Digital Workplace helps boost an organization’s productivity and accelerate its digital transformation by managing its cloud migration using the most applicable mobile and enterprise collaboration technologies. To do this, we leverage a customer’s existing investment and enable the use of whatever applications and platforms are needed by the user – Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom etc.

A phased migration philosophy helps reduce risk, and our global network lets an organization bring the cloud into its enterprise network with private or shared access to avoid having to use the public internet. This protects quality and security of mission critical data. Operating costs can also be reduced by extending existing SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) networks into the cloud to avoid expensive PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) break-out.

What training can BT offer to help implement the Digital Workplace? We have an experienced team that engages with all levels of an organization to deliver training that’s tailored to fit their requirements. This includes the initial launch communications to explain the benefits of Digital Workplace and how it works. This is followed up by bespoke user

guides and complemented through extensive ‘high touch’ training where human interaction is important. We try and take you on a journey that starts with the discovery phase, to assess your current technology and culture, identify the upcoming changes and build a value proposition for your end users. Once that’s agreed, we’ll create and roll out your user adoption plan, which includes driving awareness, educating and training users, as well as monitoring success and developing next-step recommendations in real time. Our training ranges from self-paced or instructor-led online training to our on-demand, high-touch coaching delivery.



SILICON HILLS – SHARPENING NATO’S EDGE NATO’s tech community is going beyond the capitals to find inspiration in the ‘Silicon Hills’ of Austin, Texas, where start-ups offer game-changing capabilities. Ann Rogers asks the NCI Agency’s Senior Representative in North America, Virginie Viscardy, what makes the city such a prime location for defence technology innovation

At first glance, it’s an unlikely match: the meticulous discipline of military research, development and procurement, and the unruly experimentation associated with tech start-ups. Austin, Texas is where these unlikely partners are finding their perfect match. In 2018, the NCI Agency’s General Manager, Kevin Scheid, an alumni of the University of Texas at Austin, paid a trip to his alma mater and realized how much NATO could learn from the new defence-business-finance dynamic that is redefining the city. While other places are undoubtedly doing some amazing things in technological innovation, Austin is currently one of the leading US cities for start-ups, and this in turn has attracted industry giants such as Amazon, Apple and Google to establish a major presence in the city. Had the COVID-19 outbreak not

In 2016, Carter set up the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) across Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin. Since then, and unlike Silicon Valley, where employees have sometimes baulked at working on Pentagon contracts, Austin has fully embraced the challenge of innovating for the US Department of Defense (DoD). And so, it is in Austin that you find

the young, flip-flop wearing, scooter-riding developer crowd meeting with US military brass over a barbeque and beers. The enthusiasm for staging NITEC in Austin remains and therefore NITEC21 will take place there in spring next year. “Austin is a combination of new tech, great energy, new ways of working – and it’s used to building solutions for US defence requirements,” says Virginie Viscardy, the NCI Agency’s Senior Representative in North America and a key part of the team behind NITEC21. “It has an ecosystem that has brought together the US DoD, small companies, start-ups and big industry players, along with venture capitalists.”


occurred in 2020, the city would have been the location for the NITEC20 conference, thanks to the unique synergies that have emerged between operators, innovators and investors – a relationship nurtured by President Barack Obama’s former Secretary of Defense and guru of smarter, faster procurement, Ash Carter.

“Austin is a combination of new tech, great energy, new ways of working – and it’s used to building solutions for US defence requirements”



The dynamic environment at Capital Factory is accelerating the adoption of commercial technology for military use (PHOTO: CAPITAL FACTORY)

“An afternoon at Capital Factory is the best way to experience how things are done differently here,” says Viscardy. Its Center for Defense Innovation brings together the US Army’s new organization aimed at modernizing its technology (Army Futures Command – AFC), the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) catalyst for technology innovation (AFWERX), the DIU, the National Geospatial Agency and Booz Allen Hamilton in one space. The dynamic co-working environment is accelerating and streamlining the adoption of commercial technology for military use. “This model is proven to deliver huge capabilities. It’s more inclusive and open-minded, and the US DoD has found ways to work here to acquire state-of-theart capabilities,” Viscardy explains. Lounging on giant pillows beneath Star Wars models and giant Wonder Woman posters, start-ups, prime companies, defence entities and venture capitalists connect over quinoa salads and make deals now worth hundreds of millions of dollars, often based around dual-use capabilities. “The people and processes are really different – very collaborative, lots of mentoring – and venture capitalists on site are ready to invest in good ideas. By removing the barriers, they are looking at problems and solutions differently.”


Strong military Research and Development (R&D) ties have also been forged with Austin’s

academic community. The AFC is embedded within Texas A&M University, where a 130 million USD (circa 114 million EUR) Combat Development Center is being established at a new campus in Rellis. Here, one of the world’s largest hypersonic tunnels will assist US efforts to develop an edge in hypersonic weaponry. A few miles away, the University of Texas at Austin hosts Frontera, the world’s most powerful university supercomputer. Its Applied Research lab received a billiondollar-plus US Navy research contract in 2017.

PROCUREMENT So, what should NITEC21 participants take away from their visit to Austin? “Our Agency’s task is to deliver the best-quality systems, so that NATO and the Alliance forces can protect a billion people. We need to be agile, and we need to make policymakers aware of this,” explains Viscardy. Typical defence procurement timelines can be as long as five to 10 years between contracting and delivering. Occasionally, this can mean that obsolescence is a real problem. It

can sometimes be the case, especially around software, that products are not only no longer cutting-edge when they arrive, they are, in fact, no longer fit for purpose. The contrast between this and what is happening in Austin can be stark. “For example, the US Air Force is doing extremely well in the domain of rapid innovation and flexibility in awarding R&D money to small companies,” Viscardy reveals. It is now arming its airmen with credit cards and the authorization to award R&D contracts worth up to 158,000 USD (circa 137,000 EUR) on the spot to start-ups. At its inaugural USAF Pitch Day event in New York City in 2019, 51 companies inked contracts worth 8.75 million USD (circa 7.63 million EUR) with the DoD; the average time for the contracts to be signed and money transferred was just 15 minutes. “This is a new way of doing procurement, which may persuade NATO to reform and rethink its own processes – you can see it delivering innovation here,” says Viscardy. “We want participants to leave NITEC21 thinking, ‘That was different. How can we bring this back to Europe?’”


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE there. Third, there is our relationship with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn. Their Locked Shields exercise has run on VMware for a number of years and our NSX software-defined networking will be used in future exercises.

What capabilities applicable to NATO is VMware Research developing?

David Tennenhouse Chief Research Officer, VMware

How are VMware’s virtualization capabilities applicable to NATO? VMware’s compute, network and storage virtualization capabilities enable tremendous gains in efficiency, robust operations, agility, security and ease of migration to new hardware. These qualities matter to civilians, but each of them is of even greater importance to the military. For example, efficiency and lower energy consumption don’t just reduce costs in the NATO HQ, they also reduce the in-theatre footprint and logistics burden. Virtualization also brings a property that is of unique importance to NATO – secure interoperability.

What are your favourite NATO applications of VMware technology? For starters, there is our collaboration on the Active Network Infrastructure (ANWI) in which VMware powered the virtualization of the new NATO HQ’s datacentre in Brussels. Next, I really like NATO Dragonfly, which leverages VMware virtualized storage and compute to create powerful, field deployable, datacentres. Dragonfly is just one part of NATO’s overall Deployable Communications and Information System (DCIS) effort and there is a lot more we can do together

Two stand out. VMware Blockchain has pioneered highly scalable and robust Decentralized Ledgers. For NATO, these shared databases can be a gamechanger with respect to interoperability and enabling a common operating picture. Data can be shared without creating a centralized database and without any one country or institution being in overall control. Better yet, these ledgers can store active programs (so-called smart contracts) in addition to data. In machine learning, our researchers have made key advances in anomaly detection – ie the identification of ‘outliers’ – which is important to both performance and cybersecurity. They are also successfully applying constraints to deep neural networks, so that we can provide safety guarantees about their behaviour. This is a critical step towards the creation of real-time control systems that can safely learn while they are in the field.

How can VMware further support the NCI Agency? Our recently announced Tanzu portfolio could be key to accelerating the modernization of NATO applications by enabling the NCI Agency to build, run and manage modern cloud-native applications. In addition, Pivotal Labs continues to be phenomenally successful in helping our NATO customers create their own organic application development teams. We are also committed to

reshaping the security landscape, and our recent acquisition of Carbon Black and its integration into multiple parts of our platform is a key step in that direction.

What has the response to COVID-19 taught NATO military organizations? In a word, ‘tele-everything’. We should completely rethink our need for geographic proximity. Using technologies such as desktop virtualization, we can socially distance people, while the servers and the data can remain close to each other and safely contained. I also think we are going to find that the ability to rapidly move workloads – scaling up some while decreasing others – has proved critical during the pandemic. Finally, COVID-19 proved again that, in times of crisis, the military is called upon to provide surge capacity to civilian agencies. Agility, elasticity and the ability to dynamically interoperate across organizational boundaries are capabilities we will need to dramatically reinforce.

What key lessons did you learn at DARPA? I was most impressed by how ingenious and dedicated military personnel are. Military operators are incredibly special when it comes to the intensity of their mission focus and their ability to innovate by ‘scrounging’. DARPA also taught me that the magic happens when you bring together people who are passionate about their mission (the operators) with people who are passionate about technology (the researchers). Researchers should challenge themselves to put prototypes into the hands of users as quickly as possible. These first users provide a critical feedback loop.


FASTTECH General John M. Murray, the first Commanding General of Army Futures Command, highlights a changing approach to innovation within the U.S. Department of Defense and how Austin’s tech hub, Capital Factory, is helping with this transformation


What are the main barriers to innovation faced by the US Department of Defense? As US Army Futures Command, how do these barriers affect the way you work with small and medium enterprises, academia or non-profits?



Well, first, I would say ‘barrier’ is a little bit of a misnomer. We have access to a ton of innovation – both within our own research and development labs and centres, and through cooperative agreements and contracts with academia and industry. But that’s one of the strengths of America, I think. There’s so much innovation out there – within the private sector, in small businesses and industry – that doesn’t normally work on government contracts. So, a part of the solution is scoping our problems in a way non-traditional partners can understand. The defence prime industries are comfortable with the bureaucratic requirements language that has evolved over the past 70+ years – but much of it wouldn’t make sense to the average person. To tap into new and non-traditional innovation partners, we had to address how we describe the problems we need help solving.

The Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply (FAAR) programme is a great example of this. We brought a few artillery soldiers in and had them explain what it physically meant to configure ammunition for firing. It basically entails moving hundreds of 97lb (circa 44kg) shells from a delivery truck to the firing line – sometimes as much as 100 metres. A great workout – but it doesn’t take an engineer to see that’s sub-optimal. Had we done this traditionally, the requirement document would have been at least a dozen or so pages – and full of technical jargon. Most folks that aren’t used to dealing with all of that just won’t bother. So, we’re changing how we describe our problems to open the aperture on who can help us address them. The second part of that is changing how we pay businesses to work with us. Defence contracts are notoriously slow. If you’re a traditional defence contract industry, you can build that into your business model, but if you’re a start-up or small business, you can’t afford to wait 90 or 120 days for a contract to come through. We’ve been able to leverage some flexibility Congress authorized a few years ago to award payments quickly – that gets more of these non-traditional partners interested.

The grand opening of the Center for Defense Innovation at Capital Factory in February 2019


How can your partnership with Capital Factory help break these barriers down?


Well, the example I gave – FAAR – came out of our Army Applications Lab at Capital Factory. The ecosystem they provide was primed for us by groups like the Defense Innovation Unit and AFWERX [the US Air Force’s innovation cell]. Capital Factory isn’t a defence ecosystem per se. They didn’t start out that way – and it’s still not their focus. That gives us access to a host of non-traditional partners we wouldn’t see otherwise. But, on the flip side, because there are multiple defence-focused groups at Capital Factory, it gives us the opportunity to maximize that exposure across the Department of Defense. The environment is supportive, not competitive. Just because we may not be interested in a technology someone has to offer, doesn’t mean it’s not a good fit somewhere else in the Department of Defense. Having Army Applications Lab, AFWERX, the Defense Innovation Unit and others all within Capital Factory allows us to share technologies and innovation that come through the door, almost instantaneously. And, it provides non-traditional businesses with exposure across multiple Department of Defense portfolios as a one-stop shop. That synergy across services and agencies will only become more important as budgets start to tighten.


What does success look like for the Army Applications Lab at the Capital Factory?


I think, ultimately, success looks like soldiers benefiting from the latest technology development. You know, I tell people if my daughters asked me for cell phones in 2010 and I gave them flip phones in 2020, they wouldn’t be too happy about that. But that’s what we’ve been doing to our soldiers. So, for me, success is being able to leverage existing technology without it taking a decade or more.

Of course, it’s also about benefit across the Department of Defense. Naturally, I want the Army Applications Lab working on our priorities – but that means some really interesting technology just isn’t going to fit into our portfolios. So, success is also about raising the overall access to innovation across the Department of Defense through a multi-service ecosystem – the Army Applications Lab collaboratively contributes to that access with groups like the Defense Innovation Unit and AFWERX.


Now, I should also point out, we’re taking a similar approach across the board. Instead of starting with a highly detailed requirements document, we’re starting with desired characteristics and asking industry – traditional and otherwise – to leverage their own innovation in achieving those characteristics. That seems intuitive, but we were, traditionally, very prescriptive in our requirements – and that doesn’t leverage the creativity our partners can provide.


How could the benefits of this collaboration be extended to the wider US Department of Defense procurement process or the NATO procurement processes?


