NITECH: NATO Innovation and Technology – Issue 4, December 2020

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NATO Innovation and Technology

NATO Innovation and Technology A New Security Environment

Preparing for a New Space Age

Supporting NATO and the Nations

Securing a new domain



Creating a Better Workplace

































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NITECH NATO Innovation and Technology


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, Andrea Grammling, J-P Stanway, Herita MacDonald, Ross Ellis Contributing Photographers Marcos Fernandez Marin, Conrad Dijkstra, Michael Linennen Cover Luca Campanile, Marcos Fernandez Marin

Printed by Pensord Press Limited Images: unless otherwise stated, all images have been sourced from Getty Images

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Chantry House, Suite 10a High Street, Billericay, Essex CM12 9BQ United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 1277 655100

NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency Oude Waalsdorperweg 61, 2597 AK The Hague, Netherlands

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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P. 68

Forewords and introduction

A New Security Environment

12 Kevin J. Scheid

24 Space: NATO’s newest operating domain

NCI Agency General Manager


General André Lanata Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

20 This needs to be a conversation, not a sermon Adelina Campos de Carvalho and Simon Michell, Editors, NITECH – NATO Innovation and Technology

30 Countering disinformation during a pandemic 34 The logistics of crisis support 40 Unmanned vehicles – the future of Allied defence 46 View from the Nations: Latvia and Norway

Preparing for a New Space Age 52 Partnering with industry: SpaceX 56 Cyber security for space systems 62 Are we in a space race? 68 Inspiring the next generation of rocket scientists and explorers


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72 Meet... Flavio Giudice – NCI Agency space scientist


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Supporting NATO and the Nations 76

Speeding up NATO’s digital transformation

80 NATO Software Factory 84 Reaching out to NATO’s ecosystem 90 How to conduct a socially distanced exercise 93 Using Augmented Reality in the field

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Creating a Better Workplace 96 Making the workplace inclusive and accessible 99 Eliminating ethnic discrimination in STEM 102 Fostering innovation – the diversity imperative 105 Building a community across borders 108 5 things you need to work from home

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NCI Agency General Manager

Kevin J. Scheid About 40 minutes outside of Brussels, Belgium, four large white domes house a key piece of NATO’s space capability. The domes, which protect several antennas, reside at the newly-installed satellite ground station in Kester, Belgium. Completed and transferred into NATO hands last year, it is part of a larger project focused on almost doubling the capacity of NATO’s current satellite communications ground segment. Kester and the other stations make it possible for NATO Headquarters, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, to communicate with NATO forces on operations and missions. Experts from the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) operate the Alliance’s ground stations, including the one in Kester – just one of many space-related services that we deliver to NATO and the Nations. All NATO missions depend on space. Securing this new domain is essential to NATO’s defence and deterrence. We use space-based assets to communicate, to inform and to maintain NATO’s advantage. And the Agency plays a key role in ensuring that NATO can harness the power and potential of space.

The NCI Agency, and its predecessor organizations, have been delivering essential space-based products and services to NATO since the 1970s, when NATO bought and owned satellites. Over time, NATO’s approach to space shifted from owning assets as an organization to contracting services from the Nations, and from industry. Through it all, the NCI Agency has been there, helping NATO identify its needs and meet them. Without a doubt, the space landscape has changed significantly in recent years. There is an exponential amount of growth in activity in this domain. Space capabilities are becoming more advanced, innovative, affordable and accessible. And our approach to serving NATO is changing as a result.

UNIFIED NATO SPACE TEAMS In total, we have more than 160 people supporting space operations for the Alliance, including ground stations personnel. Three teams in the Agency focus on space-related work. They collaborate as much as possible, but we want to reimagine how they work. We want to address space as a specific challenge by merging these experts into one team. We are working with the Agency Supervisory Board to determine the best way forward to support this new domain.



We have great relationships with industry, academia and national agencies in this arena, but we want to deepen those partnerships. The commercial space sector, for example, is expected to be valued at 450 billion EUR by 2028, according to the 2019 Space Economy report. We must make sure that NATO capitalizes on this opportunity. Space entrepreneurs are increasing accessibility to space by providing new and innovative sensors and services, and we must ensure NATO maintains its edge in this domain. Not only is the commercial space market exploding, but the number of nations active in space continues to expand. National space-based systems are critical infrastructure systems, relied on by the Nations for both military and

commercial purposes. NATO also relies on these systems from Member Nations for key data and services to support NATO missions and operations across the air, land, cyber and sea domains. If anything, COVID-19 has only further highlighted the criticality of communications systems. In particular, when travel is restricted or unsafe, satellite communications must be there to ensure that the Alliance stays connected to carry out consultation and collective defence. The importance of space systems – and the technical information they carry – to NATO operations make them attractive targets to adversaries. Space systems have previously been viewed as safe from cyber threats for many reasons, but NATO never waits for the worst-case scenario to occur to make security a priority. Security has long been a priority of NATO, and the NCI Agency’s NATO Cyber Security Centre leads those efforts, while providing a technical hub for cyber security coordination. At two recent space-related events, our experts noted that some nations are interested in compromising space assets. We must remain vigilant and advance our efforts in securing space systems. NATO is in an ideal position to encourage the maturation of space policy, and the adoption of best practices and standards across the Alliance. We are prepared to assist NATO in these efforts. That is why I am thrilled to present to you this edition of NITECH magazine, which is focused on developing space in a secure environment. This topic is, without doubt, pertinent, and you will hear from prominent voices across the NATO community on the subject. Don’t miss the article by General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and the interview with Ambassador Baiba Braže, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. General Lanata discusses how the evolving security environment is impacting Alliance preparations to address future security challenges. Ambassador Braže explains how her department helped to identify and counter a spate of disinformation campaigns that were launched during the coronavirus pandemic.


Maintaining the security of space systems is vital to ensuring connectivity across the NATO Alliance (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

There are many more articles and interviews I would like to mention here, but I’ll let the magazine speak for itself. Thank you for your commitment to NATO, and NATO’s security in space. This is a key part of NATO’s digital endeavour – and we will need your participation to maintain NATO’s edge.

Š2020 Northrop Grumman

Uncovering clues from above the clouds is impossible. Until it’s not. /GlobalHawk


General (French Air Force)

André Lanata Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

The Imperative of Agility In a security environment more dynamic, ambiguous and uncertain than ever, the Alliance needs to rely on capabilities delivered and adapted at the speed of mission relevance in order to retain its military edge. As the rate of commercial-led technological innovation continues to accelerate, this means faster and faster. Traditional defence acquisition struggles to keep pace because its waterfall-based model relies on multiple successive decision gates. In Allied Command Transformation (ACT), we are convinced that agility is the answer. The agile approach was initially a set of software development principles that emerged in the 1990s and formalized in 2001 with the Agile Manifesto. A decade later, the software world went one step beyond with DevOps, a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and information-technology operations (Ops). DevOps later evolved with the integration of security (Sec) practices within the DevOps process, bringing DevOps to DevSecOps.


DevSecOps is now the reference for software development in the commercial sector, and is increasingly being adopted in the defence area, including for embedded software – both by industry and governments, notably the United States Department of Defense and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence. In this approach, requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and end-users, in order to quickly deliver to the user a first ‘minimum viable product’ and further improve it iteratively, based on user feedback. It offers faster delivery of value, improves quality and user satisfaction, reduces risk and cost, adapts to new missions and operational contexts and continuously integrates innovation.

Adopting this agile approach in defence procurement systems that were intrinsically designed on the historical waterfall model requires a profound transformation of acquisition practices. First, it means a fundamental change of the development processes from long cycles to quick iterations. It also requires reinvented governance and funding approaches, characterized by fewer management and oversight layers as leaders learn to trust and empower the teams. Likewise, it calls for a paradigm shift regarding the way success is measured, from conformance to user satisfaction. Furthermore, it necessitates adapted contracting rules and procedures opening the way to a more collaborative and flexible approach between industry and governments, rather than imposing immovable upfront requirements. Most of all, it involves a cultural shift to embrace the agile mindset across the enterprise – and not just apply it to the development teams. Although initially designed to develop software, the agile approach is increasingly being applied beyond the software realm, to the development of complex cyber-physical systems such as cars (eg Tesla, Volvo and Volkswagen), space launchers (eg SpaceX, Northrop Grumman) or fighter aircraft (eg Saab, Boeing and Lockheed Martin). The SpaceX case study illustrates how adopting the agile approach can dramatically change the game. The defence acquisition community is also taking the measure of this paradigm shift, as illustrated notably by recent defence acquisition reforms in the US (introducing a ‘mid-tier acquisition’ pathway for rapid prototyping and rapid fielding) and in France (with a strong focus on continuous integration of innovation through spiral development and collaboration between industry and government) that represent a clear embodiment of this trend. Other illustrations




include the British Army ‘Prototype Warfare’ concept (a pathway to deliberately enable research, innovation, experimentation, demonstration then delivery – rapidly), or tangible initiatives to procure weapon systems using an agile approach, such as the ‘Digital Century Series’ acquisition strategy considered by the US Air Force for its Next-Generation Air Dominance programme. In the NATO context, through the adoption of the Emerging and Disruptive Technologies Roadmap, Alliance leaders have acknowledged the need for NATO capability development processes to address the challenges posed by this new technological paradigm. NATO’s own capabilities, being essentially a connective tissue, are heavily reliant on information technologies, where the pace of evolution is the fastest. The imperative for agility is, therefore, particularly true for their development. ACT strives to ensure NATO has the right military instrument of power to guarantee a credible and adaptable posture today and tomorrow. As part as our transformation journey, we endeavour to spot and experiment with new approaches to capability development, fully leveraging the location of the

headquarters of Allied Command Transformation in the US. Following my visit to the US Air Force Kessel Run Experimental Lab in May 2019, we initiated an effort, in partnership with Kessel Run and with the support of the NCI Agency i, to experiment agile approaches through a new ‘lab’ capability in our Innovation Hub that reached initial operational capability in January 2020. Our first results demonstrate not only that these practices can be adopted in NATO, but also how game-changing they can be ii. We now need to build upon these successful experimentations and adopt the agile approach at the NATO enterprise level. This is the intent of the proposals put forward with our sister command, Allied Command Operations (ACO). I am also proud of and grateful for the partnership we established this summer with the NCI Agency to work towards the adoption of DevSecOps in NATO at scale. This is how we can embrace the revolution of the new technological paradigm and retain our edge by providing the Supreme Allied Commander Europe with the capabilities he needs when he needs them. i notably the NATO Software Factory ii see for example


REFORM OF SOFTWARE ACQUISITION IN THE US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE The story of the US software acquisitions reform started when Eric Schmidt, in his capacity as a member of the US Department of Defense Innovation Board, realized that US Air Force operators were planning tanker sorties with... a big whiteboard.


Based on Eric Schmidt’s recommendation, the US Air Force assembled a software development team applying the best practices of agile software development, in close liaison with final users. In two months, they coded an application. One week after it was deployed, the 2 million USD it cost were already reimbursed by the savings generated by the application, allowing the delivery of the same level of services with two fewer tanker sorties per day. Since then,

every month the application has saved 13 million USD and 1,100 man-hours in air operations centres, and the small team of coders became the Kessel Run Experimental Lab, one of the many US Air Force software factories. During its first year, Kessel Run delivered 15 capabilities, within a concept-to-operation timeframe of about four to five months (and as short as 57 days), a lead time of one week (down from about five years with the traditional US Department of Defense approach to software), and a continuous authority to operate, allowing deployment to a classified network in less than an hour (down from about six months). The Innovation Board later proposed scaling up this approach

in its ‘Software Acquisition and Practices’ study, published in May 2019. In early 2020, based on this report, the Department of Defense established a specific software acquisition pathway, integrating modern agile software development practices such as DevSecOps, as part of its Adaptive Acquisition Framework. The Department of Defense has successfully implemented this approach under three different models: in internal software factories, such as Kessel Run; via contracting out to industry (with adapted, agile types of contracts – with the F-15EX programme for example); or through a mixed model (government as integrator and industry coding teams).




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Adelina: So, I’ve been thinking about how we want to engage with our readers and why it’s so important to go beyond the usual monologues about technology… Simon: I know what you mean, with COVID-19 affecting the way we work and the way we live, we need to start being more innovative in our approaches, to give enough space to different opinions, and also to facilitate an exchange, instead of just providing our common views as if it were some sort of gospel. For example, can we harness social media to extend the discussions and include more feedback from the readers? Should there be more articles from our readers? Adelina: Exactly, we need a conversation. That’s why we’re changing the editors’ foreword to better reflect the conversations we have as editors every week, and to show our readers what goes on behind the scenes. Simon: In London, for example, we are increasing our engagement with traditionally civil internet companies as their capabilities become more relevant to NATO. COVID-19 highlighted the way that commercial platforms made it possible for government organizations to keep their operations going, even though most of their staff were still at home. The same goes for space. Whereas space used to be the sole domain of big corporations and governments, we are talking to numerous small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups about their space portfolios and how they are managing to get a foothold in the sector. I think it is fair to say that there has been a tipping point over the past few years. Adelina: We have noticed a similar thing in the Hague and in Brussels. We are getting a lot of engagement from sectors that would not usually think of themselves as defence companies. But, for me, it is equally important to look at the human side. We need to engage more with people who have not played as large a part in our activities as they should have. I am thinking about the need for more women, more diverse backgrounds and cultures, a fairer balance across the demographics. Simon: Good point – the commercial sector is ahead of the public sector on that. They have recognised that organizations need to look and feel like the customer base in order to understand what is relevant and what people want.

Adelina: Correct, but this should not be about pie charts and box-ticking. It is no good having an uneven balance across organizations; it has to be equal from the top down.