Well, we’re already seeing the benefit of this within the Department of Defense. I think as a model, services will have to become more collaborative – Capital Factory is a great demonstration of that collaboration within the non-traditional space. I think there are tremendous opportunities to broaden how we work together – from basic research to joint systems. And we’re doing that. Hypersonics is a great example of joint collaboration on a major system. We’ve greatly accelerated our hypersonics work, due in large part to the efforts of all the services. In terms of Allies and partners, we have research collaboration in both Europe and the Indo-Pacific region focused on building relationships to cooperatively develop the technologies we’ll need to both compete and, if required, win. As our Chief likes to say, “winning matters”. I like to add, winning matters, but winning together matters more. I think within the US, and with those nations that have agreed to collaborate with us in the fight against COVID-19, no one can dispute the power of ‘winning together’. Full interview available on




FASTTECH In order to access innovative technology from tech entrepreneurs quickly, the U.S. Army Futures Command Army Applications Lab has set up shop in Austin, Texas, at the Capital Factory. Simon Michell asks Capital Factory’s CEO, Josh Baer, whether this has been a successful tactic


Whenever anybody in the US is looking for a new place to set up a technology venture, Austin is always on the list. According to Josh Baer, CEO of Austin’s technology hub, the Capital Factory, there are three main areas for new technology start-ups in the US – Austin (Texas), Boston (Massachusetts) and Raleigh (North Carolina). Each has its own particular unique selling point and all have fantastic links to academia, vast pools of tech talent and impressive technology innovation expertise. So why did the Army Futures Command (AFC) choose to

set up an office for its Army Applications Lab (AAL) in the Capital Factory? There are two key reasons. Firstly, the US Department of Defense (DoD) already had offices at the Capital Factory. Back in 2016, the Defense Secretary at the time, Ash Carter, was so impressed with what he saw when he visited that he decided to set up an outpost of his newly created Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) there. They were swiftly followed by the




Austin’s Capital Factory technology hub offers a modern environment for talent and innovation, providing a new way for US defence to develop tech solutions (PHOTOS: CAPITAL FACTORY)

US Air Force’s AFWERX innovation cell and the National Geospatial Agency (NGA). “Because we were a well-respected centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and we were already hosting government and defence entities – AFWERX, DIU, NGA and the Texas Military Department – the AFC thought we would be a great place to locate their Army Applications Lab. If you are coming to Austin for entrepreneurs, for talent, for innovation, then Capital Factory is the place to be,” affirms Baer.


The second thing that attracted the Army Futures Command was the Capital Factory’s proactive attitude.

“I was told by the Undersecretary (now the Assistant Secretary) of State for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Ellen E McCarthy, that the thing that really differentiated Austin and the Capital Factory was the way that we asked them what we could do to help them. In other words, how could we help activate our community to be part of their mission,” Baer reveals.

ATTRACTING TALENT Apart from offering the Army Applications Lab access to its network of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors and getting the DoD’s message in front of the right

audience, it is the Capital Factory’s willingness to get heavily involved with what the DoD is doing that is making a huge impact. “We selected one of the AFC’s six mission priorities and put up a 100,000 USD (circa 92,000 EUR) investment prize to attract ideas and talent,” says Baer. “The theme of the prize was solutions based around network security and compression. This helped us identify the start-ups with the right technology that could help address the AFC’s needs. We have done a similar thing for artificial intelligence.” This sort of assistance was a contributory


factor for the AAL deciding to run one of the six priority programmes out of Capital Factory itself. The programme in question, entitled FAAR (Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply) is looking to apply dual-use robotic technologies developed in the commercial sector to reinvent the way that the army stores, distributes and loads munitions for its big battlefield guns. The Capital Factory has participated in the process with enthusiasm and, although the companies that have been selected to deliver technology solutions have been sourced from all around the US, 20% of them have been

found within Capital Factory’s own portfolio of companies. This has amazed even Baer. “If you had asked me two years ago how many Capital Factory companies were doing work for the government or were receiving funding from the government I would probably have said none,” he explains. “There might have been one or two I was unaware of, but over the past year, since the Army Futures Command has arrived and also through the Air Force and the Defense Innovation Unit, more than 30 companies in our portfolio have received more than 50 million USD in funding (circa 46.3 million EUR). That is crazy!”

It is the change in the way that the DoD is using Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding to unlock the door to companies that have no real connection with military R&D programmes that is having a profound impact. In the past, dealing with the DoD could be a very frustrating and drawn out process devoid of transparency and lacking communication. “The military are getting much more innovative about how to deploy SBIR grants. With the help of AFWERX they figured out how to get the most out of these grants. The process is now working very effectively,” says Baer.



INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE TURAF by using proven technologies. TICCS was fielded in 2007 and it is being continuously enhanced and extended by modernization projects.

What are the main features of TICCS?

Mr Savaş Yanık Vice President Command & Control and Defense Technologies, HAVELSAN First of all, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the health workers and other professionals who are the front-line fighters against the global pandemic COVID-19, and would like to offer our deepest condolences to all for the loss of their loved ones. Much has changed, even in that short time, except HAVELSAN’s struggle for a safe and healthy new world, which has become even more important in these days of uncertainty.

For years, HAVELSAN has provided numerous Command & Control (C2) solutions, one of which is the Turkish Air Force Integrated Command & Control System (TICCS). What was the rationale behind developing this system? The information and knowledge technology revolution has propelled economies and ways of life far beyond the industrial revolution. The automation and productivity enhancements behind this revolution are the enterprise information systems. With the spirit of this vision and the demand of the Turkish Air Force (TURAF), HAVELSAN, the System and Software House of Turkey, has designed and developed TICCS for the

TICCS is a military enterprise information system with integrated core business processes and data to meet strategic, operative and tactical level management needs and dynamics of the organization. It is composed of three main subsystems: Battle Management (BMS), Resource Management (RMS) and System Management (SM). In addition, Decision Support System (DSS), Document Management System (DMS) are the supporting functional tools. TURAF executes C2 activities by using BMS, which covers all the business processes of an air force. BMS is used with an integrated RMS subsystem that maintains the most updated resources data and serves this data to the planners and executers.

What does BMS mean for an air force? BMS is a fully integrated system capability for meeting data and operational requirements of C2 functions of an air force. It provides a wide scope of functionalities to cover peacetime, crisis and wartime operations at headquarters, operation centres (HQ, SADC, JFAC, CRC, WOC/ SQOC) levels. The system also provides a force-wide capability to plan, execute, C2 and monitor the whole air activity from a variety of operation centres, towers and HQs, depending on role-based authorization. Besides its component-based structure with the independent functionality, there is also a strong data and process integration. BMS copes with the battle rhythm and requirements of modern operations theatre. The utilization of military

enterprise information systems are paramount to gain superiority. In this scope, the operations component of BMS is implemented to provide abilities for the entire operational activities, from planning at the highest level to their execution and tracking at the lowest levels in the C2 hierarchy. The component includes Operations Planning, Tasking, Tactical Air Operations and Operation Support activities, most of which can be greatly improved with information technology, ranging from radar coverage calculations, preparation of real and planned order of battles, to their user-friendly visualizations overlaid on maps or other suitable user-preferred formats.

Is BMS for national use only or can it be used by other nations following NATO standards? Interoperability is a major goal of BMS. Hence, it supports many integration and information exchange standards and protocols, such as ADEXP, GRIB, NetCDF, together with a vast set of Web Services. Furthermore, BMS is a fully NATO standards (ST5501, ST5511B, ST5516, ST5518, AdatP-3 etc) compliant system. It has been used in CWIX exercises for many years. Considering this, BMS can be integrated with various systems that support integration and/or information exchange using aforementioned standards.

Is there any limitation for exporting BMS? There is no export license limitation. The system can be exported with Turkish MoD and TURAF approval. That said, as ever, we continue to develop TICCS for the TURAF and new potential military organizations that are eager to increase the effectiveness of their C2 capabilities with the utilization of the right resources, at the right time, in the right place.



The deployment of a single technology such as 5G will reduce the reliance on existing wireless communication methods (PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK)



5G wireless technology promises to have a substantial influence on the digital transformation of many industries, including the defence sector. Higher levels of performance will fuel new developments in wireless applications, connected devices and sensors, which will vastly increase the size, depth, and interconnectivity of all networks. Philippe Agard, Vice President Public Safety and Defence markets at Nokia, explains

– STRENGTHENING THE DEFENCE SECTOR WITH WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY 5G technology combines the convenience and speed of wireline internet connectivity with the flexibility and mobility of wireless. When we think of a fixed fibre line, we think of very high speeds, very low latency and very high reliability – these are all characteristics of 5G. The combination of wireline capabilities and wireless flexibility means 5G enables a wide range of applications, from real-time UHD (ultra-high definition) video to autonomous vehicles and large-scale sensor-based services. 5G addresses the different network requirements of these applications by enabling dynamically-managed network parameters such as speed, latency, battery life, reliability and more. Furthermore, network slices can be adapted to match the parameters to the services running over the network. Defence networks demand such realtime versatility to serve the needs of different classification levels, providing protected core connectivity to different coloured clouds. Clearly, the different flavours of cloud, combined with end-to-end 5G networks, will provide guaranteed performance for each service, while optimizing overall network resources. Both

technologies will clearly be the cornerstone of the next digital transformation of defence organizations.

TRANSFORMING DEFENCE OPERATIONS In defence, networks exist at all levels of intelligence, decision and action to allow comprehensive, real-time global situational awareness. The emergence of increasingly sophisticated devices, cloud innovations, Internet of Things (IoT) equipment, sensors, robotic and autonomous systems, analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deep learning will allow the defence sector to transform these networks and applications with even greater security and reliability. The opportunity for high-performance, deployable networks is widely acknowledged in the defence sector. NATO’s own deployable communication and information system (DCIS), Cube Architecting Initiative, a collaboration between the NCI Agency and industry, aims to develop a modern architecture for a more agile system based on state-of-the-art technologies. “5G will be used in a much broader set of industries than ever before. This will help create a larger ecosystem of devices and applications at economies of scale in excess of anything that has preceded it in the wireless world. Therefore, we strongly believe that 5G can be the key enabler for a more agile end-to-end CIS when and where NATO needs it,” says Philippe Agard, Vice President Public Safety and Defence markets at Nokia.



5G enables a range of military capabilities from smart bases, improved warehousing, better logistics, enhanced tactical communications and autonomous vehicles


Perimeter Surveillance

Energy Management Emissions Detection


Fleet Management

Smart Control

Waste Management

MM Comms1 IP/MPLS2

Edge Cloud 1 3

POL3 DWDM Copper Eth4


Smart Buildings

Millimeter Wave (high frequency) Communications; 2 Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (enhanced security); Passive Optical LAN (fibre-optic communications); 4 Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (fibre-optic transmission)

5G’s high throughput, low latency and high reliability will support the transformation of military bases, logistics, and some segments of tactical communications, among other defence functions: Smart bases: New IoT technologies will pull together base perimeter security, gate monitoring, augmented/virtual reality-based training, remote support maintenance, and fleet management –

5G will introduce a wide range of enhanced services all connected via a single, private or hybrid (private and public), military-grade 5G wireless network to an integrated command and control centre. It will offer a much more comprehensive view of all base activities and bring automation of many tasks and operations to new levels.



Warehouse and logistics: Combining inexpensive trackers and advanced analytics with 5G-controlled autonomous ground vehicles will optimize critical,

end-to-end military logistics operations, while reducing the cost of operations. Tactical communications: A new class of deployable, small wireless access systems will bring classified true wireless broadband access to teams in the field. It will enable automated, autonomous robots, vehicles, sensors and light drones to provide better insight and situational awareness. Temporary bases, as well as naval and ground convoys, will also benefit from IoT and broadband-based applications through these deployable systems and/or 5G-based satellite communications. As these use cases demonstrate, 5G wireless technology will introduce a wide range of enhanced services for the defence sector. Leveraging today’s mix of technologies – such as wifi, satellite communications and other radio types – to transmit unclassified and classified data is expensive, bandwidth-limited and requires staff and specific cryptographic hardware at both ends, and therefore does not serve all scenarios. By deploying a single, commercial off-the-shelf technology such as 5G wireless, the defence sector will be able to support many services with the necessary security and performance capabilities, opening the door for significant simplification and optimization of its communication infrastructures.


Elsa B Kania, Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Center for a New American Security’s Technology and National Security Program, highlights her concerns about the security implications of 5G and suggests how NATO should approach the challenge



As NATO looks to adapt to the 21st-century challenges, the advent of 5G presents risks, challenges and opportunities. NATO should coordinate to mitigate the risks and leverage the potential advantages of 5G to enhance innovation and interoperability in anticipation of a complex and rapidly evolving operational environment. Therefore, the Alliance must continue to adapt and should prioritize Alliance innovation initiatives. Today’s rapid advances in 5G will enable new leaps in connectivity. Significantly, 5G is



5G will enable new features to transform delivery, tracking and information networks, but also presents the potential for disruption if security concerns are not addressed

PRAGUE 5G SECURITY CONFERENCE 32 participants Albania Australia Austria Belgium Bulgaria Canada Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Hungary Israel Italy Japan

South Korea Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Romania Slovakia Slovenia Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom United States

4 global mobile network operators


anticipated to contribute trillions of dollars to the global economy in the decades to come. The critical features of 5G, with its high speed, low latency and increased bandwidth, present a generational transformation compared to 4G, enabling novel applications from education and healthcare to the future battlefield. Our digital economies will depend upon 5G as it will enable new features, including energy savings and the deployment of autonomous vehicles in smart cities. With that greater reliance comes a degree of vulnerability. Beyond concerns about its potential exploitation for espionage purposes, 5G also creates the potential for disruption that could create devastating consequences as the attack surface increases with the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT). 5G must be recognised as a new kind of critical infrastructure. Despite all the talk of a race to 5G, its security and resilience must be equally prioritized, otherwise nations that deploy 5G without adequate attention to security may be subject to attacks by non-state actors and coercion by potential adversaries.