Adelina Campos de Carvalho and Simon Michell, Editors, NITECH

Simon: So, does this issue of NITECH actually reflect some of these things, this shift in emphasis? Adelina: Well, yes and no. We certainly have included interesting debate on the core themes of diversity and fairness. The interview with Professor Anita Woolley, from Carnegie Mellon University, proves that diversity enhances innovation, and that a diverse group of average people are very likely to outdo a homogenous group of people from a single ethnicity, gender and age range. Alyssa Carson’s views show how a single-minded and enthusiastic approach helped her become one of the youngest astronauts-in-training in the world. I wish her all the best for her ambition to be one of the first people to walk on Mars. Simon: Me too. But her story shows how hard some people have to push to break through. Beyond the gender aspect, Kave Bulambo’s piece shows how some underrepresented groups have to try so much harder and be more creative to get noticed and taken seriously. Adelina: It shows that there is quite a lot of residual complacency, which is hard to shift. Simon: I know, and that is why we need to keep looking for examples of how things are changing. On the plus side though, this issue does highlight some exciting advances in the ‘art of the possible’. I am thinking about the way in which COVID-19 has accelerated the move to the cloud and the use of collaboration tools to connect people and organizations. The pandemic really has moved the dial on this. A sense of urgency has managed to make people a bit more willing to step into the unknown, albeit with a whole lot of safeguards and security tools and the ever-present cyber security campaigns. It seems to me that risk is being managed carefully, rather than being used as a means to block change.



Lynn Studd Director, Global Secure Solutions, BT’s Global division

Can you describe the evolution of the cyber security landscape? Many organisations across the globe have found that the Coronavirus has opened the door to new types of cyber security attacks. They needed to respond quickly to ensure business continuity, and this opened up new vulnerabilities – which is inevitable when we’ve seen organisations executing cloud migration projects in just three weeks, rather than a more typical 18 months. However, this environment has also created new possibilities and opportunities to make security an enabler to these fundamental changes to their operations. Cyber security is no longer seen as an optional extra or considered as a defined set of defensive items – such as anti-virus programs or firewalls – that protect a set system or data. Over the past decade, the traditional security perimeter has moved from static to completely elastic as systems and individuals became more connected, while cybercrime has become increasingly organised along industrial lines. We’ve then seen that the unique

situation in 2020 has massively accelerated and extended these trends.

blocker. And, by investing in the right areas, security doesn’t need to become a money pit.

What is the impact of the cloud?

Can you share any insights on cloud security from BT?

As the way we work adapts to the restrictions of the pandemic, there has been a big increase in remote working. Spending on remote access, and a shift from VPN-based options to direct connections to cloud-based applications, have successfully allowed many more people to work at home more effectively and efficiently than was previously anticipated. While we have seen these enforced changes also support organisations’ wider agendas (such as sustainability), it is important to adopt best practices to truly benefit.

Businesses operating successfully in the cloud have shifted their understanding of what ‘good’ looks like. The power of the cloud comes from building a system that is visible to everybody using it, where all the different functions are aligned so that, when one element changes, others flex to meet the new requirements – for organisations such as NATO, that are working across many difficult to reach locations, this is particularly important.

Organisations such as NATO, which needs to collaborate amongst Alliance countries, are often supporting a greater use of laptops and looking for effective ways to deal with new identity management challenges, such as remote resets. New technologies are generally being adopted much faster than usual, bringing new security challenges. Faced with new challenges to work virtually on a global basis, users want a better experience and they have a desire to work differently – a future is emerging where IT is more humancentric and accessible, and security needs to keep pace. Organisations such as NATO no doubt understand the real risk to sticking to the old ways of doing things that could result in an overspend on security. As organisations move forward in their digital transformation journey towards a cloud-based world, security can become an enabler, rather than a

In addition, in the cloud, technology choices can’t be taken in isolation; it is not just about solving one problem. The thought process needs to explore where this technology will fit into the whole – what it will connect to and how? This information will make installation easier and result in a capability that fits seamlessly into the organisation. With cloud security, knowledge is power. In fact, it’s a cold, hard truth that you won’t win a fight against those intending you harm without intelligence. Organisations can do this by using threat intelligence information that assesses their security architecture, looks at what might affect specific technologies, markets and geographies. Secure and reliable connectivity lies at the heart of NATO’s digital transformation. Operating within a dynamic environment, strong cloud security comes from knowledge in three key areas: a sound understanding of how the cloud works; the applications a business wants to use; and the business’s plans


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for moving forward. Organisations that have knowledge about all three can build-in effective security faster, more easily and at a lower cost.

And, looking to the future? The threat landscape is constantly evolving – the one certainty we have is that, in a few years’ time, the threats, the main actors and the platforms they use will all be different. In the future, cyber security strategies need to be responsive and flexible. That means accepting that there will never be an ‘end state’, and that you can’t always control things such as

25/11/2020 17:12

the devices that people use to access information. Identifying the most vulnerable areas and prioritising these is crucial. We can never eliminate risk, but we can plan for it and adopt the right approaches in advance. This is best achieved by prioritising different levels of security for specific parts of your data/ systems, based on each element’s respective risk to the business. As organisations like NATO move forward in the ‘new normal’, it has become apparent how the pandemic has changed the focus of the cloud strategies that ensure business

continuity. Investment decisions are frequently becoming security-led, rather than IT-led. Cost has been less of a factor in the short term, although, given the current economic climate, there will be renewed focus to make sure that any long-term investment is as cost-efficient as possible. In fact, as organisations realise the economic benefits of outsourcing to managed cloud providers, it is likely they will also consider outsourcing more of the day-to-day management of their wider security solutions to managed service providers.



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Camille Grand, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, and Patrick Turner, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, highlight the importance of space as an operational domain and the implications for investment, doctrine and planning


This success is built upon investment and innovation by Allies, and on NATO’s unique military and political framework for consultation, coordination, interoperability and, ultimately, united action. Within this context, space has become increasingly important to the Alliance’s and Allies’ security and prosperity.


For over 70 years, NATO has been at the forefront of technology, helping to preserve peace and stability, ensure credible deterrence and defence, and enable NATO’s operations and missions.

We are at a critical juncture. What we are experiencing today is the convergence of several trends that will change how we approach the space domain, at a rate of innovation that we have not seen in a long time. The power of nanotechnology, for example, is having a huge impact on space capabilities. It is becoming easier to put more payload into smaller satellites. Constellations of small satellites are allowing for both new and existing capabilities at much lower costs, while enhancing resilience, which has become a priority in the space domain. The exploration of space is also becoming global. More nations are now developing space assets than ever before. Some Allies are leading this technology innovation effort and a growing number of Allies allocate significant resources to developing and fielding space capabilities. The influx of entrepreneurial capital is driving innovation and new technologies in the private sector.



The evolution in the use of space and rapid advances in technology have indeed created new opportunities, but also new risks and challenges. Space is increasingly contested, congested and competitive, requiring the Alliance to adapt and to be able to operate in a disrupted and degraded environment. Space is a dynamic and rapidly evolving area, essential to the Alliance’s deterrence and defence. Space provides a number of critical military functions in peacetime, as well as in crisis and conflict. NATO is increasingly reliant on space to navigate and track forces, to detect

operations and missions in such areas as communications, navigation and intelligence. In October 2020, NATO Defence Ministers approved the establishment of a NATO Space Centre at Allied Air Command Ramstein, Germany. This Centre will serve as a focal point for sharing information and coordinating Allies’ efforts.

DEVELOPING SPACE IN A SECURE ENVIRONMENT First and foremost, NATO is a key forum for Allies to share information, coordinate activities on various

capabilities to provide space data, products and services. As the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, clarified in October: “Our aim is not to militarize space, but to increase NATO’s awareness of challenges in space, and our ability to deal with them.” We will certainly look at how we can make space more secure, and space capabilities more resilient and sustainable. We need to ensure long-term access to space data, products and services for the conduct of NATO missions and operations. It is also particularly important to raise our space situational awareness now, with so many new actors coming into the field, in order to better understand the operational environment. We also need to further explore the role of emerging technologies, including Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and robotics, as well as taking a closer look at capability development and interoperability. As an organization, NATO has the tools, the structures and the people in place to foster innovation. We have a very impressive group of people from around the Alliance and substantial expertise to support our efforts.

Information from satellites is becoming increasingly important, both in peacetime and during times of crisis (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)


missile launches and to ensure effective command and control. For example, satellite imagery can play a significant role in NATO’s decision-making process.

space-related issues and take forward potential avenues of cooperation with other international organizations and the commercial sector.

The Alliance is adapting – in 2019, Allies approved NATO’s Space Policy and recognized space as a new operational domain, alongside air, land, sea and cyberspace. The Space Policy will guide NATO’s approach to space and ensure the right support to the Alliance’s

Freedom of access to, and exploration and use of, space for peaceful purposes is in the common interest of all nations. NATO has no intention of becoming an autonomous actor in space and will continue to rely on national space

As NATO starts to implement the decisions it has taken related to space, we will foster scientific research and technological capacity resident across the Alliance and beyond. We count on the NATO Science and Technology Organization, drawing upon the expertise of over 6,000 scientists, engineers and analysts, and on the NATO Communication and Information Agency (NCI Agency) which already has significant expertise in delivering satellite communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.


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INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE helped us to quickly understand its COVID-19 challenges. Like many large multinational organizations, NATO has had to rapidly move huge numbers of personnel to distributed and remote workplaces. We have been able to help NATO quickly enable remote working using our Workspace ONE technology, and also by sharing our own experience of transitioning our 34,000 employees to working entirely from home in a matter of days.

Iain Mulholland Vice President and Chief of Staff to the CEO, VMware

How has VMware been able to help NATO during the COVID-19 crisis? The COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the most traumatic, stressful and challenging periods of the modern era. And, right now, ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and partners is VMware’s top priority. Understanding our customers’ needs is part of our DNA, and during times like these, we are constantly expanding the ways in which we are helping our ecosystem overcome the multitude of challenges thrown at it. At VMware we’ve been delivering business continuity solutions for many years and our technology is now at the heart of many innovations. It is satisfying to witness the foundational role these innovations are playing during these unprecedented times. For example, government agencies around the globe are using our digital workspace solutions to enable their mobile teams, ensuring consistent delivery of critical services such as health, public safety, water, electricity, refuse collection and more. NATO and VMware have a long-term strategic relationship and that has

Naturally, we continue to listen to NATO to understand and support its critical global mission through these difficult times. We are in this together.

Why are VMware’s virtualization capabilities important to NATO and the NCI Agency? In the early days of our partnership, we were mostly focused on virtualizing NATO’s datacenters to help derive better utilization of compute hardware, drive down costs and reduce NATO’s carbon footprint. But, as NATO needs have evolved, so have VMware’s capabilities. So now, VMware’s Digital Foundation is not only beneficial, but also essential, to many of the critical IT modernization and transformation projects that are helping the NCI Agency on its digital transformation journey. We enable NATO with the flexibility and agility to run workloads anywhere the Alliance feels it is necessary – in a NATO-staffed inhouse datacenter, in any public cloud, on any deployable unit in the field or onboard ship – all in a secure way. With this strong and evolving partnership, we are also able to foster deeper relationships with NATO’s key suppliers to deliver projects such as DCIS Cube 2.0, Dragonfly and Firefly, among others.

What VMware technology innovations are you most excited about? When I was a British Army officer, I actually used NATO systems such as the Deployable Communications and Information System (DCIS) on operations. So, for me, it is really exciting to see this evolve and assume greater utility. Things like the rapidly deployable containerized DCIS system – the K-Cube – are fantastic. I am also really excited about Project Firefly and DCIS Cube 2.0. They are far more advanced than the early DCIS systems I used over 20 years ago! Also, many enterprises are rapidly adopting modern application development practices based on Kubernetes (K8S) container management technology. VMware is heavily committed to Kubernetes and application modernization. Indeed, we are already seeing NATO adopt containerized workload technologies, such as VMware Tanzu, that allow applications to be rapidly developed and deployed across a multi-cloud environment. We are intent on being a strategic partner to NATO in this journey and look forward to further evolving and innovating in this space with NATO. Lastly, as a security professional and former CTO of Security at VMware, I am excited about our ongoing investments in the areas of security – the most recent being our acquisition of Carbon Black. At VMware, we do not bolt on security as an afterthought, but instead we bake it into the very core of our infrastructure right at the point of inception – a strategy referred to as ‘intrinsic security’. It is a fundamentally unique and creative strategy for optimizing control points in new ways in real time across any app, cloud or device, so the enterprise can shift from a reactive security posture to a position of strength.


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How are VMware’s cloud capabilities helping NATO’s digital transformation?

exercise environment – backwards and forwards – whilst it is in play.

We have considerable experience with helping many NATO Member States run their ‘unclassified’ and ‘protected’ workloads in public clouds. Moreover, our hybrid approach to the cloud can help NATO solve current capacity problems.

VMware’s vCloud Suite software is at the heart of the technology stack in the NCI Agency-led NATO IT Modernization (ITM) project. As NATO adopts our vCloud Foundation, this will allow the Alliance to fully harness the flexibility of hybrid cloud, especially on-premises, which is particularly important for NATO data at secret and above levels. It will also facilitate access to the public cloud for unrestricted and restricted workloads and deployed systems.