To date, US attempts to counter Huawei’s inroads across Europe have proven to have limited success. The US government has urged allies and partners to exclude Huawei from their networks, and there are certainly security rationales to do so, in light of the potential ways that China’s Party-state could exploit its access and global presence. Huawei has continued to claim to be the leader, even unparalleled, in 5G. Yet, its aggressive marketing obscures the reality that Huawei is not the inevitable winner, but merely the cheapest option due to its capacity to undercut competitors in price.

NEW PARTNERSHIPS The future of 5G will depend upon progress towards a secure and appealing alternative. Fortunately, there are a number of other contenders, including prominent companies from the United States, Europe and Asia that have strengths and potential competitive advantages in their own rights, including in the virtualization that will be critical to the continued advancement of 5G. Future progress will depend upon substantive advancements in public-private partnerships, including among


The potential of 5G in battle networks includes enhancements to command and control (PHOTO: NATO)

NATO Member States and major strategic partners. There will also have to be dedicated investments in this foundational infrastructure.

EMERGING CONSENSUS Going forward, 5G security will be a complex but necessary undertaking. In this endeavour, the avoidance of risky suppliers is only the start. 5G security must instead be considered from a more systemic perspective, from the standards to the architecture of the networks, as well as the devices on them. It is encouraging to see emerging consensus among like-minded countries on shared frameworks for 5G security, particularly through the progress that started with the Prague Proposals following the Prague 5G Security Conference. The conference was first held in May 2019 under the auspices of Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and attended by security officials of 32 countries

from Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. NATO can contribute to ensuring a more secure future for 5G. “NATO and Allies, within their respective authority, are committed to ensuring the security of our communications, including 5G, recognising the need to rely on secure and resilient systems,” according to the London Declaration, which was issued after the North Atlantic Council Meeting in December 2019.

FUTURE EFFORTS Hopefully, this initial commitment can continue to translate into action in 2020 and in the years to come. Future efforts in 5G security could concentrate on promoting partnerships among critical stakeholders in industry and academia to develop more secure architectures, as well as enhanced information-sharing on cyber threats and supply-chain security concerns.

As NATO looks to embrace innovation and to anticipate the challenges of future warfare, 5G should be an important element of that agenda. Moreover, with NATO continuing to invest in the modernization of its C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems, the Alliance could experiment with the potential of 5G in battle networks. For instance, the use of 5G could enhance command and control, while enabling the leveraging of the Internet of Things on the battlefield, and NATO could pursue joint research projects and pilot programmes in 5G. Looking forward, as rivalry in emerging technologies becomes an integral element of great power competition, closer collaboration in innovation among allies and partners becomes all the more vital.


VMware was born out of disruptive innovation when our founders successfully virtualized x86 processors that power the vast majority of the servers in modern data centres. This massively impacted ICT strategy and is the underpinning of cloud computing, which is a key enabler of the digital transformation. From its beginning, VMware has been actively serving the world’s most demanding defence-sector customers, and NATO has been a leader in the adoption of virtualization technologies. Mission users who struggled with limited resources have prized the efficiencies realized by virtualization. The operational simplicity that virtualization enables has also eased the burden of managing complex infrastructure in the austere environments of military operations. Through allowing multiple virtual machines to share a pool of physical machines, virtualization has:

• Reduced costs – by dramatically reducing the number of servers required; • Improved robustness, agility, and adoption of new technology • Increased security – through the isolation of workloads and their datasets. A steady stream of innovation is delivered to customers through VMware’s $2B+ R&D budget, representing an industry-leading level of reinvestment of more than 20% of its annual gross revenue. These internal R&D efforts, and strategic acquisitions, provide a new digital foundation upon which VMware’s customers can: (i) build, run, manage, connect and protect any application; (ii) operate across any cloud; and (iii) deliver information to any device, simply and at speed.

• Storage and networks are now virtualized, all managed with the same tools; • VMware’s hybrid cloud allows customers to deploy on any cloud, public or private;

• VMware offers Digital Workspace, desktop virtualization and mobile device management (MDM) capabilities to deliver enterprise-strength security with consumer-level simplicity. Most recently, VMware embarked on an ambitious effort to increase the velocity of its customers by accelerating their efforts to modernize their applications. VMware’s Tanzu Portfolio, based on the acquisition of Pivotal and the integration of Kubernetes in VMware’s vSphere 7 platform, provides a complete environment to build, run and manage modern cloud-native applications. This provides a developer-friendly infrastructure that benefits from the security and operational maturity of the enterprise-strength infrastructure. Without security, there can be no velocity. VMware recognizes the increasing challenges of security in the digital environment and the failings of the security industry’s response, which has led to an incoherent array of security products with overlapping features and lack of a common framework. We can and will



do more to bring order to this chaos. Our ethos to security is Intrinsic Security, in which security is built into the digital infrastructure. The recent acquisition of Carbon Black is a cornerstone of this approach and we are excited to enhance many of our existing products – and those of our partners – with its capabilities. To date, VMware has been pleased to collaborate with the NCI Agency and industry partners in delivering milestone projects that have modernized NATO operations:

• VMware is supporting the NATO Joint Warfare Center (JWC) in Stavanger, virtualizing both the data centre and desktops, delivering agile configuration and setup of complex multinational pre-deployment training events; • VMware is working with NCI Agency Service Strategy on the Deployable Communication Information Systems (DCIS) programme; • VMware has delivered a platform to support the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) in hosting Locked Shields. VMware Vision of a Digital Foundation for NATO Build, run, manage, connect and protect any app on any cloud on any device

Any Device

Any Cloud


NATO DataCentres

Cloud Native



Hybrid Federated Mission Networking


Intrinsic Security

Any Application


Looking to the future, VMware’s vision is to provide the digital foundation that enables our customers to build, run, manage, connect and protect any application on any device on any cloud. Today, our defence customers seek to manage costs in an increasingly complex hybrid cloud environment. These challenges grow as we look ahead to 5G and beyond. There will be continued thirst for dynamic infrastructure to support an array of mission-critical applications. VMware will be key enabler of this future, and we are committed to bringing the most trustworthy capabilities to the NATO Defence enterprise of the future.





In 2019, Google announced that its state-of-the-art quantum computer, ‘Sycamore’, had carried out a designated computational task in 200 seconds – one that it estimated would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years. The announcement was the latest stage in a race to so-called Quantum Supremacy, a term coined to mark the point at which a quantum computer can produce solutions to certain problems faster than a supercomputer. However, Quantum Supremacy (or Quantum Advantage, as some researchers prefer) does not mean that classical computers will become obsolete. Indeed, for the majority of computational tasks, classical computers will remain the most effective machines, so achieving Quantum Supremacy will not change the world of information processing and communications overnight. Yet, for certain tasks, quantum computing could be a game changer. Therefore, organizations of all kinds – from NATO to Facebook – need to be prepared for the impact of this new technology. The question is: when and how will quantum computing start to affect the operations of organizations such as the NCI Agency?

Professor Otokar Grošek, of the Institute of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Slovak University of Technology, was awarded a NATO Science Partnership Prize in 2018. He believes that it is still too early in the development of quantum computers to predict when a “practically efficient quantum computer” will be readily available, but believes that “within 10 years, all currently asymmetric cryptographic algorithms will have to be changed to quantum-resistant algorithms”. In other words, the current cipher system, which uses a public and private ‘key’ in order to unlock (decipher) the code (asymmetric cryptography), will remain in use for the foreseeable future, but that it will eventually be superseded by a quantum computing alternative. Under the auspices of NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme, Professor Grošek led a multi-year research project on


Despite Google’s announcement of a breakthrough in quantum computing in 2019, the benefits of this technology remain tantalizingly elusive. Chris Aaron asks Professor Otokar Grošek, winner of NATO’s Science Partnership Prize, how quantum computing may change the stakes for NATO

the “Secure Implementation of Post-Quantum Cryptography”. The potential for quantum processors to rapidly factor extremely large numbers means that they may be able to crack some currently secure cryptographic algorithms. Thus, if effective quantum computers can be developed, such algorithms will need to be replaced. This is probably the most immediate impact that quantum computing will have on most organizations, since preparations will need to take place in anticipation of effective quantum computing capabilities, rather than post facto.

EXTREME CONDITIONS How quantum computing capabilities will be accessed in the daily life of organizations is another matter for speculation. IBM currently operates a quantum computer in Zurich that is maintained in a supercooled environment at 1° Kelvin (around -272° Celsius), and entirely isolated from physical and acoustic disturbance – the extreme conditions that are necessary to maintain a string of quantum bits (qubits, the quantum version of ordinary computer bits) in a state of superposition. However, IBM also provides free online access to a quantum processor for anyone that wants to explore how quantum



INSTITUTE FOR QUANTUM COMPUTING Dr Na Young Kim explains how organizations such as NATO could use quantum computing to their advantage Based in Ontario, Canada, the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) was established in 2002 by Mike Lazaridis, the founder of BlackBerry, to “develop powerful quantum technologies that will drive future economies”. Associate Professor at the IQC Dr Na Young Kim believes that Quantum Computing (QC) could benefit NATO and the NCI Agency in areas such as data searching and optimization, among others. Dr Kim points to Grover’s Algorithm as an example of a quantum algorithm that can increase the speed of searching large datasets. “The same algorithm can also be extended to

computing works. This can be accessed through the IBM Quantum Experience project website. The first connection to this website made from the Arctic was covered in a previous edition of NITECH (see Issue 1, page 102). As Professor Grošek notes, there will be an initial requirement for “specialist staff skilled in designing quantum algorithms”, but as the Quantum Experience website demonstrates, a quantum algorithm can, even now, be programmed using a graphical user interface (GUI) or the Python programming language, so the skills needed to utilize quantum computing are likely to become more generalized.


matrix calculations and linear systems, to where real problems are mapped for utilizing quantum computing advantage – something that would have clear benefits for NATO in fields like modelling and simulation.” Quantum algorithms have also demonstrated a superior performance for some optimization problems (the search for the best solution among a range of alternatives). Dr Kim suggests that this advantage might be exploited more widely by combining QC algorithms with classical machine learning algorithms. “With the increasing use of Big Data and the ever-increasing complexity of systems, any quantum improvements to optimization processes will bring distinct benefits,” she says.

The potential for quantum processors to rapidly crack certain types of encryption is a security issue for all organizations. This concern has been the object of much of Professor Grošek’s work. But many other, more positive applications exist, such as the use of quantum computing in the simulation of very complex systems, including molecular interactions (useful for medical and pharmaceutical research) or quantum electromechanical systems themselves. An important application in the era of Big Data will be the sorting of databases. As Professor Grošek points out: “We are able to collect terabytes of information, but we do not have

Scientists at IBM’s labs examine the complexities of a quantum computer (PHOTO: IBM RESEARCH)

enough computer power to sort them using artificial intelligence. Quantum computing-based sorting algorithms may be able to help with this type of problem.”

NEW POSSIBILITIES Eventually, quantum computing will open new possibilities for simulation and modelling, handling Big Data and analysing complex systems. But a demonstration of ‘Quantum Supremacy’ does not in itself mean that quantum computers have reached such a stage of reliability and efficiency that they will be used in the normal operations of organizations. Quantum computers are, perhaps, at a similar stage to the first digital computer, ENIAC, in 1946. It is also possible that new classical algorithms could be created that would rival the speed of quantum computers in solving problems such as factorization, where a number is broken up into a series of other numbers that, when multiplied together, create the original number. Current computing systems will not then be replaced by quantum processors, but in certain fields, their capabilities will deliver an exciting Quantum Advantage.



Christina Mackenzie asks Emmanuel Chiva, director of France’s Agence de l’Innovation de Défense, how the country’s forces are tapping into the creativity and imagination of science-fiction authors to generate new ideas for defence technology

Forecasting how scientific and technological innovations will transform the world some 30 to 50 years in the future is one of the hardest things to do, and the military have so often got it wrong. French Marshal Ferdinand Foch famously said in 1911 that “airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value”. To avoid similar errors of judgement, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, under the direction of Minister Florence Parly, set up the Agence de l’Innovation de Défense (AID), or Defence Innovation Agency, in 2018. There is nothing else like it in Europe. Although attached to



the French military procurement agency, the AID has its own workforce of about 100 people and its work informs the whole ministry. Emmanuel Chiva, the AID’s Director, stresses that the agency is not only interested in small projects, start-ups and subjects that happen to be ‘flavour of the month’, but also seeks out broader, dual-use innovations, which may emerge in the civilian sector, for implementation in the long term. Chiva, who holds a doctorate in biomathematics, is also a sciencefiction fan. He admires sciencefiction writers for their ability “to think out of the box,” he says. So, he wondered whether they could help in imagining the world of 2050 or 2080. “I thought it would be interesting to mobilize a community that has absolutely no mental barriers to their imagination; people who can not only imagine a flying car, but can also forecast what type of traffic jams they could get involved in,” he explains.

To test his concept, in 2017 Chiva gathered together sailors, engineers from the French military procurement agency, sciencefiction writers and illustrators at the Utopiales Festival in Nantes, presided over by Roland Lehoucq, an astrophysicist at France’s Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and a popular author. “I locked them in a room for an afternoon with instructions to come up with a maritime unmanned surface vehicle (USV), which might be around in 2080. And they came up trumps!” he laughs. “They had ideas that hadn’t even crossed our minds, such as a sea snake that comes apart into separate autonomous USVs that meld into marine life.”