Hybrid cloud also offers great flexibility to scale up and down, according to operational requirements. This flexibility is a key feature of the technology partnership we have with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia. 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. Our hybrid cloud technology allows the CCDCOE to scale up at the beginning of an exercise and scale back down at the end, while also enabling easy resetting of the

How significant are softwaredefined networks to the NCI Agency’s ITM project? The NCI Agency’s IT Modernization project is very much in line with VMware’s vision on every level and will enable NATO to use our digital foundation wherever they need it to be – in its datacenters, in the public cloud or at the edge. This digital foundation will allow

the Agency to create standard, ubiquitous operating environments wherever they need them. A critical element of this is embracing the power of modern software-defined networking to make the physical network more transparent and able to deliver fast, simple and reliable transport, regardless of the underlying network. We want to help NATO operate a network that adapts to and is able to leverage multi-cloud environments with simplicity and consistency in a secure way. VMware and NATO have a long and successful strategic relationship and we look forward to continuing that strong partnership as NATO continues on its digital transformation journey.


g n i r e t n u Co ion

at demic disinfdourrinm g a pan Ambassador Baiba Braže, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, outlines to Samantha Ehlinger how her department helped to identify and counter a spate of disinformation campaigns launched during the coronavirus pandemic. One of Braže’s priorities during her term is accelerating the transformation of NATO’s strategic communications to compete in a highly competitive information environment

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Europe in March, forcing widespread lockdowns and work-fromhome policies, people turned to online sources for up-to-the minute information on the spread of the virus. Two months later, Ambassador Baiba Braže took up the post of NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. As the Head of NATO’s public diplomacy efforts, Ambassador Braže immediately had an urgent challenge on her hands: combatting disinformation in a rapidly evolving pandemic. “COVID-19 and the rapid pace of digitization across all walks of life poses a specific challenge to NATO’s strategic communications,” says Braže. “For the foreseeable future, most engagements with our civil society will be online.” Publishing fact-based, credible communications is the best way to counter disinformation, Braže explains. “This will help to build resilience within our societies against hostile information and disinformation designed to sow confusion and fear in our populations, and undermine our democratic values.” NATO uses a two-pronged approach to counter disinformation: ‘Understand’ and 30

‘Engage’. Naturally, the ‘Understand’ effort involves assessments of the information environment or, put simply, the effectiveness of both NATO’s and adversaries’ communications on NATO citizens. “We have taken steps to understand our audiences better, so that we are in a better position to communicate in a way that resonates with them, and on topics that they care most about,” says Braže. “And we know from this research that our publics believe that trust and transparency are important values for NATO to achieve.”

INCREASING TRUST NATO stepped up its digital communications during COVID-19 to illustrate how the Alliance was supporting national and international responses to the pandemic. NATO has also taken steps to strengthen its brand identity to be consistent and coherent, to increase public familiarity and trust in NATO. Audience research shows NATO citizens are very conscious of the threat posed by disinformation, an important prerequisite for building societal resilience. “But those that mean us harm continue to learn and

The research also revealed that NATO needs to focus its efforts on younger people and women “who are less likely to know about NATO and what we do. The COVID crisis has provided us with interesting insights, indicating that younger people are becoming more aware of our role and that they support multilateral cooperation as the best way to tackle the crisis”. In the ‘Engage’ part of the model that NATO uses to fight disinformation, the Public Diplomacy team focuses on taking action on those insights by tailoring its strategic communications to counter hostile information and disinformation more effectively. NATO is focusing on more “agile and focused engagement with its priority audiences” using the full range of digital channels, explains Braže. Respecting the need for physical distancing also resulted in an urgent requirement to replace the outreach achieved through in-person events. NATO adapted quickly, turning in-person public diplomacy events into online engagements to continue to shape the policy debate.

INTENSIFIED COOPERATION Meanwhile, it is evident that NATO is not the only communicator online – so the efforts must also focus on helping other influential communicators get the facts right. That includes Nations, international organizations such as the European Union, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, academics, fact-checking organizations and the private sector, says Braže. “I believe the COVID crisis has enabled us to intensify our cooperation both with Allies and with these other important international partner organizations.”



adapt, using different tactics and tools,” warns Braže. “Potential adversaries continue to demonstrate their capabilities and will to deploy the latest digital technologies in the information environment against NATO and Allies.”

DISINFORMATION our up NATO untries and will break s kept our co NATO COVID-19 challenges. ars, NATO ha w ye ne 70 to er g ov aptin sure that Fact: For ntinuously ad d we are working to en co by fe sa people crises, an to deal with r civilian was created does not s, some of ou but s isi cr h alt our societie , in 19 this he DAs VI s. isi CO cr r ive fo curity tested posit become a se r ability to rsonnel have ntinues. Ou pe co y k ain ar or w ilit y m and militar r forces rem rmined. Ou political and r t been unde NATO’s core ou no in s ng ha di ns , inclu eratio conduct op ities carry on e, our r crucial activ of the Allianc ready, and ou ttlegroups in the east anistan to gh Af m fro l ba e ions multinationa e deterrenc and our miss tiv ts ec en eff m d oy an pl ible ts maritime de deliver cred ational effor to rn te ue in in d nt an co nal Kosovo. We support each orting natio e, while supp NATO Allies continue to arity. and defenc ther in solid emic. ge nd to pa e nd th sta d an 19 Dto deal with VI onding to CO other in resp



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The Public Diplomacy Division in particular has a long history of working with academia, Braže notes. “We are benefiting greatly from the deeper research that many academic institutions have undertaken to analyse how malicious actors are using the information environment to sow discord within our societies.

There is also an important role for industry in the fight against disinformation. The Public Diplomacy Division contracts support from agencies and suppliers to help NATO deliver its strategic communications in the most effective manner possible.

“I can clearly see why this type of relationship is critically important, because the intellectual rigour applied by the academic community is providing us with invaluable insights, which help us to refine our own approach to tackling this challenge.”


BUILDING RESILIENCE In Ukraine, for example, NATO works with universities to help build such resilience in the country. Think tanks there also play a role, providing input and regular evaluation. One new NATO initiative offers grants to community-based and non-profit civil society organizations to create innovative projects to help build resilience in our societies.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with moderator Laura Shields, at the NATO 2030 Youth Summit, where he introduced the NATO 2030 Young Leaders (PHOTOS: NATO)


“This allows us to tap in to the most up-to-date technological advances that the private sector can provide,” says Braže. “It helps to keep our thinking sharp and the implementation of our communications effectively targeted. This is increasingly important in a highly contested information environment where state and non-state actors apply similar technologies against NATO and Allies.” NATO is also actively engaging industry across a wide range of areas to support its exciting innovation agenda. “Engaging the public and building resilience over the medium to long term is the most effective way to inoculate people against disinformation,” says Braže.

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NSPA provided strategic airlift to Allies during the peak of the pandemic (PHOTO: NSPA)

Why was NSPA able to offer support to NATO Member States when the pandemic struck?



The head of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), Peter Dohmen, tells Simon Michell how his organization stepped up to provide much needed support to the Alliance and its Member States during the COVID-19 pandemic

One of the key abilities of our Agency is its capacity to rapidly respond to crises and emergencies. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NSPA has provided transport capabilities and managed key relief acquisition to help Allies in transferring urgent medical supplies and equipment. We were also able to provide rapidly accessible infrastructure to augment national medical capabilities and we engaged in innovative 3-D printing projects in support of health workers in Italy. We were able to do so because we have solid support partnerships and platforms in place and a wide experience in logistics and procurement.


Most importantly, we have very proactive and professional teams that worked 24/7 during the peak moments of the pandemic to assist our Allies. At the beginning of the crisis we set up the COVID-19 Management Office (CMO) – made up of biomedical engineers, as well as medical and pharmaceutical specialists – to respond to the unprecedented and urgent demand for supplies, equipment and services. We also offered our services to provide support to military contingents in operational theatres and worked very closely with our colleagues from the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC) to respond to the crisis.

How did NSPA and the NCI Agency collaborate in this effort and why is this sort of collaboration important?


The NCI Agency has, of course, played its part during the pandemic, assisting the Alliance in its efforts. Maintaining constant critical operational services with the right technology has been a key enabler for NATO staff to continue working during the pandemic. From our side, we are grateful for the IT infrastructure support that NCI Agency provides to us in theatre. Thanks to the collaboration between our Agencies, we were able to keep our systems running and to continue our work, even in the most adverse




moments of the pandemic. Together, we (NCI Agency and NSPA) have demonstrated the key role that NATO Agencies play in sustaining the Alliance and its nations.


What role did NSPA play in the delivery of strategic airlift?

One of the main contributions during the pandemic was the provision of strategic airlift to Allies. This was achieved by using our platforms or through ad-hoc commercial solutions. One of the many support partnerships we manage is the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS), which provides the nine NATO participating nations with assured access to strategic transport aircraft for outsized cargo. During the pandemic, five Allies used their flying quota to airlift urgent medical protective equipment. In total, more than 965 tonnes of medical supplies were delivered over the course of 17 missions. In addition, we support the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) with the full life-cycle management (including acquisition and sustainment) of the three C-17 aircraft that comprise the fleet. The SAC flew six missions, helping four Allies with a total of 255 tonnes of medical supplies.


Moreover, NSPA has put in place commercial contracts, with excellent terms and conditions available for those NATO nations and partners who requested airlift services. This was particularly useful for those nations that are not part of either of the two strategic airlift partnerships, because they were able to benefit from full charter flights at 30% below standard market prices. We used these commercial solutions, especially in those cases where the acquisition of COVID supplies was carried out by NSPA on behalf of the nations. So far, 14 commercial shipments have carried more than 240 tonnes of medical supplies during the pandemic.

The erection of a field hospital in Luxembourg (above) provided vital extra capacity for patients (PHOTOS: NSPA)

In addition to the strategic airlift, NSPA has implemented rail and sealift transport options for NATO nations and partners. At the moment, more than 530 tonnes have been shipped or are currently in transit by sea.

How was NSPA able to assist with the emergency procurement of equipment required during the initial phases of the pandemic?


NSPA has more than 60 years’ experience in logistics and procurement – that is why Allies trusted our support with urgent acquisition during the pandemic. In order to cater for nations with similar requests for urgent medical supplies, we put in place a number of outline agreements that covered approximately 50 COVID-19 line items. Our COVID-19 Management Office, supported by logistics and procurement teams, organized and consolidated all these requests for supplies and equipment received by the nations, allowing us to bid for larger quantities and obtain better conditions for our nations through economies of scale. So far, we have received a total demand from the nations worth 161 million EUR, over 142 million EUR of which have already been delivered.



How could this acquisition process be improved for future crises?

It is all about responsiveness and ‘speed of relevance’. During the crisis, we soon learned that the lead time for a contract award is the key to success, especially in this overheated global market. However, we also experienced examples of our customers taking too much time to define their exact requirements and commit themselves financially to enable NSPA to place an order with a supplier.



NSPA support for health workers in Italy included 3-D printing projects to augment medical facilities (PHOTO: NSPA)

To overcome this challenge, we took a few measures. Firstly, we consolidated potential customer


requirements and proactively established a high number of outline agreements on the most urgent requirements. Secondly, we sped up our procurement process by shortening lead times and limiting competition for highly urgent requests. We were also able to increase our responsiveness by investing in stocks, as part of the NATO Pandemic Trust Fund, where NSPA acts as an executing agent. For the longer term, we are discussing the possibility of establishing a NATO Support and Procurement Organization (NSPO) Medical Support Partnership with the Alliance Member States to provide us with the resources and the instruments to be more responsive, particularly in the medical domain. This would not only be beneficial in a pandemic like the current COVID-19 crisis, but also for NATO’s engagements in humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) operations. When it comes to the stockpiling of medical supplies, we could also consider leaving NSPA-owned stock at the suppliers’ premises. This would avoid disposal issues when these supplies reach their expiry date. These kinds of initiatives could be executed and managed through a Medical Support Partnership.

What role did NSPA play in the crucial test and trace activity in some Member States?


Our main contribution to this key aspect of the engagement to tackle the pandemic was the delivery of two COVID-19 testing laboratories with laboratory technicians to two NATO-led missions: Resolute Support in Afghanistan and Kosovo Force in Kosovo. These laboratories have become a crucial asset


More than 965 tonnes of medical supplies were delivered over 17 airlift missions

Medical supplies 1 tonne

for all personnel serving in those missions, as they facilitate the rapid detection of infections, limiting the spread of the virus, and enabling the provision of the necessary medical care for those infected.

What role did NSPA play in the delivery of mobile hospital infrastructure?


At the beginning of the crisis, our Host Nation, Luxembourg, requested our support to augment its medical hospital capabilities. Following this request, we immediately began preparations. In an operation that normally takes five days, our team was able to mobilize the equipment in less than 24 hours, having received approval from SHAPE for the use of the assets. As a result, we equipped one of the main hospitals in the country, the Centre Hospitalier du Luxembourg (CHL), with a triage area and 100 additional beds. In addition, we will deliver eight deployable medical facilities to Italy between the end of 2020 and the middle of 2021.



INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE unmanned air vehicle (UAV) has over two decades of proven experience and more than 300,000 operating hours. The ISR system provides a peaceful, ever-watching eye and delivers time-critical data to commanders protecting ground troops and civilians. Our HALE system has also been at the forefront of humanitarian missions, disaster relief, counterterrorism and border monitoring.

Leslie Smith Vice President, Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman

How does Northrop Grumman work with the NCI Agency to enhance the Alliance’s communications networks? Northrop Grumman (NGC) has partnered with our NATO customers, NAGSMA, NSPA and our European industry partners to integrate the NATO AGS modern digital infrastructure whilst meeting the NCI Agency’s rigorous technology and cyber security requirements. NGC is the accrediting authority for everything from system laptops to secure WAN connections and works with the NCI Agency to assure our systems are safe and secure, meeting the highest standards of protection for NATO’s political leadership and their Command infrastructures.

What advances are you particularly proud of in terms of Northrop Grumman’s ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) technology and its ability to detect and deter? The overall mission is to detect and deter any aggression, while protecting and defending. Our large highaltitude, long-endurance (HALE)

HALE unmanned systems were originally developed for military surveillance, but it quickly became apparent that they could serve a much wider role, essentially low-cost, deployable satellite ISR. HALE UAS platforms have proven many times that they can make extraordinary contributions to humanitarian and disaster relief. HALE UAVs have been used to help manage wildfires in California and respond to earthquakes in Japan and Haiti. In one especially remarkable instance, a Global Hawk was sent over an overheating nuclear reactor in Japan to monitor the situation. All examples of activities we are very proud to support.

How important is autonomy to Northrop Grumman? Northrop Grumman is a leader in autonomous systems; we strive to help our customers meet a wide variety of missions. As significant contributors to ISR efforts for the United States military and our Allies around the globe, autonomous systems are critical today and will be indispensable tomorrow. The United States’ 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) signalled the US’s incremental shift from an emphasis on counterterrorism to focusing on responding to the growing threat of peer-to-peer conflict. We have found that as we use autonomy to lighten the workload

on the operators, they become more effective. Let the machine do what it is good at and let people monitor and make decisions more effectively. The solution to strengthening that knowledge edge is to embrace autonomy, not just in individual platforms or airframes, but also in systems-of-systems battle management. Autonomous systems should, and will, play an ever-more vital role in achieving security goals in the post digital-transformation world.

How do HALE systems help connect the joint force as one? High-altitude, long-endurance unmanned systems cover the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide military operations, including humanitarian efforts and disaster relief. The superior ISR capabilities of a large HALE UAV allow near-real time data collection, enabling first responders to act quickly in a time of need. A HALE UAV can be used as a communications node or a communications relay – moving data quickly to where the need is. As digital transformation is changing the global security environment, digital design and development is enabling individual systems to advance rapidly and at less cost. Because of this, maintaining a capability edge in highly contested battlespaces will depend on the ability to work as a joint force.

What role do HALE UAVs play in providing collective security in Europe and around the world? High-altitude, long-endurance autonomous systems, such as Global Hawk, not only help connect the joint force as one; the use of these systems


tightens our alliance with NATO at a time when we need increasing amounts of ISR data around the world. Global Hawk aircraft and their crews, whether operating from a U.S. base or forward deployed to AORs (areas of responsibility) around the globe, are carrying out the collective security mission today as they have been since 9/11. The vision many of us have had of Global Hawk operating with our strongest partners in the most critical parts of the globe is on the cusp of being realized – it could not come at a more critical time

What role do HALE UAVs play in non-permissive security environments?

any system intended to control a contested battlespace.

Large HALE UAVs are not propellerdriven medium-altitude systems; on the contrary, their great altitude and powerful sensors allow them to work even in contested environments throughout the world. They are also an essential support for penetrating systems as communications nodes or data relays. Future HALE systems will work with new manned systems to cover the vast distances the forces must cross to preserve the air/sea gap and will be essential components of

While manned and unmanned systems, optimized for highly contested environments, will be critical, highaltitude, long-endurance ISR systems remain as important as ever.


The future of Allied defence

The unmanned ground vehicle THeMIS with Estonian troops in Mali




While generally attracting less attention than unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the operational relevance of unmanned land and maritime vehicles has grown steadily in recent years. David Hayhurst asks the Chair of NATO’s Applied Vehicle Panel (AVT), Dr David Lecompte, and the Director of NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), Dr Catherine Warner, how NATO is pioneering advances in the technology Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are consistently showing greater versatility in coping with a range of operational challenges, especially when deployed in ‘4D’ (dangerous, dull, difficult and dirty) missions. A high-profile example is the Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) full-modular UGV. The creation of Estonian firm Milrem Robotics, the ground-based armed drone vehicle is designed to support dismounted troops, and its remarkable reconfigurability enables it to serve as a disposal unit, a combat support platform and – perhaps most interestingly – has shown a high degree of promise when integrated with remote weapon stations. However, despite industry having been working on militarily applicable ground robotics and automated technologies for decades, there are still no operational systems that are fully autonomous. “Because autonomy is such a vast and complex theme, it appears to be a challenge to define which S&T (science and technology) efforts need to be considered priorities for NATO and its Members to keep us at the forefront of this research domain,” says Dr David Lecompte, Chair of the Applied Vehicle Panel (AVT) of the NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO). “For now, rather than fully autonomous systems, there are semi-automated solutions that require having a soldier on hand to monitor the technology and interact with it.” The AVT Panel favours a platform-centred approach in its long-term, comprehensive evaluation of the required technologies and consideration of possible future doctrines relating to NATO UGV systems. “As the commercial civil industry has invested large amounts of money into autonomous driving systems, it is clear that the military could and should capitalize on their current developments,” says Lecompte. However, he stresses that NATO cannot “just buy what has been developed and paint it green”. In certain research and development areas, “the military will need to adopt and augment”, whereas in terms of addressing critical issues – such as interoperability, integration, teaming, C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), and optimal design of structural platform architectures – NATO will have no choice but to take the lead.



MARITIME DOMAIN NATO established the Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) initiative in October 2018. Some 13 Member States signed the Declaration of Intent, with a further five possibly joining by the end of 2020. “The primary objective for NATO is to deliver a maritime force teamed with interoperable maritime unmanned systems to securely deliver force-multiplying capability by Allied and Partner Nations,” reveals Dr Catherine Warner, Director of NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE). Headquartered in La Spezia, Italy, one of the CMRE’s chief competencies is working to enhance the Alliance’s robotic capabilities at sea. The Centre is regarded as a world leader in the field of autonomous unmanned systems, including autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), underwater and surface gliders, and unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). With the support of Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the Centre has developed and tested a wide array of capabilities covering anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures, maritime/harbour security and environmental monitoring. The research is at the very frontier of this type of work and involves the use of advanced autonomy, cognitive sonar, Big Data and

NATO and European exercises regularly test the ability of NATO Allies and Partners to integrate and share information gathered by unmanned systems (PHOTO: NATO)

deep learning concepts using state-of-the-art systems such as Ocean Explorer (OEX) AUVs, developed by Florida Atlantic University and Liquid Robotics wave gliders. According to Dr Warner, its programme of ASW scientific research and experimentation validates and de-risks advanced concepts for operational solutions supporting NATO’s ability to counter the submarine threat and control the seas. Annual ASW exercises such as Dynamic Mantra in the Mediterranean and Dynamic Mongoose in the North Atlantic, as well as the triennial Dynamic Monarch (simulated submarine rescue operation), provide excellent first-hand opportunities for the CMRE to test new technologies and concepts. “Conducting effective ASW operations using unmanned systems means tackling an already-difficult problem with more, but perhaps less capable, sensors being deployed on unmanned systems designed for improved affordability,” says Warner. “To build NATO’s required ASW mass deploying large numbers of sensors brings benefits, but raises tough questions. For example, do I need them to be high-end, or do I just need a lot of them?” In order to try and find the answer, the work at CMRE is now focusing on both by demonstrating these capabilities at sea, and also providing a detailed operational cost benefit analysis looking at the numbers of sensors required to augment manned systems for these particular missions.





Unmanned aerial vehicle


Wave Glider, an unmanned system operated by the CMRE, acts as a communications node between the surface and sub-surface domains (PHOTO: NATO)

Unmanned surface vessel

Unmanned ground vehicle

Autonomous underwater vessel

MQ-9B SkyGuardian

MQ-9A Blk 5

SECURING THE FUTURE TOGETHER. Our passion is enabling unrivaled airborne situational awareness. The MQ-9 supports joint security operations around the world, with millions of mission hours flown in the past decade, and continues to deliver innovative capabilities for the future. Learn more at ©2020 GENERAL ATOMICS AERONAUTICAL SYSTEMS, INC.

Airborne Situational Awareness 24/7, Worldwide

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11/20/20 3:32 PM

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE Jaime Walters MQ-9 Chief Architect, Aircraft Systems – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc

Can you describe the extent of GA-ASI’s unmanned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems? For nearly 30 years, GA-ASI has developed, manufactured and delivered the most successful Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the world. GA-ASI UAS platforms boast 6.5 million flight hours, and GA-ASI has been identified as the supplier of the most utilized aircraft in the USAF’s current force structure, with an over 90% availability rate. In almost three decades, GA-ASI has developed 26 variants of the highly successful Gnat and Predator series aircraft, ranging in size from a few hundred pounds to nearly 20,000 pounds, to support the dynamic security needs of our nation and allies. Today, GA-ASI development and production is focused on the MQ-9A Block 5, MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian, MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER and Avenger-series aircraft. MQ-9B is our newest version of the MQ-9-series platform featuring true gamechanging capabilities for unmanned aircraft. These capabilities include an air traffic collision avoidance system; an airworthiness type certificate that enables the MQ-9B to integrate into national airspace systems, instead of being segregated into restrictive airspace; all-weather capabilities, so the aircraft can operate in inclement weather using de-ice, anti-ice and lightning protection systems. A full SATCOM expeditionary operations capability is also included, which enables customers to operate from shorter airfields with less manning and reduced support equipment footprints – anywhere in the world.

GA-ASI is also investing in a family of small UAS (SUAS) that can be launched and recovered from MQ-9 or MQ-1C Gray Eagle, as well as larger aircraft. GA-ASI is currently developing UAS for ultra-long endurance, measured in several days, enabling the system to act as an aerial layer defence network for air and ground assets. Lastly, unmanned aircraft are only as useful as the sensor suite they carry. Therefore, GA-ASI develops and builds a complete end-to-end solution of multiple sensors, along with weapons integration, sensor exploitation and ISR task-management command software.

How will the MQ-9B UAS enhance NATO Member State capabilities? MQ-9B is specifically designed for ultimate versatility and reliability due to its ability to operate in all domains and employ capabilities and payloads specific to its user. While MQ-9B is a successor to the highly utilized MQ-9A, it is redesigned to increase mission capabilities and meet strict airworthiness type certification standards and airspace integration regulations. Unlike the MQ-9A, the MQ-9B can now seamlessly integrate with, and operate in, European airspace and respond to NATO’s requests for any mission, anywhere. Additionally, the MQ-9B’s open architecture allows for rapid integration of new mission capabilities and adaptation to changing mission requirements through ‘Bolt-on, Bolt-off’ mission kits. These will enable, for example, the MQ-9B to easily transition from over-land to over-sea surveillance, using the maritime or anti-submarine warfare mission kits in combination with its HD EO/IR and multi-mode radar, to enable true cross-domain capability. No other NATO Member State platform, including those in the US inventory, will have the operational

and mission flexibility that the MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian platform brings to the region.

What is unique about the MQ-9B SeaGuardian®? The MQ-9B SeaGuardian is a missionized version of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, for maritime surveillance and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) operations. The maritime surveillance mission kit includes a wideband maritime surveillance radar, such as the Leonardo SeaSpray or Raytheon SeaVue, installed in a centerline-mounted radar pod. In addition, an ASW mission kit can be installed with or without the maritime surveillance kit to expand missions to include subsurface search capabilities. The ASW mission kit includes an airborne sonobuoy receiver, acoustic processor and sonobuoy dispensing pods (SDPs) that can carry 10 A-size or 20 G-size sonobuoys per pod. A total of four SDPs can be installed, providing for significant ASW capability that rivals manned ASW platforms. Finally, an integrated ESM/ SIGINT mission kit can also be installed with maritime surveillance and ASW mission kits to expand the collection capability to the RF spectrum and provide a complete maritime and ASW mission capability. With each mission kit, software components are installed in the Ground Control Station (GCS) for command and control, as well as the processing and exploitation of mission data.

How significant is the development of NATO Pod for ISR platforms? NATO Pod will make integration of sovereign capability much easier, more affordable and faster than current methods across the NATO Alliance. NATO Pod is a significant development for ISR platforms as it gives full sovereignty to any customer.


MQ-9B SeaGuardian

Today, there is no solution that allows for a country’s sovereign sensors to be integrated rapidly into a fully flightqualified pod on an MQ-9 platform. NATO Pod will provide a flightqualified envelope, standard sizing and platform load-out requirements. While government-to-government approvals will still be necessary, it will not require OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) participation to integrate the pod.

What other advanced capabilities is GA-ASI developing, applicable to NATO capabilities and space operations? GA-ASI is investing in new platforms, sensors, command, control and exploitation systems, as well as space-based assets that have direct applicability to NATO. From a UAS platform perspective, the unique capabilities and expanded missions the MQ-9B offers have distinct applicability. Additionally, GA-ASI is developing an ultra-long endurance UAS capability that can provide NATO with an aerial defence network for airborne and ground assets with a flight endurance of multiple days.

The family of airborne recoverable or attritable SUAS can provide highly specialized surveillance or attack missions to enhance NATO’s capabilities. We are also investing in space-based laser communications from ground, sea and airborne assets to enable high-bandwidth secure communications. Our High Accuracy Location of Emitters (HALOE) programme is a space-based Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation designed to improve the long-range precision geolocation capability of airborne ISR platforms. Additionally, GA-ASI has an extensive suite of mission command, sensor exploitation and task management software. These toolsets include:

Metis, which provides collaborative ISR task management to efficiently task ISR assets, provide updates to ISR tasks and archive intelligence products associated with each task; STARE (System for Tactical Archival, Retrieval, and Exploitation), which provides a toolset for exploitation, archival and retrieval and dissemination of intelligence products that can be directly

integrated and are complementary with Metis. The use of open standards allows this tool to seamlessly integrate into a country’s (or NATO’s) mission command or intelligence centers. Artificial Intelligence is being applied to improve manpower efficiencies and optimization where the tool does most of the work and alerts analysts to anomalies; SDMC (Software Defined Mission Command) provides UAS-agnostic command and control for multiple aircraft flown simultaneously by a single operator. Significant automation aids a single operator to operate up to six aircraft using the multi-mission controller tool within the SDMC.

GA-ASI is constantly innovating for the future and developing step-change technologies to keep our customers ahead of the competition.




NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION Latvia is among a group of nations that have led the field in the development of internet and 5G technologies. Simon Michell asks the country’s Defence Minister, Dr Artis Pabriks, how this rapid progress was achieved

military customers around Europe and beyond. But how could a small and very analogue Baltic state, that was occupied by the Soviet Union until 1990, have managed to rise to the top of the digital IT stack so quickly?


Over the past decade, Latvia’s internet speeds have ranked frequently in the top 10 worldwide. It has a thriving hub of innovative 5G companies in the capital, Riga, from where small and mediumsized enterprises like MikroTik sell internet software and hardware solutions worldwide. It is also home to an advanced mobile telecommunications operator, LMT (Latvijas Mobilais Telefons), that delivers services including cyber security products to commercial, government and

According to Dr Artis Pabriks, the Latvian Defence Minister, the answer is rooted in the country’s geography and history. When independence was restored, the country had to fend for itself in what Pabriks describes as a very asymmetric region. “That meant that we had to think faster and smarter than others,” he says. “We had to concentrate on what kind of scarce resources we had at our disposal in order not just to survive, but also to thrive in an asymmetric world of economic, political and security challenges.” Unable to match its bigger neighbour in manpower and

resources, the Latvian Government turned to IT as a means of protection. Hence, the resulting fast internet speeds and rapid path to 5G development. “In a nutshell, we were able to accelerate the Latvian path to ubiquitous fast internet and 5G because we had no alternative,” explains Pabriks. “We methodically and purposefully mustered our scarce resources and focused them where they could offer us the best results for our critical infrastructure and security requirements, and where they would be most effectively used.”

EU AND NATO MEMBER Now, as a member of the European Union (EU) (since 2004) and having joined NATO the same year, Latvia finds itself on the edge of both organizations with a 133-mile (214km) border with Russia. Therefore, it should be no surprise that, in November 2020, Latvia put the next


Europe’s first 5G military test site was unveiled in Latvia in November 2020 (PHOTO: LMT)

phase of its IT plans into operation, with the inauguration of a 5G network in its largest military base in Ādaži. Coincidently, this base is home to one of the four NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) groups stationed in the three Baltic states and Poland. Selecting Ādaži as its first major 5G implementation project exemplifies how Latvia envisages employing IT innovation, and 5G in particular, in a collaborative manner in defence of itself and its NATO partners. It also highlights how the Latvian government is aware that, like most other nations, it can’t go it alone. Pabriks is keen to point out that Latvia seeks a collegiate path

forward, both regionally and on the world stage: “5G very much depends on the creation of common policies, first of all within the European continent and, secondly, within the greater Transatlantic partnership.” A striking showcase of this policy in action was the signing in February 2020 of a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the United States, in which Latvia agreed to transition from ‘untrusted network hardware and software suppliers in existing networks’ to trusted ones. When asked if this specifically referred to Huawei, Pabriks explains that the declaration is more than a single company exclusion order: “We will

“We had to think faster and smarter than others” exclude any 5G companies where we have the slightest doubt that we cannot control the movement of data, or if we have any other doubts in relation to security breaches in the system”.





TRANSFORMING SOCIETY AND INDUSTRY WITH SECURE 5G Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Regional Development and Digitalization, highlights the role 5G is playing in the country’s pioneering digital transformation

mobile networks, is vital for the data-driven economy. This infrastructure is the foundation for the ongoing digital transformation. The mobile infrastructure, and especially 5G as it develops, is key. 5G is the first generation of mobile technologies, the first ‘G’ if you like, which has been specified with mission-critical services in mind. This means that 5G is relevant for many industry applications. We have entered the age of the data-driven economy. Everything ‘digital’ is already impacting society in so many ways. And, in these times, it is comforting to see how we still can maintain so much of our normal activity in our schools, our businesses and industry, social events and even medical consultations, through digital solutions. After the pandemic, hopefully much will go back to normal, but I believe that, by then, we will all have taken yet another leap into the digital age.


The digital infrastructure, such as the internet, broadband and

In Norway, we plan to implement our public-safety communication solutions for police, fire brigade and medical services on top of commercial mobile networks. Resilient 5G networks are important for NATO’s collective defence. Norway also has plans to use 5G to enhance capabilities in different military domains. 5G will spur innovation and help to improve efficiency in different sectors such as transport, energy, industry and food production, as well as in healthcare services. The aquaculture industry in Norway is

already enhancing operations by using advanced digital technology – 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence. As 5G networks and services achieve more widespread use, it is imperative that they are accessible, reliable, robust and secure. It is necessary to keep this in mind and ensure framework conditions conducive to an appropriate level of security in times of peace, conflict and war.

SECURITY FRAMEWORK In Norway, it has been essential to ensure timely and predictable conditions for the telecom sector that will invest in the 5G infrastructure. Norwegian laws and regulations give comprehensive and functional security requirements for mobile operators. The new National Security Act, in force since 1 January 2019, proved instrumental as a framework for defining security requirements. We opted for a balanced solution regarding the much-debated topic


Telenor launched Norway’s first commercial 5G network in March 2020, with a further roll-out to cities including Oslo (below) (PHOTO: TELENOR)

“We have world-class mobile networks in Norway” of 5G vendors, eg limiting the share of base-station equipment for vendors from countries without a security agreement with Norway. The mobile operators are free to choose vendors aligned with these requirements. We clarified this in the first half of 2019, in order to ensure early 5G roll-out in Norway. Since then, Norwegian operators have decided on 5G equipment primarily from Ericsson and Nokia. I am glad to see that 5G deployments are now actually happening – all over Norway. And not only in the big cities – we see pilots also in rural Norway and along the coast, where much of

Norwegian industry can be found. Clear and timely 5G security requirements have been essential for us to foster the innovations that come with early 5G rollout. We have world-class mobile networks in Norway today, with high reliability and near 100% population coverage. Still, 5G is being rolled out at a high pace.

Several cities and municipalities have now commercially available 5G networks, with coverage increasing by the day. We expect to have 5G covering at least half the population by next year, and nationwide coverage, similar to 4G, by 2023. I am looking forward to discovering more of the unknown potential that 5G and digitalization will offer our society in the near future.


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE Consequently, NATO is looking for a way to integrate next-generation technologies into existing C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computers) networks to enable NATO armed forces to maintain the tactical advantage, particularly in complex and contested areas of operation where the five traditional operating domains (air, land, sea, cyber and space) can often become blurred and confused.

Steve Beeching Managing Director, Viasat UK

How can next-generation technologies and business practices support the NATO Alliance? The Contemporary Operating Environment (COE) continues to present significant challenges for the NATO Alliance as partner forces attempt to keep pace with transformational changes in technology to overcome emerging threats from high-capability and peer adversaries. As NATO becomes increasingly focused on operations throughout its northeastern area of responsibility, partner forces should be able to rely upon assured, resilient and integrated communications networks in the face of disruption and interference by adversary cyber, space and electronic warfare systems. NATO forces must also be capable of establishing and manoeuvring deployable Command and Control (C2) solutions at pace across any given battlespace, while also benefiting from enhanced ground-toair communications and optimised connectivity in dense urban environments. These are all missioncritical requirements that the Alliance needs to quickly achieve.

As we attempt to come to grips with this multi-domain operating concept, NATO is seeking to overcome the challenge of being able to rapidly generate and update a trusted Common Operating Picture (COP) for units operating on land, in the air and at sea.

How can Viasat help to deliver game-changing capability? There is a digitisation revolution in progress, driven by a seismic increase and use of data supporting the Allied forces, enabling responsive, real-time planning and execution of integrated operations. NATO understands the need to optimise software-defined networks, but like many organizations has often found it a challenge to identify the best ways to run experimentation efforts and deliver game-changing capability at pace. The NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps’ (ARRC’s) Staff Working Environment (SWE) programme – LELANTOS – provides an opportunity for the Alliance to take a different approach in experimentation and capability delivery. On 27 October, Viasat was awarded a circa 1.7 million GBP contract to provide the UK-based ARRC Headquarters with a rapidly deployable and highly secure SWE command post, which could be deployed anywhere in the world to support multilateral operations.

LELANTOS is supported by what Viasat is calling the New Defence Industrial Base approach, based on private-sector businesses delivering commercial and technical agility, fully embedded with the ARRC and allowing the headquarters to take advantage of a DevOps culture to deliver mission outcomes. The two-year programme will investigate, evaluate, record and upgrade technologies over the course of four spirals with sub-programmes, including the Deployable Headquarters (DHQ) and Secure Wireless Headquarters (SWHQ) concepts, each focused on data exploitation; enhanced decision-making support; resilience and survivability. Capable of supporting 500 users, the SWE will enable the ARRC to understand its vulnerabilities across the COE, while injecting best-of-breed and bite-sized technologies into the network at pace. The SWE concept is a great example of a new approach for NATO – one that could become more pervasive across the Alliance’s wider C4 landscape. When this process is finished, it will have created a new footprint allowing the various NATO partners to buy into the SWE.

What capability enhancements can innovations like ARIN deliver to NATO Forces? The success of the SWE concept will also allow NATO partners to benefit from similar next-generation capabilities. This includes the Assured, Resilient and Integrated Network (ARIN) – a highly secure, self-forming and self-healing communications network developed by Viasat to support expeditionary NATO task forces operating in degraded environments. Enabled by SDN routers, decision engines, network management solutions, AI/ML and data analysis tools, the ARIN identifies the most efficient routes for voice


and data communications across a battlespace, no matter the obstacles. Available networks can include commercial and military SATCOM constellations such as Link 16 nextgeneration tactical data links, Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs), Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as 4G LTE and 5G networks. The ARIN benefits from a breakthrough in commercial technology, empowering the warfighter with emerging capabilities, including battlefield data and enhanced decision-making. Technology trajectories are accelerating across the commercial sector rapidly, and NATO can apply these same technologies to ensure a mobile, secure and resilient network for forward-deployed forces. Viasat is also in discussions with various members of the Alliance to upgrade land personnel and tactical ground vehicles, including the Boxer armoured fighting vehicle. In order to maximize benefit from the multidomain operating concept, these platforms must benefit from nextgeneration tactical data-link technologies to allow seamless ground-to-air communications,

especially when deployed at the tactical edge. Recent demonstrations and Tactics, Technique and Procedure (TTP) development in both the US and the UK has demonstrated reduced time on target (from as much as 45 minutes down to as little as 90 seconds) and improved situational awareness. As discussed at the recent UK Space Defence conference, the ARIN can also integrate LEO, MEO and GEO satellite constellations through broadband, narrowband and Link 16 connectivity. Each of these space solutions offer opportunities based on latency, assurance, resiliency, cost, coverage and risk. Current ability to deliver secure Virtual Private Networks in space (segregating military and commercial where needed) can flex, as well as move, data demands seamlessly in real time around the globe. Viasat can show the benefits of executing this type of concept and technology before designing common operating standards and architecture.

challenge. However, the ARRC’s SWE approach signals the start of a new era – one very different to what NATO and its partner forces have done before. Viasat’s New Defence Industrial Base approach of multiple competitive and cooperative companies working together to provide an eco-system with sustainable and integrated solutions, focused on mission outcomes, is a critical evolution for NATO. This concept will allow NATO to get the best out of its legacy technology, while introducing bite-sized elements of groundbreaking technology to deliver and meet the mission much quicker and more economically than usual. The ARIN design will provide NATO’s partner forces with freedom of action and choice in a scalable and costeffective manner so that they may continuously lead in this era of and constant adversarial competition.

Is Viasat’s New Defence Industrial Base Approach Applicable to both new and legacy systems? Any cohesive effort to enhance the C4 capabilities of the Alliance will be a





In 2020, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket became the first US launch vehicle since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011 to deliver humans into space to dock with the International Space Station. This is, however, a small step in a far more ambitious plan to travel to Mars and beyond. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s President and Chief Operating Officer, tells Virginie Viscardy how her company became the first commercial business to fly NASA astronauts into space and shares her perspective on future space exploration


What benefits can a government/ industry partnership offer new entrants to the space market?


Coupling the public sector’s resources and unique experiences with the private sector’s drive for speed and ingenuity is critical to doing more in space than ever before. Public-private partnerships not only allow government to harness the best of the private sector, but often they help drive competition and make available the resources needed to develop and field game-changing technologies. At SpaceX, we’ve been fortunate to benefit and learn from our government customers’ knowledge and decades of experience in space.


What is SpaceX’s vision for the future of space?

A future in which humanity has a permanent presence on the Moon and Mars, and is able to travel across the solar system to new and even more distant worlds. To accomplish this, we must increase the reliability and lower the cost of space travel by making it more like air travel, with completely reusable rockets and spaceships.



How did government funding help SpaceX break into the launch market?

SpaceX wouldn’t be the company it is today without strong support from our government customers. This support came at an especially critical time. In working closely with our partners, we demonstrated our technical abilities, which allowed them to embrace our vision for reusability. Because of this, SpaceX has been able to develop the most advanced rockets and spacecraft, returned human spaceflight to the United States and, as the world’s leading launch services provider, has been able to offer the most cost-effective ride to space for customers around the world.


What are your aspirations for the future of public-private partnership in space?


SpaceX is focused on space transportation for distant locations, and public-private partnerships are key to an affordable capability to return to the Moon, to establish a presence on Mars and to allow humanity to travel around the solar system and beyond.



How will governments and the private sector collaborate in the future?

A partnership leveraging the resources and unique infrastructure of the government with the ability and drive for rapid innovation of the private sector is the only way to realize the vision for our future in space.