NEW INNOVATIONS With the proof that his idea worked, Chiva had no difficulties convincing Parly, a passionate advocate of innovation, that the AID should set up a bona fide project involving science-fiction writers and provide it with a budget of between 1.3 million to 1.4 million EUR. He called it the Red Team “because, during the Cold War, the Pentagon set up a team whose task was to think like the Warsaw Pact, to help them develop materials, tactics and concepts to counter whatever they imagined the Warsaw Pact countries might come up with. Well, our Red

“They had ideas that hadn’t even crossed our minds” 52


Team has the same task, except it’s not the Warsaw Pact, but our unknown enemies of the future.” The Red Team’s official task is the “conception and restitution of scenarios of operational, technological or organizational disruption to profit defence innovation”. An official call to tender was launched on 12 December 2019 and closed on 15 January 2020. Candidates were asked to look at threat scenarios from 2030 to 2060 “with the objective of imagining and enlightening future conflicts”. The candidates were to compose and organize a project team (with science-fiction writers and illustrators), conceive of specific scenarios and write them up. There are four 12-month seasons planned, but the first, known as season 0, will cover only eight months.

Chiva says they received about a dozen answers from project leaders, and these have now been whittled down to three. “We’ve asked them to set up their project team, which will number about a dozen people, and, in June, we will make our final choice,” explains Chiva. He has been surprised by the number of science-fiction writers that showed an interest – more than 600, “including some very famous ones!”. All those on the Red Team will be accredited “Confidential Defence”, because “first, we don’t want their ideas being adopted by potential enemies and, second, we have to tell them things in order for them to work on their scenarios that need to remain confidential,” Chiva reveals. Initial results are expected at the end of this year.




The current fleet of 14 AWACS aircraft – four of the original 18 are no longer in service – has been based at Geilenkirchen, Germany, since the 1980s. Their distinctive silhouettes, with their huge rotating radar discs mounted above the fuselage, have been a familiar sight throughout Europe ever since. Despite a final lifetime extension programme that is currently being implemented to allow the AWACS aircraft to continue to serve effectively until 2035, a replacement is now being sought under the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) capability. However, predicting a capability that will only go into service 15 years from now, and the needs of the Alliance by that time, is no easy feat. From the perspective of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), which is the AFSC’s management agency, this replacement process started in 2017 with the opening of a project office and the engagement of industry during the pre-concept and concept stages of the project.


The NCI Agency and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) have joined forces to ensure that the Alliance retains an air surveillance and control capability when the Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) leaves service in 2035. The NSPA’s Dr Cagatay Soyer and the NCI Agency’s Richard Laing explain the process to Alan Dron

As a result, six industry consortia were led to produce high-level technical concepts. Each concept describes a possible AFSC solution, including its high-level architecture, to meet the operational requirements. These concepts were delivered in spring 2020 and are being scrutinized for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, allowing the NATO Nations to make an informed decision in downselecting the best options. That down-selection will happen towards the end of this summer, with the project office and the successful bids moving to the risk-reduction and feasibility stage of the project. Studies on the down-selected concepts will be delivered by the end of 2022 and the award of the contract to develop the final design is tentatively planned for around 2025. “There is no pre-determined form that the E-3A replacement should take,” says the NSPA’s AFSC Project Manager, Dr Cagatay Soyer, “All options are open at the moment.” NATO Member States said at an early stage in the process that they were not wedded to a particular type of platform or solution. The eventual solution to undertake the surveillance mission could be a



The service of the current fleet of AWACS aircraft spans four decades, and these will continue to operate until 2035 while a replacement is being developed

manned or unmanned aircraft, or a ground-, maritime- or satellite-based surveillance system; or, indeed, any combination of all of those elements. Rich Laing, Senior Scientist within the NCI Agency’s Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (Joint ISR) team, echoes Soyer’s comments that the Alliance is seeking to create a surveillance network, rather than the traditional solution of a single platform. The NCI Agency is performing two work strands in the AFSC project – its Operational Analysis staff are supporting Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, helping to develop the operational requirements and ensuring that the future concepts will fulfil those requirements, while maintaining alignment with NATO defence


AFSC Project Office Opens

2020 Delivery of six industry consortia concepts Announcement of concept down-selection 2022 Delivery of studies on down-selected concepts 2025 Award of initial contract due 2035 Replacement system enters service 56

planning and strategies. Their current support focuses on the operational requirements and the relative assessment of employing each concept to perform operations in the future. Laing is leading the second strand, and notes, “The NCI Agency’s ISR team is supporting NSPA to ensure that what is presented by the various companies is architecturally compliant. We need to consider the designs that have been developed and make sure that nothing has been overlooked in the concepts.” Where a challenge is identified in a down-selected concept, it will be investigated in the later stages of the process through risk-reduction and feasibility studies and capabilitygap analyses. These investigations will aim to minimize any potential weaknesses in the AFSC solution. “The NCI Agency has considerable experience in exactly this role,” Laing adds. “We understand the requirements of the operators, working hand in glove with the Alliance staff, day in, day out, and we have a wealth of operational and technical expertise. Future surveillance for NATO will inevitably involve a network of multiple systems.

“Within the ISR team, we are responsible for a number of key related elements, including connecting NATO’s newest unmanned aerial vehicle, the Alliance Ground Surveillance system, to the wider NATO C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] enterprise, supporting segments of the E-3A final lifetime extension programme, radar sensor capabilities, and developing the role of space for NATO. These are just some of our relevant projects that ensure we have the right depth of knowledge and experience to support AFSC.” Whatever solution is chosen, the underpinning requirement is that it will be designed “to go well beyond what the E-3A is providing today,” says Soyer. “The key is that it should be in service by 2035.”

A TEAM OF TEAMS The NCI Agency is moving towards a matrix structure and solidifying areas of expertise around a number of core centres: the NATO Cyber Security Centre; the NATO Data Science Centre; the NATO Space Technology Centre and, possibly, an Intelligence Support Centre; and an Air and Missile Defence Centre. Chief Operating Officer Ludwig Decamps tells Christina Mackenzie why


What is your main objective for restructuring the NCI Agency?




As we are moving towards a matrixed structure we have become aware that we need to better advertise several areas of expertise embedded in our organization. We have a lot of expertise within this Agency that is not sufficiently visible within the wider NATO organization and beyond. Part of the problem in the past was that we had unwieldy acronyms: ‘JISR’, for example, is well understood in the military but does not ring a bell with diplomats at NATO headquarters. ‘Intelligence Support’ is much more intelligible (no pun intended) for a political audience. So, the restructuring is partly a name change to clarify what we are doing, but it is more than just changing names – the idea of ‘centres’ is also an aspiration to concentrate and develop our expertise in sync with



Developing the expertise within the NCI Agency will lead to better partnerships with industry and innovative solutions to support political and military decision-makers (PHOTOS: NCI AGENCY)

NATO’s broader agenda. Big Data and Cyberspace are just two examples that are high on the political agenda and where the Agency can provide meaningful contributions.


How will this restructuring benefit NATO and the Member States?


It will make our structure more user-friendly! The hope is that the centres will facilitate access to our expertise, making us available to provide real benefits to our partners in the Alliance. It is a way of consolidating and prioritizing to make sure we build the right expertise for the future to support NATO, Allies and Partner Nations.

Q. A.


How will the centres work together as a Team of Teams?

The restructuring is work in progress. The initial aspiration is to test the merits of the centres construct, accepting that we are more advanced in some areas than in others. The NATO Cyber Security Centre is already operational, the concept of a NATO Data Science Centre and a NATO Space Technology Centre is maturing, while more work needs to be done on other centres. We are not necessarily wedded to having a given number of centres established; we will learn from the experience and then decide in which areas we want to expand the concept. Also, we count on our Agency Supervisory Board to help guide the creation of centres as a new feature in our organization.


How will the centres work with industry?


We have a very close relationship with industry, both in terms of pre-contractual and contractual engagements, and believe our centres will provide some interesting touch points in that relationship. For instance, data science will become an ever-important component of NATO capabilities. Having the right level of expertise in the Agency will lead to better contracts with industry and beneficial partnering arrangements in the development of innovative solutions in support of political and military decision-makers. Our Agency staff needs to act on NATO’s behalf as an intelligent procurer towards industry, and ensure that contracts for hightech capabilities make sense and are actionable. The Agency centres will, thus, be instrumental in ensuring that we remain on top of technological developments in key areas of expertise.


Space is a new domain for NATO, so could you explain how the NATO Space Technology Centre will function?


Some experts in our Agency contributed to the development of NATO’s space policy and the definition of space as a new operational domain. Modern capabilities are becoming increasingly dependent upon space-based technologies, and the Agency has followed this technological evolution closely over many years. This means that we now have a cadre of experts with a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities of space-based assets, be it for


The NCI Agency’s NATO Data Science Centre will support the Alliance in applying new technologies (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

communication, observation, surveillance or geolocation purposes. This is, again, an example of meaningful contributions we can make to NATO’s political agenda. A recent example is the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with four NATO Nations for the provision of critical satellite communications services to NATO for the next 15 years. At the same time, we are modernizing satellite ground communications stations that are operated by Agency staff in close collaboration with industry.

Q. A.

And data science?

Data is a strategic resource and extremely important for the Alliance. We have a lot of data, not only from NATO operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, but also from our daily cyber defence operations and military exercises we have been supporting over many years. Most recently, we have seen the delivery of the Alliance Ground Surveillance capability, providing NATO with a unique intelligence collection asset and a great provider of strategic data. Modern technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, provide unprecedented opportunities to exploit

large amounts of structured and unstructured data in support of NATO and national decision-makers faced with the complexity of military operations in a multi-threat environment. With the Agency’s NATO Data Science Centre, we want to support the Alliance in applying emerging technologies to NATO use cases. The key question is, how can we use technology and innovation to help political and military leaders make better decisions faster? We are only at the start of a most exciting journey in data science. The Agency stands ready to accompany NATO in this high-tech endeavour.




MARITIME PICTURE Once TRITON reaches full operational capability, it will replace the Maritime Command and Control Information System (MCCIS) to become the main platform for conducting Allied maritime operations. Dr Erhan Saridogan and Marc Atkins, the NCI Agency experts running the project, explain to Giles Ebbutt how this will enhance NATO’s maritime capability

TRITON was established to provide NATO Commanders with operational-level command and control (C2) capabilities, including maritime situational awareness. The new C2 system, which will reach its first operational milestone in early 2021, will deliver TRITON to help track military and commercial maritime vessels to build the NATO recognized maritime picture and white (commercial) shipping picture, at classified domain and unclassified domain respectively. It will also provide operational support as a command and control tool, principally for Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM).


Funded through the NATO Security Investment Programme, TRITON was authorized in 2014 and its procurement was approved in 2016. The contract for this project was later awarded through international competitive bidding to a Canadian company, MDA Systems Ltd.

The current system, Maritime Command and Control Information System (MCCIS), has been fully operational since 1996 and is not only used for NATO maritime operations, but also as the main maritime command and control system for 13 Nations. Marc Atkins, MCCIS Service Delivery Manager at the NCI Agency, says that the current system is in need of replacement because it uses an old operating system and legacy hardware, much of which is no longer produced and no longer suitable for modern IT architectures. For this reason, supporting and maintaining the current software has also become a challenge. There are significant limitations on track capacity, which has become an obstacle as it now has to track white shipping, as well as military vessels. However, as Atkins points out, “When MCCIS was built there was no expectation of managing both military and commercial vessels.” A prototype system, Maritime




Situational Awareness (MSA)-BRITE, has been added to manage the white picture, but the system no longer has the capacity to handle a very large number of vessels, so a replacement is needed.

SHARING THE PICTURE The first increment of TRITON will replace a number of MCCIS functions on the ‘high’, classified side, and MSA-BRITE functions on the ‘low’, unclassified side. The key element will be the provision and sharing of the recognised maritime picture. TRITON also includes Water Space Management for submarine operations. Other pictures, such as the recognised air and land pictures, will be displayed as overlays in TRITON as received from the NATO Common Operational Picture (NCOP) tool. The project also includes the provision of deployable kits for afloat command platforms in NATO Standing Naval Task Groups, either as a whole system or just the software. Other ships in the Task Group can access the TRITON functions using their browsers with on-board network capabilities. During maritime operations with non-NATO nations, TRITON will also adhere to Federated Mission Networking (FMN) specifications, so that those systems complying with the specifications can easily exchange maritime information and benefit from the increased abilities. Dr Erhan Saridogan, TRITON Project Manager at the NCI Agency, states that the key capabilities of TRITON’s first increment are virtually the same as those of MCCIS and


TRITON will also include the provision of deployable kits for afloat command platforms in NATO standing ships at sea (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

MSA-BRITE, but the fidelity of the maritime pictures and automated functions will increase significantly. “As Nations increase their contribution, the NATO recognised maritime picture will be more accurate and up-to-date, more frequently refreshed and shared,” he explains. “Decision-support and analysis tools will assist commanders and planners for more efficient command and control of maritime operations.” The transition phase from MCCIS to TRITON will continue until the end of 2021. The second increment of TRITON is still at the programming stage. After initiation as a project, expected to cover Naval Mine Warfare and operational planning functions, its earliest delivery date is 2025. Increment 3 is not yet at the project definition stage, but is expected to include functionality to cover Amphibious Warfare and support to other maritime warfare areas. Like its predecessor, TRITON will be made available to NATO Member States to acquire as their own maritime command and control system. Dr Saridogan states that, as the software package is very large and complex, TRITON will be provided under a support service to manage the system life cycle. Dr Saridogan sees TRITON’s greatest value in its automated data-handling capabilities, especially managing a very large number of maritime tracks in separate maritime operational contexts, detection of ambiguities and anomalies, providing several decisionsupport functions for more efficient decision-making.


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE end-to-end capability and security, and provide assured, trusted interconnectivity service up to secret, with seamless multi-network secure hybrid connectivity management and the securing of data transactions.