Muhittin Solmaz Vice President Training and Simulation Technologies, HAVELSAN

What capabilities does HAVELSAN Training and Simulation Technologies offer? With almost 40 years of experience, HAVELSAN Training and Simulation Technologies is a global player in the provision of comprehensive training solutions for both the defence and civil sectors. Today, HAVELSAN enjoys a reputation as a reliable partner known for our high performance and quality, continuous innovation and outstanding competency – characteristics that enable us to meet evolving customer requirements worldwide. With the strength of our capabilities, based on world-class, industry-leading simulation technology, we provide the very best of simulation solutions and services – ranging from Training Centers, Training Systems/Products, Test & Training Ranges, Decision Support & Wargaming Solutions, Training Services and Integrated Logistics Support.

What was the rationale behind HAVELSAN developing the Joint Warfare Training Centre (JWTC) solution? The rationale behind HAVELSAN’s JWTC is to provide a computer-aided training

environment for individual and collective training, as well as exercise and planning support services for various levels of HQs, including General HQs, to support joint warfare functions. This covers routine and advanced planning for standing tasks, contingency planning and crisis response. The JWTC also provides training in associated tasks, such as capability package development and procurement and doctrine development. Moreover, the JWTC also caters for individual functional area and system training at joint operational and strategic levels as well as collective training and exercises also at joint operational and strategic levels. In addition, it can help with the development of processes, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and organization development and optimization. It also connects the customer with international collaborative studies in the development of new technologies and capabilities, collaborative environments and working procedures for interactions with civilian organizations, governmental authorities and academia. The success of a defence process requires a comprehensive approach, starting from planning to procurement and training. Each of the activities mentioned above has to be synchronized towards the overall defence objectives, and the decisions to be taken based on information and scientific evaluation. HAVELSAN aims at providing a high-technology turnkey solution for the overall process, which increases the combatreadiness of military organizations. If required, it can also connect Armed Forces with the scientific world and centres for technological and industrial development, as well as coalition partners.

How does the JWTC solution help military organizations prepare for operations? The overall JWTC capability package is comprised of the following five core elements:

• • •

• •

doctrine: a set of governing policy documents, directives and SOPs; organization: staff organization, including the Commander; training: a set of courses and training programmes designed for the JWTC staff and the other entities that use the JWTC services; material: hardware, software and data to achieve the missions and desired outcome; facilities: a bespoke JWTC facility designed with a state-of-the-art approach.

JWTC is a modular and generic capability for operational and strategic levels of national defence that includes doctrines, procedures, software and equipment, combined with a specially designed facility. As such, the JWTC supports the following processes for efficient and costeffective training elements:

• • •

Computer Assisted Exercises and Wargames (CAX, CAW); Crises Management Exercises and Wargames (CMX, CMW); Computer Assisted Experimentations (CAE).

What are the main features of the new technologies of JWTC? HAVELSAN has developed an exercisemanagement software package – Education, Training, Exercises, Evaluation and Experimentation (ETE3) – within the scope of the JWTC. ETE3 is a web-based, end-to-end solution for the collaborative planning, monitoring, execution, and afteraction review (AAR) of training


activities. It offers the following capabilities to support all stages of CAX, CAW, CMX and CAE events:

• • • • • • •

planning and programming; setting and scenario development; training objective development and management; exercise/wargame flow design and management; experiment design and management; lessons learned service; exercise/wargame participant support service.

All the processes, from the pre-booking of the participants to the injection invocation during the exercise and the lessons learned, have been modelled into the computer environment. The result is that all of the ETE3 exercise processes are highly integrated; so, one process can use the output of the others in a systematic manner. Process steps can be adapted according to the organizational and exercise needs. Notably, ETE3 software supports numerous languages – including Arabic, English and Turkish – as standard. As you would expect, the system can be

customized to cater for other languages beyond those three. As all sizes of CAX and CAW activities are supported (ranging from small to medium and large scale), exercise control centres with more than 100 concurrent participants are supported. The software operates in a distributed operating environment. Windows, Linux, Unix, Apple iOS and Android operating systems are supported in the client side. A social media simulation software – utilizing microblogging, file/image/video sharing and chat functions of many popular social media platforms – is also part of the package. Other JWTC functions besides HAVELSAN ETE3 include:

• •

generation of TV programmes and newspapers in the full-function TV studio and media simulation room, as required in the prospected scenario; closed-circuit video streaming and live TV broadcasts during the exercises; multiple simulation models and software programs, including highly aggregated models and tactical-level simulations.

The net result of all these capabilities is that JWTC offers ‘Efficient Training like Real Fighting’ or provides ‘Train as You Fight’ solutions.

Is the JWTC solution compatible with NATO standards and TTPs? All JWTC procedures and tools are in compliance with international standards, including NATO standards and procedures. The facility is, therefore, compatible with NATO international and national counterparts, including NATO JWTC and NATO JFTC. To conclude, I would like to offer my gratitude for the opportunity to describe some of the capabilities of the JWTC, which is undoubtedly one of HAVELSAN’s leading technological accomplishments, highlighting the exceedingly high standards we strive for. HAVELSAN engineers deserve to be proud of what they developed.


<title> Cyber security

for space systems </title> 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

10 11 12 13 14


<body> By declaring space an operational domain in December 2019, NATO recognised the need to increase the awareness and understanding of this domain, in order to face the threats targeting space-based systems. <br> This, naturally, poses the following questions: <br>

What exactly are NATO space systems? What do they do, and what threats do they face? </body>


Robert Kroeger, Space Integrator, at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT) highlights the extent to which NATO forces are dependent on space systems for their day-to-day activities, exercises and operations. LTC Henry Heren from the US Space Force describes the threats facing space systems in general and Laurent Smith, a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) expert at the NCI Agency focuses on the threat to BMD systems



Military satellite systems provide vital data, positioning and communications services (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

In general, military satellite systems offer key services, including Positioning Navigation and Timing (PNT) services, space-based intelligence support (including weather data), and satellite communications (SATCOM). “The Alliance is an important forum for Allies to share information, increase interoperability and coordinate actions,” notes Robert Kroeger, Space Integrator at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT). “With the declaration of space as a domain, NATO will continue to rely on national space capabilities for the provision of space products and services such as imagery, navigation and early warning.” Space is essential to the Alliance’s deterrence and defence, and about half of the currently deployed active satellites are owned by NATO member countries. NATO relies on space to navigate and track forces, to have robust communications, to detect missile launches and to ensure effective command and control. However, rapidly evolving space technologies and utilization of space provide new opportunities for the Alliance.


That said, this development also brings new risks, vulnerabilities and threats. Satellites can be hacked or jammed, for example, and

counterspace systems can degrade communications and NATO’s ability to operate in its areas of interest.

OWNERSHIP IS KEY The NCI Agency mans and operates a Space Segment Management and Service Delivery and Monitoring Cell 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as well as a number of ground stations located on NATO Member States’ territory. And even though NATO, as an Alliance, does not own any satellites, the NCI Agency manages on-board (satellite payload) resources and allocates services to users deployed in operational areas. The available satellites themselves belong to individual nations.

segments: the space segment is identified as the vehicle itself (the satellite), the ground control site, the user (receiver of data, product, or service), and the link connecting them.” Moreover, the satellite can also be subdivided into the actual vehicle and the payloads. This is important as the threats to each are not the same. Nor is there necessarily a link between each element to the others.

Each nation is responsible for defending its space assets itself. According to LTC Henry Heren of the US Space Force, who previously worked as a space and cyber expert at the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), “Vulnerability varies, depending on the satellite system, how they are controlled and by whom, what kind of redundancies they have built in, how far they have delineated the systems, and what kind of encryption they are using.”

The ability of an aggressor to attack each element depends on the effect they may wish to achieve, the duration of that effect and whether they are worried about being identified as the perpetrator of an attack. The likelihood of detection also varies between threat types. For example, it is relatively easy to apportion blame for a missile attack on a ground station and, possibly, an electronic warfare attack on the wireless link between a ground station and a satellite. An added complication for any would-be attacker is that causing a satellite to explode or collide with another satellite will create massive amounts of space debris, which is subsequently a threat to all satellites in a given orbit regime, regardless of ownership.

He continues, “Generally, NATO categorizes space systems into four

Cyber-attacks, however, may present more of a challenge to detect and

“The air gap is important,” says Heren. “When you start looking at different space systems, the more important ones are not connected to the internet. They are segregated from the commercial network. They are internal to the facility and go through an antenna to talk to a satellite.”

DEFENDING SPACEBASED EARLY WARNING NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence capability is being built around a command and control system that enables five key functions: planning, monitoring, information-sharing, interception and consequence management. Each of these functions may use satellite positioning, navigation and timing, intelligence and communications services to some degree. Significantly, the monitoring function incorporates space-based early warning. Once detected, the missiles are tracked using sea- and land-based radar/computer systems such as Aegis, and their interception arranged through sophisticated

Apart from those satellite systems in orbit, there is a network of interconnected systems dotted across Europe. These include a command and control facility in Germany, land-based systems in Poland, Romania and Turkey, as well as shipborne Aegis based in Spain. According to Laurent Smith, one of the NCI Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defence experts, the security of the system, “relies on three key elements – confidentiality, integrity and availability.”

awareness and, thereby, degrade the decision-making process. To address these threats, the authentication of system elements and users, as well as non-repudiation of communication, are vital,” Smith says. Any early-warning system must be constantly available for it to be of any use. Cyber-attacks designed to degrade availability are, therefore, a significant potential threat. According to Smith, “Denial of service, system shutdown or degradation of communication between or within nodes are obvious threats and highlight the importance of timely backups and


This means any cyber-attacker needs to bridge the so-called air gap. This is extremely difficult, and Heren cites the Stuxnet cyber-attack on the Iranian nuclear plant as an example of a successful air-gap breach. This notorious cyber-attack in 2010 led to Iranian nuclear centrifuges spinning themselves to failure after their isolated systems became infected by malware, which had ‘jumped’ from an internet-facing PC and its USB drives.

command and control. Due to the nature of the task, time and accuracy are of the absolute essence.


attribute, but they can be defended against. For a cyber-attack to be successful, it relies on a digital route to the systems it wants to affect. However, the key computers at military space systems ground sites are not part of the public internet and the wireless link between these and the satellite(s) is a radio link.

As far as confidentiality is concerned, this is not just maintaining confidentiality on NATO networks, but also on partner, subcontractor and supplier networks. “Industrial security is paramount,” insists Smith. One of the aims of a cyber intrusion is likely to be exfiltration of “capabilities of systems and countermeasures, as well as system locations, coupled with performance information, which might identify weaknesses in coverage.”

’hot’ redundancy of sensors, systems and communication paths.” This redundancy helps to mitigate a cyber-attack, especially if it is attempting to reduce situational awareness by denying the use of a particular system (or sensors) or interfering with the flow of information – both outcomes could reduce or degrade the situational awareness and impact decisionmaking, resulting in a reduced area of defended territory.

The integrity of the network infrastructure system might also be attacked; malware is often used as a vector to gain control of a network, which, in this case, might change or hide the location of missiles so that they are missed, or perhaps dupe the system into thinking something other than a missile is targeted. “There is also the possibility that information is fed into the system from unauthorized sources, such as spoof sensors, in an attempt to corrupt the overall situational

Such is the importance placed upon the cyber threat to the Ballistic Missile Defence system; it is monitored and protected by NCI Agency experts every second of the day. “We have world-class cyber security teams that work relentlessly to ensure our defence by guaranteeing the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the BMD system,” concludes Smith. Views expressed in this article are only attributable to the contributors and not to the organizations they represent


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE and in the air, including Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, where under the UK’s Skynet 5 UK MOD service, we provide COMSAT to every UK Royal Navy platform and also deliver an expanding portfolio of secure IP baseband and IT solutions for small team communications used across land forces, including as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

Neil Fraser Director Defence and Space Programmes, NSSLGlobal

Where do commercial service providers, such as NSSLGlobal, fit into NATO communications delivery? Most NATO nations use a mix of Military Satellite Communications (MILSAT), usually X-band and UHF, from either their own national systems or via those of the other Alliance Member States, as well as Commercial (COMSAT) services (predominantly L-, Ku- and Ka-bands) either leased directly or through partnerships. Most see this mix as bringing choice, innovation and resilience, especially key with the increased threat of hostile action experienced this last decade. As a leading independent SATCOM and technology solutions provider with over 50 years in the business, NSSLGlobal supports many NATO Nations from our locations across Europe, including Denmark, Germany, Norway (our main R&D facility), Poland and the UK. NSSLGlobal delivers a truly global network anchored into our secure teleports across Europe, the US and Australia, bringing together bandwidth from multiple suppliers to provide coverage, choice and resilience. We deliver communications to NATO Member States and other European militaries at sea, on land

Can you outline NSSLGlobal’s approach to solving customer challenges? We pride ourselves on understanding our customers and combine that with deep engineering expertise. Many of our engineers have served in the forces, and have seen the challenges associated with not getting the right equipment, or having to adapt equipment at short notice. I served in the British Army for 26 years – much of it spent leading units delivering strategic and tactical communications (which increasingly overlap). During my time, I was on several NATO-led deployments, notably two early-entry deployments, which are always the most challenging for communicators. For example, in 2001 the UK’s 16 Air Assault Brigade deployed on Task Force HARVEST, to what is now North Macedonia, to work with French, Greek and Italian Battlegroups. My team had to deploy rear links to units we had never trained with, taking MILSAT and COMSAT solutions to create networks at short notice. We also had a NATO detachment from one of the NATO Signal Battalions working alongside us, which we had to integrate into our Headquarters. Not long after handing over to a German Brigade in Skopje, we deployed to set up the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul as the leading NATO elements. We landed on the first C-130 aircraft

into Kabul airfield on New Year’s Day 2002 and rapidly established communications across the UK units, as well as to the French and German Battlegroups. These deployments clearly highlighted SATCOM’s critical role in providing independent and assured communications from the moment of landing, and then in enabling, a multinational task force where time or terrain denies the establishment of terrestrial capability (be that LTE, combat net radio or tactical trunk). Even when you do have those terrestrial systems, SATCOM brings additional flexibility and resilience. NATO now has initiatives such as the Federated Mission Network (FMN) learning from the Afghan experience, but ultimately when units deploy they need to knit together rapidly and make best use of spectrum, key real estate and logistics supply. There is also significant growth in demand. In 2001, for example, an HQ probably used less than 2Mbps. Nowadays, 2Mbps is the minimum an HQ would need. In fact, they often need far more. This demand growth cascades down to lower levels of command. Essentially, the 15-year Afghan campaign saw company groups needing the communications and information services previously held at divisional level.

What solutions does NSSLGlobal bring to those customer challenges? Our solutions combine market and technical knowledge with customer understanding. A major strength at NSSLGlobal is the ability to leverage commercial solutions for defence. For example, our award-winning FusionIP, which combines SATCOM with LTE, has been further developed for defence applications. Notably, CrewVision, our in-house entertainment and business

HMS Northumberland, HMS Dragon and HMS Queen Elizabeth during Exercise Westlant 19 (CROWN COPYRIGHT 2019)

solutions, are particularly applicable to defence and coastguard users. As an integrator and service provider, we constantly survey the market and also have a continuous roadmap for our SatLink modem, of which over 5,000 are used by NATO and other European nations, and which has been specifically developed with mobility and government customers in mind. We bring best-of-breed options from world-leading satellite operators and blend them with our hub and modem technology to assure infrastructure security and confidentiality. For land users, our various VSAT solutions are in high demand. Their Autopoint terminals can support NSSLGlobal’s small-team communications packs operating across unclassified, mission/NATO secret or national secret levels providing voice and data connectivity. These systems can also be used on LTE, Wifi, ADSL or small-form L-band to offer recce and planning teams considerable utility in a single lightweight 20kg unit. In the air, we provide narrowband services for safety of flight and crew/ passenger communications on a number of passenger and ISR platforms,


and also provide secure broadband to military and head-of-state aircraft. At sea, services range from C-, Ku-, Ka- and L-band services to multimode Ku-band and LTE for greater throughputs and efficiencies. Our engineers have worked closely with defence customers to rapidly turn around ships to support humanitarian missions, including as part of the response to COVID-19.

How do you view SATCOM and space now that it is a domain in its own right? As a service provider, we focus on users in the maritime, land and air domains. We are naturally keen to ensure the security of our services, as well as understand how the policies, behaviours and technology in the space domain impact them or can be leveraged to enhance them. As a truly global provider with long-standing relationships, we look ahead to advising our customers on “the art of the possible” – as far out as two, five, even 10 years. For example, we have live-tested for high-demand applications, including 4K video conferencing and secure live video streaming, with multiple government customers using our long-standing

partner Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. In terms of speed, latency and jitter, these tests have demonstrated superior broadband performance. We see huge change for defence customers in the future, such as forward-basing land units, regional maritime task forces, a resurgence in Anti-Submarine Warfare, wider engagement tasks globally, and greater use of robotics and autonomous platforms. All of these will require network connectivity at the tactical edge. This is where SATCOM and space, more widely, plays a role, as these activities will be exposed to an increased range of threats, from sub-threshold to anti-satellite weapons, requiring a blend of MILSAT and COMSAT to give commercial and operational diversity and bring resilience. As ever, NSSLGlobal will be bringing the best of these approaches and solutions to our defence customers.






Alexandra Stickings, Research Fellow for Space Policy and Security at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), asks whether we are in a new space race, and, if so, what that means for NATO

Following the establishment of the United States Space Force in December 2019, questions surfaced surrounding its purpose, and whether it meant that we would soon see military personnel and a ‘shooting war’ in space. Much of the rationale for the new service centred on the increasing capabilities of adversaries such as Russia and China and the potential threats to US space systems. The US, and its allies, therefore, would need not only to defend these systems, but also develop their own offensive capabilities. In this narrative, space had become a warfighting domain. Fast forward to July 2020 and the odd behaviour of a Russian satellite. As well as manoeuvring close to an American satellite, Cosmos 2543 also released another object. Senior military officials from both the US and UK reacted strongly, calling the event a test of what appeared to be a weapon. This followed a Russian test of an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile just a few months previously, and just over a year after a successful Indian ASAT test. It may seem that this is all pointing towards an undesirable, if inevitable, reality: that we are seeing an arms race in outer space. Indeed, if one looks further back to the beginning of this century, there appears to be evidence

that supports this. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the original Space Race between the USSR and the US came to an end, with the latter being left in a relatively dominant position among space actors. But new entrants into the military space arena changed this balance of power.

CHINA’S ANTI-SATELLITE CAPABILITIES China’s now infamous test of a kinetic anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites in 2007, which produced thousands of long-lasting pieces of space debris, reignited much of the arms-race debate. Developments in a variety of counterspace capabilities by a number of states have continued at pace, further fuelling these fears. Look deeper, however, and there is evidence that this may not be the case, and that if there is a ‘race’ involving space, it is not of the character that might be expected. Firstly, what do we mean by a race in this sense – where is the finishing line, and how might a winner be determined? The original Space Race, between the United States and Soviet Union, within the broader context of the Cold War, had much clearer objectives, and being



confined to just two actors meant it was easier to determine a ‘winner’. The current scenario is much more complex. Many more actors are involved and are developing counterspace capabilities, yet each will have slightly different intentions. For some, it may not be about dominance or surpassing the capabilities of rival states, instead focusing on assuring access to orbit and protecting assets. Secondly, it is important to consider, why, or when, these capabilities may be used in anger. Much has been made of kinetic anti-satellite missiles, the overt aggression the use of one would demonstrate, and the resulting debris that could potentially harm any number of space assets and threaten the long-term sustainability of satellites in orbit. Although a number of states have tested this capability, there are questions as to whether this is more a deterrent and projection of power, rather than something to be used against an adversary.

The U.S. Space Force is the country’s newest service in more than 70 years (PHOTO: U.S. AIR FORCE/STAFF SGT KAYLA WHITE)

questions. There is a difference between how the US (and its allies) and China conceive conflict in space and how space integrates into defence. For example, while the US has moved forward with a separate service, China’s 2016 reform of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) saw the establishment

Is it a race if one or more of the actors does not know that they are taking part? At the other end of the spectrum, non-kinetic capabilities, such as jamming and cyber-attacks on space infrastructure, occur frequently. Essentially, they may be better described as part of sub-threshold or so-called greyzone operations that happen in every domain.


We also need to think about how other actors, including potential adversaries, consider these

of the Strategic Support Force, encompassing space, cyber and information, thereby positioning space more as an enabler of operations rather than a distinct domain in its own right. How China and others conceptualize conflict in space and the role of the development of counterspace capabilities will determine their view of an outerspace arms race. Is it a race if one

or more of the actors does not know that they are taking part? Finally, it also needs to be understood that activities in space do not happen in isolation. Developments in counterspace capabilities are connected to the broader ambitions of states. They are dependent upon regional and global contexts, the capabilities of adversaries and the benefits and drawbacks of targeting space systems.

DIFFERENT RESPONSES Using the phrase ‘space race’ or ‘arms race’ can help to bring attention to concerning developments regarding a domain on which all of humanity depends, but it can also lead to the idea that space is somehow separate and not connected to terrestrial activities. Rather than a separate space arms race, what these developments represent may instead be more an example of the constant competition among states that is happening in all domains. Dealing with these scenarios requires different responses and different ways of thinking.




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INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE capabilities into the architecture without the delay and overhead of building dedicated components.

Anders Øygarden Head of Sales NATO, Nordic and Eastern Europe, Airbus

How is Airbus meeting the demand for high-level digitalised IT and communications solutions? With increasing requirements to act swiftly and provide the necessary security and intelligence to support a mission or event of any size, Airbus has developed the next generation Deployable Communications Information System (DCIS). Designed for military missions, anti-terrorist actions, disaster relief, exploration and peacekeeping operations, Airbus DCIS is a complete IT, cybersecurity, network, audio and video collaboration system that supports multi-security-level communications and intelligence exchange. Built on NATO C3 Taxonomy, Airbus DCIS comprises modular IP networks and information infrastructure components according to the CIS mission requirements in a hybrid service approach, PaaS (platform as a service), IaaS (infrastructure as a service) or SaaS (software as a service). Maximising usage for high-tech COTS capabilities and components, Airbus DCIS provides customised tailoring to meet the specific needs of the deployable and tactical areas, enabling rapid adoption of new

Airbus DCIS capabilities, performance and interoperability are continuously enhanced to meet advancing initiatives, such as Federated Mission Network and the NATO DCIS Cube Architecture, providing solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Recent focus has been around sharing of information in near-real time without compromising security, integrity and authenticity, as well as the migration from traditional IT platforms to modern cloud technologies, all of which are key functions within the Airbus DCIS delivery.

How does Airbus collaborate with the NCI Agency on deployable communications and information systems? Airbus has collaborated with the NCI Agency on many projects, resulting in a DCIS design that is 100% compliant to the requirements of current and next-generation DCIS programmes, including Firefly. Airbus partnered with the NCI Agency to define the DCIS Target Architecture (TA) – the first system built on the DCIS TA being the Airbus-delivered Dragonfly. Evolving on the DCIS TA with relevant updates, Airbus also delivered MND-SE DCIS Romania.

Building on our proven track record and in-depth expertise, Airbus has been working on the NATO DCIS CUBE architecture initiative, where Airbus, among other industrial partners, is cooperating with the NCI Agency to drive future DCIS architecture. Airbus looks forward to continuing to work with the NCI Agency and delivering state-of-the-art DCIS capabilities to future programmes.

What are the future trends you see for Communications and Information Systems? While there have already been significant improvements in ICT and DCIS, Airbus believes there is much more to come. As we move into a world of hyper-converged infrastructure, the physical portion is taking the form of modules – typically consisting of Compute, Storage, Network and Memory – building upon a virtual infrastructure. To meet the stringent need to function under harsh conditions, anywhere in the world, environmental protection, facilitators and hardware encryption are required. These building blocks will evolve to meet new challenges, including distributed AI to enhance on-site data analytics, and Quantum technology to increase computation power and provide a new grade of encryption security. To enable no-fuzz, extreme highspeed data transfers, layer 1 and 2 encryption gain increasing importance, and the networks will, in larger degree, utilise segment routing. To enhance utilisation of the physical infrastructure, minimize costly overhead and operate with a greener profile, networks and network security will utilise micro-segmentation, optimising network and security flows down to the physical interfaces. Multi-Level and Multi-Tenant security will ensure protecting, correct handling and release of classified


information on all levels of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) stack, reducing the need for additional hardware, enabling multiple classification and interest areas on the same device. As the world of Military IoT expands, the nature and number of end-user terminals and equipment will change, and the media to connect will be focused on virtual ends. Even for classified information, we will see a higher degree of military-grade secured virtualised desktops, allowing users to access applications and information on any device, anywhere. Airbus DCIS supports the future Combat Cloud, enabling access to core HQ operational VPS/cloud, cloud extension to the tactical edge and C2 control of an asset to be passed securely with full-level authentication in microseconds. The cloud-enabled DCIS, will, in turn, change the delivery of Deployed CIS to a service-based model, dynamically delivering what is needed, when it is needed.

What is the Airbus vision for future cloud services? Information superiority and, therefore, Defence power in the future, is obtainable via collaborative, securely connected, cyber-resilient intelligence and operations, within a cloud-based network across all domains. When underpinned by resilient a high-speed global communications network, assets can be securely linked with the rest of the operation, delivering information advantage and the freedom of manoeuvre across the multi-domain battlespace. Cloud technology and its ability to provide secure data storage, processing of the data and secure forward transmission has the potential to provide huge operational advantages for both Defence and Government arenas. Due to the restricted and sensitive nature of most military data, the use of Public Cloud and interconnect services is not sufficient. The Airbus vision is to provide and manage multiple cloud solutions for classified data, securing

data access, sovereignty and auditability; maximizing mission effect across the battlespace. Due to our close cooperation with national and multinational security authorities, we are on the path to ensuring a cloud solution that is in accordance with multiple privacy and security protocols. Designed to support national, NATO and OCCAR-restricted data, following national certification regulations, data will be stored at specific geographic locations, and devices requesting access will be under military-grade control. With deep monitoring and security at all levels of the technology stack, as well as during the sharing, fusing and interrogation of assured data, end users will have access to rich features via cloud and analytics services to accelerate their capabilities and provide operational advantage.


Inspiring the Next Generation of Rocket Scientists and Explorers

As ambitions go, traveling to Mars is pretty much up there among the most impressive, if not most courageous, of them all. Alyssa Carson has wanted to become an astronaut and travel to Earth’s nearest planetary neighbour for as long as she can remember. Alan Dron caught up with her at her home in Louisiana




Alyssa Carson stands in front of the Saturn V rocket (PHOTO: NASA)

Born in 2001, in Louisiana, USA, Alyssa Carson set her heart on becoming an astronaut at a very young age. She quite literally lives and breathes everything space. Carson became not only the first person to complete the NASA Passport Program by visiting all 14 NASA visitor centres, she has also attended Space Camp seven times, the Space Academy three times and witnessed three Space Shuttle launches. Currently a student at the Florida Institute of Technology studying for a Bachelors in astrobiology, she is also the youngest astronaut-in-training with the Project PoSSUM non-profit citizen-science research and education programme. She also has a pilot’s licence.

What made you want to become an astronaut? You apparently told your father you wanted to go to Mars when you were only three.


I don’t remember everything exactly from back

A then – we weren’t really paying too much

attention. There was an episode of The Backyardigans 70

They also do some geology, and you can figure out what area of science you want to be involved in and can lead or join a project. It’s a really nice community.