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What are Airbus Defence and Space’s secure communications capabilities? In short, Airbus Defence and Space provides governments, militaries and international agencies with missioncritical voice and high-speed data communications on land, at sea and in the air. Furthermore, we bring together the most comprehensive satellite communications bandwidth and the best-in-class capabilities for network services and solutions. We manage everything from network operations to in-field support services and training to provide reliable, high-performance, rapidly deployed communication capabilities on the go, even in harsh environments. In addition, we deliver seamless and hybrid exchange of information, including data, voice, video, chat and tracking functionality. With over 40 years’ experience in delivering communication services, Airbus Defence and Space is the provider of choice for 38 armed forces and governments around the world. This is because we are experts in designing, developing, installing and managing customer management systems and hardware for those types of users. These systems have total

Using both military and commercial frequency bands, we provide a full spectrum of satellite bandwidth and service options, as well as offering an extensive Satcom terminal catalogue for on land, in the air and at sea. We provide fully integrated, secure end-to-end resilient satellite communications services and are able to tailor any mix of airtime, terminals and networking, together with unrivalled support and logistics to deliver high-quality satellite connectivity.

How does Airbus support NATO and the NCI Agency? Not surprisingly, as Europe’s numberone defence and space contractor, Airbus is a major provider of systems and services to NATO nations. We have also been a key provider to NATO and its agencies for more than 25 years. Our experience and involvement with NATO and the NCI Agency for such a long period ensures that Airbus, our management and our delivery teams fully understand NATO’s and the NCI Agency’s requirements and procedures and are able to support them to successfully achieve their objectives. Airbus currently delivers a wide range of communication solutions to NATO. These range from satellite communication provision and equipment through the NSP2K consortium, to static Communication and Information Systems (CIS) for the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU). Due to the requirement to act swiftly and decisively to emerging security challenges, Airbus has also designed and developed a secure,

modular, scalable and rapidly Deployable Communications and Information System (DCIS). Airbus Defence and Space is also a leader in the design, implementation and support of new service frameworks for the management of public key certificates. We also provide Advisory and Assistance Services and have a proven record for providing contractor support to governments and international organizations, ensuring that the correct technical skills are within the right places.

What does the NCI Agency contract award for the NATO Communication Infrastructure (NCI) Project cover? The NATO Communications Infrastructure (NCI) project, which was awarded to Airbus in 2017, will replace a major part of the NATO General Communications System (NGCS), involving 72 NATO sites. It will provide a major upgrade of wide area network protected IP communications across the NATO command structure, NATO headquarters and NATO points of presence in NATO Member States. The project covers the delivery of upgraded IP access and transport services across different security classifications, with significantly increased capacity, quality of service and traffic engineering capabilities. It also covers NATO unclassified voice services through the replacement of old telephony switches by voiceover-IP telephony at 25 sites. More importantly, it is part of a wider IT Modernization Programme in which Airbus is helping the NCI Agency transform NATO’s IT infrastructure.





Rose Gottemoeller, former chief US negotiator of New START, formally known as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russian Federation, and Michael Stoltz, the NCI Agency’s Director, Air and Missile Defence Command and Control, tell Mike Bryant about the threat that new Russian weapons systems pose to the Alliance, and the changes to how the NCI Agency will be supporting Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) in response


With the US-Russia nuclear arms control treaty “New START” due to expire in February 2021, and the world’s attention turned to the immediate danger posed by the coronavirus outbreak, the reemergence of the nuclear threat is on the geopolitical horizon. Capabilities supporting Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) are thus essential to NATO’s deterrence and defence posture. This is why, in November 2019, it was agreed that the NCI Agency would begin delivering upgrades to the BMD system in smaller increments, enabling changes to be made more frequently, and allowing warfighters to provide feedback more often. Rose Gottemoeller, former NATO Deputy Secretary General (DSG) and now Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), knows all about the threat posed by Russian nuclear and ballistic missile weapons – and she is convinced that the threat is “a very real one. Indeed, it may well be growing.”

NEW WEAPON SYSTEM Particularly worrying, according to Gottemoeller, is the ongoing deployment of a new weapon system – the SSC-8 intermediaterange ground-launched cruise missile – in forward areas of western Russia. The Russians are deploying the new missile, which, according to Gottemoeller, has “dual capability,” meaning it can be armed with either conventional or nuclear warheads and is therefore “a highly capable weapon”. Their mobility, meaning they can be moved fairly rapidly to new firing sites, also increases their potency as a weapon. There is also unwelcome evidence that Russia is planning to base Iskander missiles in Crimea, a move




NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence Russian ballistic missile sites




Romania Crimean Peninsula Spain

that would be illegal, given that this is deemed by NATO and most of the global community to be land illegally seized from Ukraine. It is suspected, however, that the base sites and associated infrastructure may be currently under construction in preparation for the missiles’ deployment. Though short-range, any Iskander missiles based close to the border with Western countries in Kaliningrad, mainland Russia or Crimea, would present a very clear and present danger to NATO Members’ security. And, as already



mentioned, the Iskander is not the only new missile system that is of concern. Russia has also fired the SSC-8 (or 9M729) ground-based, intermediate-range cruise missile in contravention of the IntermediateRange Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

INCREASING PRIORITY During her stint as NATO Deputy Secretary General from 2016-19, Gottemoeller was glad to see the Alliance react to the growing ballistic and cruise missile threat. She is a firm believer that

Russia’s Iskander missile system, pictured on the Palace Square in St Petersburg during a Victory Parade rehearsal

integrated air and missile defence is now a bigger priority for NATO than ever before. That said, Gottemoeller concedes that effective countermeasures will require the requisite investment. They will also require the development of next-generation technologies to meet the changing threat from new Russian ballistic and cruise missiles that represent a qualitative improvement on their predecessors. Effective countermeasures will also require efficient communications and information sharing amongst NATO partners and within NATO operations. Resilience will also be vital in the event of any kinetic or cyber-attack on facilities, another area in which the NCI Agency plays an important role. Gottemoeller is alarmed by the impact that the coronavirus pandemic may have on the effort to extend the current New START treaty, which will lapse in February 2021, if the necessary steps to extend it are not taken. “The Trump administration has said that they want to see attention to limiting


non-strategic nuclear weapons and bringing China into the negotiations before they can agree to its extension,” she says. “However, both the US and Russian governments, as well as China’s, are focused on dealing with the pandemic and less focused on other diplomacy, no matter how important.”

The deployment of new Russian weapons systems close to countries in the West is making BMD countermeasures an even greater priority for NATO than ever before (PHOTOS: NATO/NCI AGENCY)

POTENTIAL DANGERS If the treaty is extended until 2026, it will continue to cap Russian deployed warheads at 1,550 and delivery systems – missiles and bombers – at 700, giving the US a stable environment in which to modernize. However, Gottemoeller highlights the potential dangers of failure: “Without the treaty, things could change drastically and quickly. There is no faster way for the Russians to outrun us than to deploy more nuclear warheads on their missiles. In other words, the United States and its NATO Allies could see the Russians place hundreds of additional nuclear warheads on the same number of strategic missiles that the Russians are deploying today – a big jump in the Russian nuclear threat in a short period of time.” The rapidly evolving BMD threat requires NATO to be equally agile in its response. And the NCI Agency, which, among its many roles, provides the critical command and control technology that

connects the various elements that make up NATO’s BMD capability, is introducing a much quicker method of delivering meaningful new operational capabilities. The new methodology of delivery is ‘tranche’-based, with the Agency working together on an ongoing basis with both the operational users of Alliance BMD capability and the industry suppliers of the technology that supports new capability. Crucially, the standard

method of delivering new systems and capability at the end of a development programme that might extend over a decade or more, is being replaced by one that will see meaningful new capabilities deployed every couple of years. Michael Stoltz, Director Air and Missile Defence Command and Control (AMDC2) at the NCI Agency, explains that reducing the time lag of new operational deployments of BMD capability will allow NATO to



The NCI Agency will play a key role in providing efficient and resilient communications and information sharing between NATO Allies and within NATO operations, to ensure the effectiveness of the Alliance’s BMD countermeasures

adapt in a much more agile way to changes both in threat and available technologies, acquiring and integrating state-of-the-art solutions through competitive procurement and agile system of system integration and validation. According to Stoltz, the new collaborative, tranche-based programme delivery methodology will also help to avoid ‘cost creep’ and schedule delays, with new requirements able to be factored into new tranche deployments, fleshed out and incorporated into programme requirements as part of the process of ongoing dialogue.


“The new approach is very ‘benefitdriven’,” Stoltz observes. It also offers greater transparency of the development and deployment process, not only for operational Alliance member BMD customers, but also NATO governance bodies, which are understandably keen to maintain a close eye on schedules and costs. “Thus, there will be no more surprises in the BMD development programme,” he adds. Although partly developed as a response to cost and schedule overruns experienced in the past, the main benefits lie in the

“Without the treaty, things could change drastically and quickly”

quicker and more responsive delivery of meaningful capability upgrades. These advantages became evident during the development of the new approach, which was first mooted in 2017 by Maurizio Pennarola, Deputy Director BMD at the NCI Agency. This innovative methodology was subsequently agreed by the NATO BMD Steering Committee in 2018, and by the NATO Conference of National Armaments Directors in 2019. The first two-year BMD tranche delivery will take place as soon as 2021, with two-year increments in capability upgrades being supplied over the course of the BMD development programme. Once the value of the tranche-based approach is proven in the BMD domain, the expectation is that it will be rolled out across other NATO capability domains.



Thierry Weulersse CEO, ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS)

Are disruptive technologies a game changer for the defence sector? Allied air and space power is entering a new era of increased speed and digitization. The systems we develop and that NATO and Member States operate to secure, defend and control the air domain are more reliant on new technologies like AI/ML, Big Data, connectivity and cyber than ever before. They enable users to connect, make decisions and respond to a spectrum of evolving threats from high-end peer competitors to terrorist organizations. However, as the capabilities evolve, so do the threats. We need to continue to improve our systems and fully network them across the air, land, maritime, cyber and space domains. Cross-Domain Operations and their associated C2 systems will shape our future, but they must also allow us to maintain our advantage and initiative

How is TRS supporting the NCI Agency lead NATO’s digital transformation? TRS continues to evaluate digital technologies and conducts value analysis to determine the appropriate capability enhancements for insertion into our customers’ systems. TRS also

benefits enormously from its parent companies’ (Thales and Raytheon) capabilities. Digital transformation provides a scalable information environment in support of multiple mission areas. Our software team allows continuous integration of service-based applications, agile core services - based on commercial technologies and open sources – as well as a data strategy and DevOps methodology for faster tranchebased development, alongside testing and deployment in the secure environment. Users’ engagement and feedback drives iterative updates to fielded C2 systems. Instead of traditional V-cycle practices, TRS has demonstrated, with the TMD1 project, the benefits of an incremental approach for large projects. This approach helped achieve interim operational capability in 2012, initial operational capability in 2016, and the provision of an enhanced theatre BMD capability in 2017 and 2018. Since then, the system has been in operation at the NATO BMD Operation Centre (BMDOC) in Ramstein, protecting the NATO European area. TRS embraces these digital technologies and new practices that will be driving the future of AirC4I evolutions. The acquisition of fifthgeneration aircraft and advanced air tactical systems by NATO and the Member States will bring an enhanced ability to collect and disseminate an increased amount of information across the NATO network over previous generations. Missions will increasingly rely on system interactions that empower information sharing.

How is TRS addressing the digital transformation of its products and processes?

and dual approach of leading-edge innovators in the commercial sector. For example, our ANTICIPE PoC redesigns and augments the commander’s critical information requirements (CCIR) process using new technologies to make it faster and more relevant. It is based on a simple idea of dividing CCIR into two sub-levels of information, which are linked by rules defined by the planners. In the face of complexity, this tool will provide a significant capacity to track weak signals and triggers, directly relating them to decisions. It is being developed within a NATO STO study and will be tested at STJUJA20 (Steadfast Jupiter Jackal 20) exercise through a ‘Shadow Staff’ that will implement the system. In addition, TRS is setting up a digital workforce for digital AirC4I using DevSecOps and agile methodologies, leveraging open source capabilities and involving end users early in the capability concept phase.

How does TRS attract and retain the necessary skills to achieve its digital transformation? In the face of fierce market competition for scarce IT talent, TRS and its parent companies have launched a range of new initiatives to attract, retain, train and partner in order to develop a digital workforce to support NATO’s technical edge endeavours. The digital revolution leads us to new business opportunities, thanks to innovative digital solutions and the possibility of achieving operational excellence through new working methods. These new working methods provide employees with an entirely new experience, new processes and a change in culture that allows TRS to attract and retain the very best talent.

We continue to develop Proof of Concepts (PoC) at low technology readiness levels in our innovation labs that benefit from the key technologies

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Having signed an accord to join NATO in February 2019, North Macedonia officially joined the Alliance in March 2020. Alan Dron asks the NCI Agency’s Florien Bormand how the Agency supported the new Member’s integration into the Alliance’s structures, networks and decision-making processes

North Macedonia formally became a full member of NATO on 27 March 2020, following the ratification of the Accession Protocol by each of the 29 Allies

Bringing a new country into the NATO organization entails a considerable amount of behindthe-scenes effort, and the NCI Agency played a significant part in integrating North Macedonia into the NATO networks, despite the current COVID-19 constraints. “Basically, NATO entities have to be able to communicate securely with the decision-makers in the new Member State,” says Florien Bormand, Project Manager in the NCI Agency’s Network Services and IT Infrastructure team. This involved setting up connections to the political and military hierarchy of North Macedonia.



That activity is being delivered by Bormand’s team at four locations in North Macedonia. “It’s very similar to what was done in Montenegro a few years ago. There are secure locations at the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Agency. On top of that, one of SACEUR’s (NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe) key missions is to ensure air and missile defence across the countries of the Alliance, therefore we’ve also connected the country’s main air operations centre.” NATO secure voice and NATO secure computers are two of the main capabilities being delivered to the new Member State. The equipment was confirmed to be functional and communication was achieved with the NCI Agency’s main site in late March 2020. Before equipment could start to be installed, however, several prerequisites had to be satisfied. “It’s a chicken-and-egg situation,” explains Bormand. “We’re trying to deliver NATO capabilities inside a nation that’s not yet a NATO Nation. On the other hand, the capabilities are expected to be operational on

North Macedonian troops pictured during a visit of the North Atlantic Council to the Ilinden barracks, outside the country’s capital, Skopje (PHOTO: NATO)

day one, and such implementation does not happen overnight.”

DELIVERING NEW CAPABILITIES AT SPEED Work on delivering those capabilities progressed at high speed for several months. In nearby Montenegro, the accession project took 24 months – and that was considered fast. In North Macedonia, that was compressed to only 10 months, less than half the time. Furthermore, the project for North Macedonia was larger in scope than that for Montenegro. “For example, the capabilities we deploy for North

NATO HQ Brussels Ministry of Defence (MoD) Ministry of Foreign Affairs National Security Agency

Main air operations centre North Macedonia


Macedonia have to meet additional cyber security requirements. The NATO Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) also greatly assisted with information assurance and cyber security challenges,” says Bormand. One factor behind the short timescale was the long-running dispute over the country’s name, which was only resolved in summer 2018. Another was a new NATO governance model relating to IT implementation projects. “This is only the second project under the new regime – in fact, we are actually the first one to progress under it and to materialize the benefits of stronger coordination with the Strategic Commands throughout the project,” Bormand says. In June 2019, the NCI Agency team visited the four selected sites to provide recommendations on the facilities needed to meet NATO standards, both in terms of physical security and overall location requirements. Construction work – another time-consuming activity – was required at the sites. The process for the NCI Agency to seek and receive funding, procure and deliver the necessary equipment to the sites, including communication kits that meet NATO emission security standards to minimize the chances of messages being intercepted, also took quite a long

time. “Procurement under such extremely short timelines can be a complex task,” explains Bormand. Part of the challenge is that there are strict specifications on the type and design of equipment which is permitted to be utilized. Additionally, a new law in North Macedonia, aimed at stamping out corruption, mandated very strict procurement procedures. As a result, facilities were only made available to Bormand’s team in late February. “Even when we started installation on 9 March, we still had people doing some work in the facilities,” he comments.

The approach for the project was to have as much on-site work as possible undertaken by industry – in this case, Airbus Norway – which handled the main implementation phase. “We provided them with a clear design and detailed instructions on how to implement it. This will become the standard approach for projects in the networks, voice and video area,” reveals Bormand. Another major industry provider, BT, delivered the link to the main point of presence at the Ministry of Defence, while API Europe and Thales Norway provided essential communications devices and


North Macedonia’s Prime Minister, Oliver Spasovski, met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to NATO headquarters in February 2020

Leonardo handled the NCIRC FOC (NATO Computer Incident Response Capability – Full Operational Capability) extensions, ensuring that the computers delivered on-site are properly monitored and controlled from a cyber security point of view. Much of the project was NATO common-funded, but some facilities, such as in-building optical cabling, are being provided by the host country. The government in Skopje also met the costs of providing NATO standards of physical security at the sites and the links between the four sites on their territory.



The NCI Agency’s Operational Analysis team has been assisting the NATOled international peacekeeping force in Kosovo for over 20 years. We ask its Chief, Sylvie Martel, and Senior Scientist, Pedro Albano, what this work has entailed and how it has helped enhance peace and security

KEEPING KOSOVO SAFE In June 1999, the first elements of the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) entered war-torn Kosovo. Their mission was to help implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, oversee the withdrawal of Serbian troops, and support the international humanitarian effort. NATO’s

assistance came as an estimated 1.5 million people, or 90% of the population of Kosovo, had been expelled from their homes, 225,000 Kosovars had gone missing and over 5,000 Kosovar men had been executed as a result of Milosevic’s brutal regime. At the time, KFOR consisted of over 50,000 troops. Now, with the country enjoying relative stability and security, the number is fewer than 4,000. Throughout the KFOR deployment, the NCI Agency has helped develop and implement systems to enable the peacekeeping mission and achieve its goal of a safe Kosovo and a stable region.


There are a number of areas in which the NCI Agency provides support to the KFOR mission. In particular, the KFOR programme of work brings together three disparate, but highly integrated, areas of support to KFOR in the form of three projects. The NCI Agency’s Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (Joint ISR) team

provides the Force with intelligence tools and geographic information systems, while the Operational Analysis (OA) team leads the Information Knowledge Management (IKM) project. The IKM project ensures that the tools that are being used for handling the vast amounts of knowledge and information acquired during an operation meet the operational requirements of the mission. The support provided by

By providing continuous support to the KFOR mission, the NCI Agency has ensured that the mission’s headquarters can exploit NATO’s latest tools and expertise. This continuous analytical support – including mentoring and technical support – has helped the growth of corporate knowledge on how the headquarters operates and ensures that the data and tools available to KFOR staff are capable of enhancing decision-making capabilities. “It is through this model that the development of NATO and KFOR-specific applications evolve in line with KFOR requirements,” says NCI Agency Senior Scientist Pedro Albano.


assess emergent issues and requirements and it develops the appropriate solution in coordination with NCI Agency staff and KFOR. This ensures an effective, flexible and rapid deployment of the required solution – either personnel and/or a technical patch – to resolve operational issues, which ultimately may save lives.”


KFOR troops meet children during a visit to a CIMIC reconstruction project in a Kosovo-Albanian village (PHOTO: NATO)

the OA team is primarily concerned with understanding what information is required by whom and its timeliness (and how quickly it is required) to ensure that the right information is available to the right person at the right time to enable effective decision-making. For KFOR, the work undertaken by the Agency helps determine which supporting tools are best suited to the KFOR mission. And the fielded tools have been designed to meet

specific needs, such as incident reporting and management, through the Joint Operations Centre Watch (JOCWatch) system, as well as a database to collate the reports from the Liaison and Monitoring Teams as they record activities that may have an impact on the KFOR mission and personnel. As the NCI Agency’s Operational Analysis Chief, Sylvie Martel explains, “The OA team provides the initial analytical support to

KFOR has greatly benefited and continues to benefit from the NCI Agency’s expertise across a wide range of areas, not least situational awareness and, by extension, situational understanding. In particular, the NCI Agency has provided continual support to the interim GeoSpatial Intelligence Tool (iGeoSIT) used primarily for situational awareness, and the underlying management of the displayed data. With help from the Agency, the system’s capabilities have been expanded to include airspace management activities, such as restricted operating zones visualization and coordination, and battlespace deconfliction activities through visualization of planned



ground patrols. More recently, the deployment and support of the NATO Joint Tactical Chat (JChat) tool has improved the ability of KFOR personnel to collaborate in real time and be more responsive to emergent issues.

According to Pedro Albano, “This has led to more effective logistics planning, better use of transport equipment and improved stocks of various classes of commodities, such as food, water and medical supplies.” Significant support has also been provided to KFOR following the rotation of logistics



OA support in KFOR has also enabled the recent introduction of the Logistics Functional Area Services (LOGFAS) system, a tool for the planning, coordination and monitoring of logistical support of a military operation, into the IKM project scope. This includes the maintenance and deployment of updates with mentoring support provided to key logistical processes, including logistics reporting, movement execution and deployment planning.

personnel, ensuring the consistent application of best practices in the use of LOGFAS.

LESSONS LEARNED “One of the key lessons we have learned is that an enduring and continuous engagement with the operational user community is essential for understanding their requirements and adequately

KFOR is providing assistance to local communities in Kosovo to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic (PHOTO: NATO)

supporting the objectives of the mission’s Commander,” explains Martel. As operations become ever more dependent upon the exploitation of technology, there is an essential need for civilian scientific support to capture and act upon emergent requirements. This support also provides a corporate memory function in military environments with frequent personnel rotations. Another lesson is the importance of capitalizing on Agency staff with significant mission experience. Many Agency personnel supporting KFOR have gained valuable experience from supporting other NATO missions, including the former Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and subsequent Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, and NATO Mission Iraq, as well as countless NATO and national exercises. “Such operational expertise is essential if we are to prevent the repetition of mistakes made in the past. It also brings in a wealth of experience that enables quick and effective solutions to be put into operations,” says Albano.


THE PHOENIX HAS RISEN As NITECH goes to print, NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force has just conducted its first flight from its main operating base in Sigonella, Italy. Jim Winchester asks the NCI Agency’s Laryssa Patten and Ramon Segura about the game-changing significance of this event and reveals how the Agency will further improve the system

NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system centres on the capabilities of a remotely piloted aircraft, based on the Northrop Grumman Block 40 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The first of five of the type, commonly known as ‘Phoenix’,



arrived at the AGS main operating base at Sigonella, Italy, on 21 November 2019, followed by the second in December 2019. The aircraft are only one element of the AGS system, which also comprises ground and support segments consisting of static and deployable ground stations, as well as simulators and pilot/crew trainers. Equally important is its space segment, which is vital to delivering the capability. The NCI Agency plays a critical role in all these segments.

SATCOM SUPPORT The Agency designed the satellite communications (SATCOM) architecture that supports AGS operations. Through these satellites, the Force has ‘command and control’ over the Phoenix, which means it can fly the aircraft, and is also able to recover the data during flight. This data is then analysed by the AGS Force, or by experts around the Alliance, and turned into intelligence ‘reports’, which go back to the Commander or NATO and Allied leaders, so that they can make well-informed decisions in a timely manner.


These ‘reports’ are accessible on the NATO secure network, maintained by the NCI Agency. Meanwhile, the Agency’s team of 25 communications and information systems (CIS) experts in Sigonella support the AGS Force to ensure that the AGS is connected at all times to the rest of the Alliance.

Laryssa Patten, AGS Portfolio Manager for the NCI Agency’s Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (Joint ISR) team, explains how this will develop as AGS comes on stream: “The first two roles will remain as part of what we call ‘steady-state’ operations. We will, therefore, always retain people in Sigonella, supporting the AGS Force and ensuring connectivity and that all the other services are being provided. The project to integrate the AGS into the NATO enterprise will close once we hand over to steady-state operations. We have been transitioning to our own NATO SATCOM from the contractor’s service since November 2019.” In early 2020, the first two aircraft underwent a final acceptance testing period, which included a flight to collect imagery over an area of Italy using the contractor’s SATCOM service. “After the flight, the collected imagery was put

AGS main operating base, Sigonella

Once management of AGS has been handed over to the NATO Supply and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the organization responsible for maintaining the AGS, it will receive regular enhancements, as Patten explains: “NATO is always looking to keep its edge, so there are plans for continuous improvement and the integration of additional capabilities. One of the first things we want to do is to connect it to the E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft using the Link 16 [military] data link system.”


into the system and then moved to the NATO Secret Wide Area Network to be verified for interoperability,” says Patten. “There was a follow up flight in which we flew the Phoenix on NATO SATCOM systems alone. That was another big milestone.”

THE SPACE DOMAIN With vehicles such as the Phoenix relying on satellites for communication, data transfer and, to a lesser extent, control, the space domain is becoming increasingly important. According to NCI Agency systems architect Ramon Segura, “The reliance on space for joint intelligence and reconnaissance has been there for more than 50 years. It’s been a domain of operations ever since GPS signals began to be transmitted and the first commercial and military reconnaissance satellites were placed into orbit. NATO has manned aircraft, like the E-3 AWACS and P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that have relied on satellites for over two decades, but the amounts of data they transmit are several orders of magnitude smaller than the volumes AGS will generate.”

One of the five NATO Phoenix unmanned aerial vehicles that will be based at Sigonella in Italy (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

Moreover, several AGS can be airborne at any one time in support of one or more missions, adding to the bandwidth requirement. “The AGS, like many other remotely operated military vehicles, relies



on commercial satellites, the kind that deliver internet to remote places and high-definition television,” explains Segura. “There is no difference, it’s the same type of payload – there is nothing AGS-specific on those satellites.”


ENSURING BANDWIDTH The bandwidth is funded through the Luxembourg government and delivered through assets owned and operated by companies based in the country. “Satellite bandwidth is always expensive,” explains Segura, “but in this case, a nation stood up and decided to contribute with that bandwidth. It is still our rule that we make the most efficient use of it, that no bandwidth is wasted, but when we talk bandwidth with critical military assets of this nature, we have to make sure that it’s always available when you need it, where you need it, and you really have to eliminate any chance of it not being available. “So, you have to sign a contract for a long period of time to make sure that bandwidth is reserved and dedicated to your mission. In that sense it is different from buying satellite bandwidth on the so-called spot market, where you may or may not get it because there are other


The AGS system relies on communication with commercial satellites, of the same type as those that deliver internet and television services

people competing for it. The bandwidth for the contracted years is pre-allocated, dedicated and guaranteed at all times.” To help guarantee bandwidth supply, there are three satellite systems involved with AGS, which can serve different purposes, including redundancy (fail-safe back-up). AGS doesn’t only use commercial satellites for delivering sensor data to the ground; it can also rely on the Inmarsat constellation to relay Air Traffic Control (ATC) voice communications from the ground controllers to the pilots in Sigonella, so it is effectively like having the pilots on board the aircraft. As a

The NATO AGS Force was stood up at its operating base in Sigonella, Italy, to enable surveillance over wide areas (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

fall-back, AGS can also use military Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite communications at very low data rates, sufficient to allow command and control of the aircraft and the sensors, in case something goes wrong during flight or if the flight path needs to be changed. After a long gestation, the AGS is now contributing to NATO operations and two further aircraft are expected to arrive in Italy in the coming months. Segura confirms, “The certification of air-worthiness has been the responsibility of Italy, as the nation receiving the mandate to be the Military Air-worthiness Authority from the NATO AGS programme. To that end, Italy committed its Directory of Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA) over a number of years to do a very deep analysis of all the attributes that would make AGS airworthy. That process was completed successfully and that is the reason why AGS can fly today.” Patten concludes: “NATO has the first Global Hawk that has flight certification, certified under the Italian aviation authority. This marks a major milestone in the development of a critical Alliance capability.”


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE terrestrial and maritime surveillance, delivering data to commanders protecting ground troops and civilians, humanitarian and disasterrelief missions, counter-terrorism and border watch during peacetime.

first two air vehicles arrived at Italy’s Sigonella Air Base in late 2019. The NATO/Industry team recently completed a key verification flight from the Main Operating Base (MOB) in Sigonella, Sicily. This is an important step for issuance of the Military Registration Number, a key enabler to eventual FOC.

What does the entire AGS system consist of?

Leslie Smith VP Global Hawk Enterprise, Northrop Grumman

What makes the NATO AGS RQ-4D unique? The RQ-4D Phoenix is a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft designed for wide area surveillance. It is a key element of the larger NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system of systems that is built to specific Alliance requirements in support of the ever-demanding need for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Acquired by 15 NATO Allies, it will share intelligence with 30 NATO Nations. NATO AGS, with the RQ-4D Phoenix, is designed to provide persistent, vital intelligence-gathering capabilities supporting the mission to deter, protect and defend global security. The on-demand intelligence provides military commanders with an ever-watchful eye monitoring events near real time, at long range, around the clock. This unique aircraft is the first HALE aircraft to meet the rigorous airworthiness requirements for a limited military type certification (MTC) approved by the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA). With the ability to fly for up to 30 hours at a time, the AGS system provides persistent wide-area

Leading European industry partners Airbus, Kongsberg and Leonardo teamed with Northrop Grumman to provide ground-based exploitation, archival and operations support elements that ingest the data collected

Northrop Grumman has a deployed team on-site in Sigonella that works daily with the procurement authority, NAGSMA (NATO Alliance Ground Systems Management Agency) and the NATO AGS Force (NAGSF) to

“The on-demand intelligence provides military commanders with an everwatchful eye monitoring events near real time, at long range, around the clock” by the RQ-4D Phoenix. The total AGS system consists of five aircraft paired with multiple ground and support elements, which now provide the persistent wide-area terrestrial and maritime surveillance hitherto unavailable to NATO. The cutting-edge technology in communications and sensors integration is a force multiplier, enabling the system of systems to work together. The state-of-the-art multiplatform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) sensor, in particular, provides critical data to commanders during operations, day or night. This data includes ground moving target indicator (GMTI) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ground images.

What needs to be done to bring AGS into Full Operational Capability?

ensure their preparation for system operation, as soon as DAAA issues Registration and NAGSMA transfers the aircraft and associated elements to NATO.

How is Northrop Grumman working with the NCI Agency to ensure the success of AGS? We work as one ‘team’ to bring this capability to the end user. Northrop Grumman is partnering with our customer and European industry partners, and closely collaborating with NSPA (NATO Support and Procurement Agency) and the NCI Agency to integrate the NATO AGS capability into the NATO Secret WAN (Wide Area Network).

The MTC represents a significant milestone on the path to full operational capacity (FOC). The






In response to a growing electronic warfare threat to NATO, a major project to update the way the Alliance stores its electronic warfare data is under way. Stephen Lewis, Deputy Chief, and Lee Houlker Senior Scientist, at the NCI Agency’s Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (Joint ISR) Service Line, tell David Hayhurst about the benefits the new system will introduce in terms of the more efficient storage and distribution of this critical data

One of the most useful ways of understanding what your adversary is up to is to listen to and record what he is saying and the signals his equipment emits. This can not only reveal the strength of his force, but also how it is organized and when elements of that force are moving, where they are going and what they are doing. This activity, known as signals intelligence, consists of listening to communications between people (communications

intelligence) and emissions made by equipment (emitters) – radars, electro-optic sensors, and weapon systems (electronic intelligence). The resultant picture that the combined efforts of communications intelligence and electronic intelligence can produce at any given time is often referred to as an Electronic Order of Battle (EOB), and it is one of the core activities within electronic warfare. An accurate and



Vast amounts of information are gathered in today’s electronic warfare environment (PHOTOS: NCI AGENCY)

up-to-date EOB gives commanders greater situational awareness and can be an advantage during operations, or for effective deterrence and defence. For the EOB to be accurate and up to date, it needs to rely on a comprehensive database that can categorize, identify and store many years of electronic intelligence emissions. Another key purpose of this database is to keep track of all the equipment an adversary might use against you to jam or confuse your own systems.

Considering the remarkable scale and sophistication of disruptive capabilities that potential adversaries have demonstrated against both civilian and military infrastructures in recent years – Russia’s joint strategic military ZAPAD exercises being one of the most dramatic examples – NATO’s need for comprehensive, enhanced EOB capabilities has never been more critical.

“We have a ‘here-and-now’ problem we need to fix,” explains Stephen Lewis, Deputy Chief of the Agency’s Joint ISR team. “We need to be able to collect information from the Nations on the emitters they are aware of, form them into a coherent database that is accessible and useable, and then be able to use that to create a relevant, up-to-date and dynamic electronic order of battle for any operation and exercise NATO undertakes.”

A project to develop and install a state-of-the-art electronic warfare database is, thus, being supervised

The second increment concerns a far wider range of functionality within NATO’s broader command,



by the NCI Agency and is close to going live. With full operational capability due in late summer 2020, the NATO Emitter Database – Next Generation (NEDB-NG) will provide NATO and Member States with the world’s most advanced electronic warfare data storage and near real-time data-sharing capabilities. This new database represents the first increment of the overall project. As such, it will replace the existing NATO emitter database as the data provider for the command and control of electronic warfare.

control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) toolkit. How can the subsequent command and control of electronic warfare capabilities best be designed to share critical information as comprehensively and rapidly as possible in any EOB scenario? Moreover, how should this be realized in accordance with, and in


NATO forces regularly test electronic warfare capabilities against both simulated and real threat systems such as the S-300 surface-to-air missile system (left) (PHOTOS: NCI AGENCY)

obvious. “With so many sources, so many feeds, so many domains coming in, you have to be very careful about what you publish as a recognised intelligence picture or EOB, given that it will be driving operational decisionmaking,” explains Houlker.

support of, the NATO Intelligence Enterprise’s stated goals of a more fully coherent and synchronized intelligence superstructure?

ACCUMULATED DATA There is a vast wealth of intelligence information available within NATO, including the intelligence provided by the Nations. “I can trace back

more than 30 years of intelligence systems that contribute to where we currently are with our intelligence functional services,” says Senior Scientist Lee Houlker. Likewise, the data accumulated by generations of NATO missions and operations provides “an incredible store of experience and understanding,” he adds. However, the challenges are

With the growth of Big Data, including the expected Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT), NATO will be increasingly reliant on leveraging the wealth of knowledge provided by industry in terms of acquiring and implementing intelligence capability in an ever more data-centric electronic warfare environment. “We have to build a data-centric platform that cuts across all of these different networks and feeds the Nations and missions, to produce a single data platform that can sensibly inform this NATO Intelligence Enterprise,” concludes Houlker.




After years of promoting diversity and inclusion, a new action plan for 2020-22 will mark a turning point in how the NCI Agency integrates NATO’s policy on Women, Peace and Security. Jenny Beechener asks the Agency’s Christophe Picot and Diana De Vivo to explain

Fostering greater diversity within the NCI Agency presents multiple challenges. After all, introducing cultural change in any organization is hard enough in itself. It is compounded by the fact that NATO’s key stakeholders in the tech industry and in the defence sector are also characterized by a high proportion of men and a lack of diversity in the wider sense. The NCI Agency’s response is a series of initiatives that are gradually taking effect across many of its activities.

CLOSING THE GENDER GAP “The incorporation of a gender perspective in the technology environment is inherently low,” says Christophe Picot, NCI Agency Organizational Transformation Change Manager. The industrywide figure of 17% women in tech roles is reflected in the Agency’s current ratio (as of March 2020) of 17.1% of women among its civilian staff – a figure the Agency is working hard



to change. “We are reforming the culture of the organization through Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives. It is a transformation from the very foundations. We are shaking the tree.” The official endorsement of the NCI Agency Action Plan on Enhancing Diversity, Inclusion and Women, Peace and Security Agenda for 2020-22 consolidates several years’ work and accelerates activity inspired by NATO’s 2018 Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). A revised recruitment strategy is improving the staff diversity ratio, supported by inter alia gender-balanced selection panels, gender-neutral language for job descriptions, and outreach programmes, including engaging with schools to talk to girls about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Agency offices in The Hague, Netherlands; Mons, Belgium; and Oeiras, Portugal, are now equipped with facilities for nursing mothers returning to work, and all new employees spend three days at an Agency induction bootcamp, which incorporates numerous D&I elements. “More than 500

staff have attended these events and we have witnessed an enormous culture change,” says Picot. “The bootcamps encourage cooperation and help to build bridges across the Agency.” Improvement focus groups within the organization also contribute to organizational transformation and enhanced staff engagement. They address areas such as communication, transparency, processes and career development. “Diversity and inclusion have to be



Proportion of women within the NCI Agency Total civilian staff 1,653


Total contractors 566

Total other staff




in our corporate ‘DNA’, hence, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we promote these values across the Agency,” adds Picot. In addition to the action plan, the NCI Agency is introducing indicators to track progress. Annual D&I reporting to NATO focuses on the recruitment of women; recruitment of young talent through internship programmes; nationalities; and staff perception surveys. The Agency also plans additional training schemes aimed at reducing bias within the organization and equipping staff for change.



Total military staff

At NATO, Diversity and Inclusion and Women, Peace and Security are are considered as two separate policy areas, while the NCI Agency integrates both to recognise synergies and efficiencies. D&I has an institutional focus within NATO, while WPS is operational and pertains to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions. NCI Agency Diversity Champions Diana De Vivo and Michaela Simakova are a driving force behind these developments: “To realize the benefits of both, the Agency is embedding gender into its wider diversity and inclusion efforts.”


Among its latest initiatives, the NCI Agency is rolling out virtual field offices within NATO Nations – located locally and managed from Brussels. The virtual offices are assigned specific work packages by the Agency in order to tap into a wider diversity of talent. “The virtual offices aim to attract young graduates to work on particular Agency projects and reach a wider audience that we cannot attract in other ways,” says De Vivo. The activity helps promote Agency work and develop links with technical centres at universities where, previously, the NCI Agency had few connections. “Ultimately, it helps the Alliance develop technology echelons around the globe and fosters technical innovation and creativity.”

FLAGSHIP EVENTS Additionally, NCI Agency General Manager Kevin J Scheid initiated and sponsored a series of flagship events in 2019, aimed at broadening the dialogue with external stakeholders. These encourage sharing lessons learned and best practices in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, in cooperation with other international organizations and the private sector. Among these, a forum dedicated to the gender dimension


in Artificial Intelligence was convened during NIAS’19 and chaired by the NATO Secretary General’s WPS Special Representative, Clare Hutchinson. This was followed in October 2019 by an NCI Agency high-level breakfast discussion with the European Commission, Uber and Microsoft on the impact of emerging technologies on gender and diversity. Discussions now run on a quarterly basis, with the first held in February 2020 when the Agency hosted a talk about Amazon’s leadership principles from the D&I perspective. The NCI Agency recognises that workplace diversity is essential for its continued success, if it is to meet future technology challenges and ensure security in cyberspace. To achieve this, it needs to access a wide and diverse pool of talent. The challenge is not just about diversity in terms of gender, nationality and age, but also inclusion. In the words of a new, young female recruit, Michaela Simakova: “This is not just about human rights; it is also important because we need to be resilient, innovate and to out-perform, and we can only do that by bringing in a diversity of thought. Innovating can only be accomplished when different mindsets are encouraged, sought after and appreciated.”


STEM AMBASSADORS The worldwide technology recruitment crisis deepens as fewer young people are attracted to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The NCI Agency’s Michael Linennen talks to Luca Campanile and Tamsin Moye to highlight how the Agency is helping to reverse the decline

Between working at a satellite station and doing communications work for the NCI Agency, Luca Campanile still finds time to volunteer at a local school to inspire the next generation of engineers. Campanile is a Senior Technician and Public Affairs Officer based in the Satellite Communications Ground Station F14 in Lughezzano, northern Italy. During his time off, he mentors the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) school club, MyCollego, to help develop interest in these subjects amongst the pupils that attend the club from three secondary schools in nearby Lessinia. It all started as an outreach initiative for the local residents to learn more about the Alliance’s presence in



their community. When Campanile was working on the unit’s communication strategy, his team began collaborating with school teachers to organize STEM programmes for the students. “I strongly believe that if you want to learn a lot, you also have to have fun,” Campanile says. “It’s not enough that you just listen to a lecture, but you have to use your hands and be involved directly.” When Campanile was a child, he was not interested in the STEM subjects taught by his teachers. “Sometimes it’s just the way you present some technology that makes the difference,” he points out. “I’m trying to keep it simple.” Until recently, Campanile and Agency scientists looked forward to meeting with their students every Tuesday, but, since February, the region has become one of Europe’s worst-hit areas by the COVID-19 pandemic, making these trips impossible. In spite of the situation, Campanile and Agency scientists have been determined to continue with their volunteering work, and are now providing mentorship online through various communication tools.



The MyCollego team, which competes in science events for youngsters, is made up of 23 students from 12 to 16 years old, working on various science projects and experiments. Every student in the team has different roles to manage, from creating videos on the solar system to designing robotics software. Campanile’s goal is to make the programme as diverse and interactive as possible to keep the students curious. Just last year, the team was involved in the First Lego League (FLL) challenge, where the students developed a scientific project and built a

prototype that won the national Global Innovation Award – ‘Oltre la Robotica’ – and the ‘Innovative Solution Award’ at the FLL Open International Lebanon event.

PUBLIC SPEAKING The students also produced a video to present their scientific projects to the International STEM Awards. They divided the different roles between them, directing, producing and editing the video together. “They are coding and building the Lego robots,” says Campanile. “But they have to be able to deliver a public speech in front of the technical board as well.” Other than learning the technical skills involved in STEM, students were able to improve their teamwork, communication, leadership and public speaking.

“I strongly believe that if you want to learn a lot, you also have to have fun” Security Centre, also volunteers with some of her colleagues and has a different approach to getting the students interested in science.

SCIENCE AT HOME Campanile and Agency scientists in Italy are not the only Agency experts to use their spare time for volunteering. In the Netherlands, Tamsin Moye, a Senior Scientist at the NCI Agency’s NATO Cyber

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Moye and her colleagues, Simon Else and Emre Erdogan, would head to the British School to run the STEM club for students aged from six to 10. The purpose of the group


(left) With the help of the NCI Agency team, MyCollego gives young students a chance to compete in science contests (right and below) The NCI Agency is active at Greenlight for Girls events, to encourage interest in science among girls (PHOTOS: NCI AGENCY)

is to apply the pupils’ budding scientific knowledge to accessible materials they might find at home. The students have explored launching water bottle rockets and building bridges with marshmallows. “We’re using fundamental things they see around them all the time. They could go home and get kebab sticks, gummy bears and sticky tape to make their own wave machine,” Moye explains.

“It really brings home to them that science is all around them.” Moye tries to look beyond the school curriculum, where they can do fun experiments to get the students excited about science. “We look at stuff they’ll be doing in a few years’ time and things they’ve not really learned, and we do that with them. They’re like ‘whoa, why does that happen?’ It’s super cool for them.”

One of the most memorable experiments for Moye and her colleagues was pressurizing water bottle rockets and launching them in a field. “They went really high and we had a bit of a wind, so we were angling them to compensate for the wind,” she recalls. “It was very interesting to see how they flew, because they put fins on the rockets and you saw how the different conditions affected them. Everybody was fascinated.”



Most of us have experienced those uncomfortable moments when a compliment lands awkwardly or a remark comes out the wrong way. But in a world of rapidly changing social attitudes, just what constitutes unacceptable workplace behaviour is increasingly hard to judge. Is your colleague making remarks that have made you feel uneasy, is your manager making a reasonable request or abusing their authority? Do you feel victimized or favoured? Is it time to raise your concerns with a supervisor and are you afraid of how you may be perceived? “Issues have a tendency to grow out of proportion if not addressed early on, so it was clear to us that we needed a mechanism to address the complexities of social interactions in the workplace,” says Maria-Rosa Moroso, Knowledge Manager at the NCI Agency.

Sarah Brown and Maria-Rosa Moroso, representatives of the Civilian Staff Association, tell Ann Rogers why they promoted the establishment of the Persons of Confidence programme to help the Agency defuse behaviours that can be harmful if they are not addressed at an early stage


In 2018, Moroso and Sarah Brown, a Senior Scientist at the Agency’s NATO Cyber Security Centre in the Hague, Netherlands, participated in the Persons of Confidence (PoC) training at NATO headquarters. They were so inspired by the programme, they recommended that an NCI Agency chapter should to be set up when they returned to work, as they believed that it would have a positive impact in their own workplaces. Management took up their recommendation and, since then, dozens of Agency staff have been trained to become PoCs.

FIRST PORT OF CALL Under the PoC programme, staff spend a week training with a professional mediator and

for cultural and behavioural misunderstandings and personality clashes. Additionally, NATO is still a male-dominated workplace, and in the NCI Agency, women make up only 9% of middle management – a figure that reflects the shortage of women in leadership roles across the tech industry. “Add cultural differences to gender bias, and misunderstandings are more common than true misconduct,” explains Moroso. “There is a lot to understand culturally, even in terms of what is considered ‘humorous’. It all plays into a need for a programme like this,” adds Brown.

fester, it can become the ‘person’ who said it, rather than the ‘what’ that was said. And the person who said it becomes the target of the staff member’s frustration.” The training itself includes a lot of role-playing that both Brown and Moroso found enlightening. For example, it gave trainees an idea of the feelings that might arise when a senior staff member tells a joke to a more junior staff member.


“The purpose of the PoC programme is to resolve issues before they turn into bigger ones,” Brown explains. “Things like performance reviews or contract renewal gripes are clearly for Human Resources (HR) to manage, but if you suspect bias or a disconnect in the way you’re being treated – say, you’re a junior engineer who is always expected to take meeting minutes – that type of issue is fair game for the PoC,” says Brown.

“It was really helpful to understand that it is not always a matter of right or wrong. It’s about being aware that some things can make people uncomfortable,” reveals Brown. “Not everyone is equally culturally or emotionally intelligent. Understanding how our words or actions are perceived is not a given. That is where the Persons of Confidence can help,” says Moroso.

EXPERIENCE AND ADVICE psychologist to learn the skills needed to assess and, ideally, de-escalate problematic situations. PoCs provide an independent and unbiased first port of call when issues around possible unfair treatment arise. The aim is to provide a mechanism for staff members dealing with a misunderstanding, without the staff member having to make a formal complaint via HR. “When things escalate to the point when formal action is taken, there are no winners and everyone involved is hurt,” says Moroso. “Everyone’s time and emotional energy is expended when something escalates,” Brown emphasises. With a staff of 3,000 personnel spread across nearly 40 sites and made up of civilians and militaries from 27 of the 29 NATO Nations, there is plenty of opportunity

The programme aims to resolve ‘lower-level’ issues that can easily escalate and create a negative work environment. Staff members can approach PoCs to share their concerns with them, or to request advice. PoCs are trained to handle these discussions and work with staff members on the possible next steps to take. They are also trained to recognise issues that are more serious – such as bullying, harassment or other forms of inappropriate or dangerous behaviours – and report them to the relevant NATO bodies or authorities, ensuring a safe and sound environment for all. Brown stresses that it is important for people to have a place to take their concerns. “At the beginning you may be upset at what has just happened – say, a joke or an offhand comment – but if it’s left to

While the process is off the record and informal, interactions are captured in general terms, as are the major outcomes. The group of trained PoCs gets together every quarter to share experiences and advice for dealing with different situations, as well as the evolution of the programme. But, for the most part, the process is unstructured. For example, in small departments, a PoC may or may not decide to call in a trainee from a different area. It depends on the situation. Management has been very supportive in creating the time and space in which the PoCs can operate, and Brown confirms that she has found her responsibilities manageable. “Now, rather than gossiping about something, or feeling angry or making a formal complaint, you can knock on the door of a PoC and we can discuss what has happened and what steps can be taken,” concludes Brown.



This young Bulgarian didn’t secure an internship at the NCI Agency the usual way. She landed her new role after placing first in a cryptography challenge. She tells fellow intern Zala Grudnik about starting at the Agency in the middle of a pandemic







What do you do as cyber security intern at the NCI Agency?


I am an intern at the NCI Agency’s NATO Cyber Security Centre in The Hague. I joined the Cyber Capability Development branch, which develops new products and strategies to secure NATO information. Currently, I am working on a long-term innovation project, which we hope is going to transform the way that data is processed, managed and accessed. Once developed, it will improve secured data sharing across the Alliance.


Why is your work important?


Cyber security is not a destination, it is a constant journey. If we want NATO to become a fully digital enterprise, we need to embrace new technology, keep our expertise up to date and ensure that our business culture changes with the times. As technology and cyber security evolve we, as NATO, should continue to adapt and innovate.

Q. A.

How do you like the internship?

I started my internship in March 2020 and it has already surpassed all of my expectations. I imagined the Agency to be a strict work environment with mostly male and military staff, twice my age. I found the reality to be quite the opposite. I was very surprised by the pleasant, diverse work environment, where everyone is very nice and helpful, regardless of their age, gender or previous experiences. My colleagues have taught me more in a few weeks than any other course I’ve taken so far.

What did you study before becoming an intern?


After high school, I moved from Bulgaria to the Netherlands to study at Leiden University, where I completed a Crisis and Security Management Master’s degree earlier this year. I am still enrolled in a Cyber Security Master’s degree at the New Bulgarian University, which I am lucky to be able to study for from a distance.



In August 2019, Tsvetelina Shabanska attended the fifth annual International Cyber Security Summer School in The Hague, Netherlands. This six-day event, aimed at sharing knowledge and providing access to talent, was organized by a collaboration between the NCI Agency and six other regional and international organizations, including Leiden University and Europol. During her stay, Tsvetelina was offered an exciting opportunity to work as a cyber security intern at the NCI Agency’s Cyber Security Centre in the same city after winning a cryptography challenge. Her internship started in March 2020, just a few days before NATO applied strict lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your work?

I can do most of my work remotely on my Agency laptop. Our managers made sure everybody had the proper equipment when we were told to work from home. It was very well organized. My roommates and I all work from home now. We need to make sure we don’t overload our network too much, so we schedule our conference calls at different times.


What are the biggest cyber security threats during a pandemic?


One of the biggest threats facing everyone is misinformation. We are witnessing a flood of rumours that cause people to panic. At NATO, with most of the staff working remotely, our concern is to make sure that our networks are properly secured. While protecting cyberspace, however, we still need to make sure that we keep business continuity. The future is quite uncertain at the moment, but maybe this is also a good reality check to see how resilient we are.


What are your career aspirations?


I don’t have any long-term plans. I just want to focus on current projects. I enjoy working at the Agency. It is both a challenging and very collaborative environment. I think that is what a young person needs in order to feel confident in their career choices.

While the International Cyber Security Summer School will not be holding a week-long programme this year in light of the pandemic, a virtual cyber security challenge will still take place at the end of August. Details will be announced on the NCI Agency’s website shortly.





5 WAYS TO LOSE YOUR BEST TECH EMPLOYEES As the digital economy grows, the challenge for defence companies in finding STEMeducated staff is also increasing. Traditional working environments are putting off many prospective employees and pushing some tech personnel out, as Chris Aaron uncovers

In order to elicit a range of personal anecdotal reasons why people in tech positions decide to leave or stay in their job, a short survey was placed on the webtool Survey Monkey in February 2020, entitled ‘Why IT Staff Leave’, to act as a basis for this article. The survey asked respondents their three main motives for leaving their last IT job, and the reasons they had at the time for staying in their current job.

While the survey didn’t canvass enough people to provide an authoritative view of why tech – and, in particular, IT – staff seek new pastures, it was notable how the same issues were raised by many respondents. A lack of faith in senior management, regarding both the conduct of IT projects and the handling of IT staff, was mentioned repeatedly, as was a lack of respect and trust from management. By

contrast, an appreciation of colleagues and teams, salary, benefits and physical work environment were expressed by many as reasons for staying. In many ways, these results should be encouraging for senior management, as they suggest that improvements in staff retention could be achieved through changes to management


As the net cast across the internet by SurveyMonkey in this case did not attract a large-enough number of responses to lend it any substantial authority, a number of other sources were examined to see how accurate or widespread the SurveyMonkey’s responses were. In January 2019, Austin Nichols, a US technology recruiting firm, listed bad bosses, boring work, long commutes, lack of advancement opportunities, lack of recognition, low pay and poor work-life balance as the main reasons why engineers sought new jobs.

CONTRASTING MOTIVES A January 2020 survey by, mainly of younger, non-IT workers, found that (ranked from highest to lowest) a lack of career progression, low pay, poor benefits, weak cooperation with team members, poor leadership, and non-flexible schedules were important motives for quitting. This provides an interesting contrast to the motives for leaving of IT staff, who generally are not worried by low pay, poor benefits or teamwork issues, but who do have similar



styles that are under their control. On the other hand, getting individual managers to adopt an unfamiliar, organization-wide style that addresses hard-tomeasure emotional and valuesbased issues is quite a task.



1. More money elsewhere

1. Good leaders and colleagues

2. Starting own company 3. Relocating to a new home 4. Missing former colleagues 5. Approaching end of contract

2. Job satisfaction 3. Prestige of organization 4. Pride in work 5. Good money

1. Poor management

1. Fear of change

2. Limited career path

2. Complacency

3. Lack of respect/trust

3. Too early to quit (biding their time)

4. Not enough money

4. Office is easy to get to

5. Work/life balance

5. Next job might be worse

problems with career progression, leadership, and flexibility. The coronavirus outbreak has had a massive impact on working practices across the economies of most nations that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The huge potential for homeworking – that has, until now, not been exploited to its fullest, mainly due to reasons of trust – has come to the rescue of many organizations and forced them to scramble for the necessary hardware and software tools to take advantage of this growing phenomenon. For many, it will have been the difference between business success or failure during the period of lockdown.

The information sector is, naturally, one of the easiest sectors to migrate to remote-working models, and now that so many people have been able to adopt it and experience the benefits it offers, it will be interesting to see to what extent they will accept being tied to their desks in the future. One thing is for sure, the COVID-19 outbreak will mean that human resources departments across the world will need to factor in remote working as part of their offering, whether they like it or not. If they don’t provide remote working, the issue may well become one of the top five reasons why organizations lose their best employees.



“Not allowed to play tag at work...”

“Run out of excuses for calling in sick...”

“There’s too much work...”

“Office Feng Shui all wrong...”

“Casual Friday not casual enough...”

e e v t a a S d e th


13-14 October 2020 N C I A C A D E M Y OEIRAS | PORTUGAL LO C AT I O N : T B C D U E T O T H E C U R R E N T C O V I D - 1 9 S I T UAT I O N

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