Q Why do you want to go to Mars? Today, NASA has its plans, SpaceX has its own plans, so talk of Mars has built up and there’s a lot more opportunity of it actually occurring.


How have you prepared yourself for this career? Pretty early on, I realized I wanted to be some

A sort of mission specialist or research scientist

I’ve been trying to build up my resumé with that in mind. I’ve just done things that I felt I could build on. I’m studying astrobiology. I’ve got a pilot’s licence; I don’t want to be a pilot professionally, but it could be a useful skill.

Q What is your next step?

The earlier Mars One project [which closed

A down in 2019] was talking about colonizing Mars and staying there [permanently], but we’ve covered that. Right now, all the different companies involved in Mars exploration are focused on going there and then returning.


[a computer-animated children’s series], which is the only place we can think I might have heard the words ‘space’ and ‘Mars’. My dad remembers me coming and asking a lot of questions about Mars and whether has anyone ever been there.

When I was young, my interest in Mars was learning about what was there. As I’ve got older, I’ve learned about the importance of going there, the benefits and the new technical possibilities – for example, the resources we can get from Mars to help solve problems here on Earth. The first missions are going to try to learn about the potential of Mars. People have talked about terraforming and colonies, but the first missions will see what we have to work with.

Just continuing through school. I also want to continue flying; I have my private pilot’s licence, but want to get my instrument rating. I’m also interested in the psychological side of going into space – living alongside people for extended periods of time, for example.


What are your reflections on Project PoSSUM? (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere – a project designed to prepare people to become a citizen-scientist astronaut)


It’s real-life NASA-supported research. They try

A to focus on the tops of clouds in the upper

atmosphere. Basically, it is for people from all over the world who are interested in science and who want to contribute in some way. I did a high-level campaign taking pictures of noctilucent clouds. I’ve also taken part in water survival courses, microgravity flights and testing space suits. With the microgravity flights, which take place every October, we will have different experiments or research. On one occasion, we were testing a space suit in microgravity conditions. We had one member in the suit and I was the assistant to them, checking they were OK. Microgravity is really amazing, flying those parabolas.

Carson learns about the Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and its science mission from NASA pilot Tom Miller (PHOTO: NASA)

Carson sits in an F/A-18 cockpit during her visit to the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Centre (PHOTO: NASA)





A year ago, space became NATO’s fifth operational domain, alongside land, air, sea and cyberspace. Flavio Giudice, a space scientist at the NCI Agency, was one of the experts that contributed to the development of NATO’s space policy. Zala Grudnik asks Giudice about the importance of this new operating domain


Why are space capabilities important?

Space is a fast-changing domain, on which we depend unconditionally. We need space in order to do things in a smart and efficient way. By using capabilities such as satellites in NATO operations and missions, we save time and resources without risking people’s lives unnecessarily.

development of the NATO space policy and its implementation plan. We also use it to share information with the Nations.


Q What do you do? As a space scientist, I work on a wide range of activities connected to space. I support NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and Allied Command Operations (ACO) in the development of the implementation plan for space as an operational domain. My role is to find gaps and propose possible solutions. The goal is to identify the roles, responsibilities and personnel required to perform specific functions related to space, and that is why I am writing about dependencies on space capabilities across NATO. I am doing this in coordination with the Nations and their representatives. We try to keep them updated on our activities and establish a good working relationship to increase the number of space agreements in the future.


I participate in one or two major NATO exercises every year as a part of the exercise control team. NATO exercises provide important training opportunities for the Nations and their personnel. We prepare a scenario and determine a fictitious space event that requires an appropriate response from participants.


What space support is the NCI Agency providing today?

The NCI Agency is the only provider of Satellite Communication (SATCOM) services to the Alliance at the moment. Many of the Alliance’s services and capabilities, which are used by NATO forces in operations and missions, depend on SATCOM. For example: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT). The unmanned aerial vehicles of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) also rely on SATCOM for secure communications, command and control and the transmission of data.


How has NATO’s use of space capabilities changed in recent years?

NATO owned and operated satellites until 2005. The maintenance was very expensive, so it was more efficient to switch to a service-level agreement with the Nations. This means that we are now dependent on their capabilities, which they share with us voluntarily. SATCOM provision is the only agreement we have with the Nations right now, so we need to keep in mind that most of the space support to NATO is currently not guaranteed. As commercial companies are becoming stronger and providing bigger capabilities, it is possible that we are going to procure more commercial capabilities in the future.




Why is the NCI Agency considering consolidating its space expertise under one hub?


We want to organize ourselves to coordinate all the national space efforts across the Alliance. We are exploring the possibilities to advance our current capabilities in order to achieve a guaranteed provision of services to NATO at all times. It is also a domain with a growing number of security threats. We need to be prepared to offer the best solutions to the Alliance. To do so, we need to keep in close contact with the Nations and establish a direct link with industry. It is essential to know what is at the cutting edge of space technology and, ultimately, what is most cost-efficient. In an effort to make the right investments, we have to be aware of all the opportunities that exist in this field.



We offer technical expertise, as well as secure software systems for coordinating activities within the community. This software helped us facilitate the


Why is your work important for the Agency and for NATO in general?

I believe that I have a good overview and understanding of what is coming to space in the near future, and how the Agency can best support those impending requirements. Education is one of the most significant parts of my work. It is important to advertise space and explain to those in power why it is essential to have the right capabilities in place. Space is an interesting and very exciting subject, where work is never routine. I enjoy experiencing this rapidly evolving field and seeing how NATO and the Nations evolve with it.



INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE Software Factory (NSF). When the pandemic hit, software engineering teams inside the Agency, NATO entities and industry that were involved could connect to NSF remotely, ensuring C4ISR software engineering support without significant costs on the basis of engineering collaboration in the Cloud.

What is the relationship between the NCI Agency and Microsoft?

Angus MacGregor-Millar Worldwide Public Sector, General Manager Defense and Intelligence, Microsoft

Describe Microsoft’s support to NATO before and during the pandemic? COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in the work habits of NATO employees and in the way they collaborate with external stakeholders. The NCI Agency has built a solid collaboration platform at various classification levels that includes Microsoft technologies like SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Microsoft Teams. As the pandemic progressed, these technologies proved their value. Together with the NCI Agency, we are now evaluating how cloud technologies can complement the existing platforms. We see a future where NATO employees can securely exchange information at an appropriate level, whether they are working from home, at NATO Headquarters, or in the field. One example of the NCI Agency successfully deploying cloud technology is NATO’s Maritime Command, which is using Office 365 and Teams to securely collaborate with its partners at sea. But these successes are not limited to operational collaboration: many of the Agency’s software-intensive programmes are developed in the cloud-based NATO

Microsoft technologies are at the base of many knowledge management and C4ISR systems that industry has provided to NATO and the nations. We have a strong working relationship with the NCI Agency to support these systems and ensure they remain secure, performant and reliable. We are also supporting the Agency in its dialogue with industry on new and emerging technologies, addressing topics like cloud adoption, artificial intelligence, cyber security and countering disinformation. And finally, we’re providing technical input to various standards and policy initiatives as requested by NATO.

Why is Microsoft Teams a vital tool in support of remote-working? Consultation with member nations, industry and other external stakeholders is at the heart of NATO’s mission. Tools like Microsoft Teams enable NATO to connect people easily and securely, regardless of their location and the device they’re using. Perhaps the US Department of Defense (DoD) is the best example of this: like many other entities, the US DoD was faced with an unprecedented surge in demand for remote access to applications. To address this demand, they deployed a remote work environment based on Microsoft Teams to connect service members around the world. Dubbed the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) environment, it’s part of a wider effort

to ramp up telework capabilities across various government agencies and military forces. DoD employees access the CVR environment for chat, video and document collaboration, allowing them to work remotely and continue to be productive. The best part of this – it took less than a month to deploy, and we have seen other NATO countries follow suit.

What other Microsoft technology innovations are you most excited about? We are now firmly in the ‘age of data and intelligence’ and organizations like NATO need to start making full use of the innovative technologies available today. At the tactical edge, our Azure Stack family brings the advances in artificial intelligence to the mission team. When such capability is combined with private 5G networks and high-speed secure satellite communications, you start to see what can be possible to support the commander in the field. In addition, when people think about Microsoft’s Xbox gaming or HoloLens augmented reality headset, they don’t necessarily think of this as an innovation relevant to them. But if you take the technology underpinning Microsoft Flight Simulator, and combine it with a rugged version of HoloLens, I’m sure anyone can recognise the potential of applying that to modelling and simulation, pattern analysis, anomaly detection, NLP workloads etc, but also real-life mission team operations. There are many use cases where augmented reality can support NATO’s mission in areas such as logistics or maintenance.

How are Microsoft’s cloud capabilities helping NATO’s digital transformation? As we think about digital transformation and supporting NATO’s mission, we think not just about



hyperscale cloud computing, but also about bringing that computing to the deployed and tactical edge. That intelligent edge is ubiquitous. It could be a device that a soldier is wearing, one that’s embedded in a vehicle or a ship, or it could be a deployed C2 unit anywhere on Earth. Microsoft is committed to providing trusted Azure capabilities to the intelligent edge around the world, in both connected and disconnected scenarios, and bring AI, data analysis and insight to the tactical edge with 5G and seamless resilient satellite connectivity. At the core of this strategy we are providing technology that advances the mission. As we look across the world, it is apparent that more and more mission-critical workloads such as banking, energy and logistics are running in the Cloud today. Such workloads are indeed critical infrastructure and power capabilities that we use and trust on a daily basis. There are key scenarios in areas such as defence and intelligence where Microsoft can help to enable developers through a strong DevSecOps service foundation building more efficient, effective, yet secure, C4ISR systems. Enriching the output of such systems with additional real-world data and the use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will improve NATO’s

information superiority even further. We stand ready to support our customers in connecting today’s abundance of data, all the way from the edge to the cloud, from the ground through space. Microsoft is committed to enabling mission scenarios in the cloud, recognizing that they are expected to be highly available, with data stored on multiple sites for prolonged periods. We view the key pillars of digital transformation revolving around key areas such as modernizing workplaces and facilities, delivering trusted and secure infrastructure and services, protecting information domains and growing cyberforce capabilities, as well as optimizing operations and enhancing data-driven decisions.

How important is Microsoft’s membership of the NATO Industry Cyber Partnership? Given the leap in attack sophistication of state actors, partnerships between industry and government are essential for securing cyberspace. With our Government Security Program (GSP), we’ve been a participant in NICP since its inception. I would like, however, to lift this beyond just ‘cyber’ and expand to NATO’s Data Centric Security (DCS) vision. Today, defence organizations urgently need a new security and assurance model that adapts more

effectively to the complexity of the modern environment, embraces the mobile workforce, and protects people, devices, apps and data wherever they’re located. The security industry is moving to a Zero Trust model: instead of assuming everything behind the corporate firewall is safe, this model assumes breach and verifies each request as though it originates from an open network. Regardless of where the request originates or what resource it accesses, Zero Trust teaches us to ‘never trust, always verify’. The idea is to limit user access with just-in-time and just-enough-access (JIT/JEA), risk-based adaptive polices and data protection to help secure both data and productivity. And, we make sure to always authenticate and authorize based on all available data points, including user identity, location, device health, service or workload, data classification and anomalies. A continued partnership with industry will allow NATO to evolve and embrace these next-generation security concepts more rapidly.






The NCI Agency’s Chief of Service Engineering and Architecture, Detlef Janezic, tells Simon Michell how COVID-19 gave an extra impetus to NATO’s move to the cloud

The onslaught of COVID-19 across Europe in the early part of 2020 created a sudden need for a huge number of NATO staff to telework from home, while also connecting with external entities. However, a requisite NATO teleworking environment, satisfying these new requirements, had not been achieved in advance. Consequently, the NCI Agency was tasked with putting new systems in place to enable secure collaborative working, with the necessary data security tools and processes. “There was a need for new types of collaboration features to support our customers in their daily business. We also had to establish new processes and skills for these new collaboration services we piloted in the public cloud,” says Detlef Janezic, the NCI Agency’s Chief Service Engineering and Architecture. Moreover, the sudden surge in teleworking created an immediate strain on bandwidth, as video conferences and collaboration, based on public cloud UCC (unified communication and collaboration) services, increased the demand.

SECURE COMMUNICATION Janezic and his team soon realized that the best available technologies were public/hybrid cloudbased solutions that could be security-accredited and would provide a secure means of communication

directly supporting the NATO Cloud Computing Policy that demands a “Cloud First” approach. While these new UCC services were being set up, parallel efforts were undertaken with extranet portal collaboration tools, pilot projects with Microsoft (MS) Teams and the NATO Software Factory (NSF) also supported the need of NATO and partner software engineers to work from home, further helping the momentum to the ‘new norm’ of mass teleworking.

IMPROVING COLLABORATION To get the new teleworking environment up and running, Janezic and his Agency team completed a ‘proof-of-concept’ process and conducted performance and security-related tests. In addition, further architecture and design efforts were undertaken to improve collaboration capabilities for staff located in NATO headquarters by allowing them to use MS Teams from their business network. “The roll-out of Microsoft Teams provided a modern, user-friendly experience to our customers, allowing them to communicate in an advanced manner,” reveals Janezic. For example, NCI Agency events, such as the ‘Tech Edge Talk’ and ‘The Cloud in Defence’ were delivered virtually, using MS Teams to host high-ranking NATO officials.



ADDITIONAL BENEFIT Janezic highlights an additional benefit that the application brought about: “MS Teams not only met customer expectations, it also enabled the streamlining of NATO’s UCC environments. And it should be noted that this was all achieved without major new investment, due to the fact that licences were already included in the Enterprise Agreement between NATO and Microsoft.” As a next step, the NCI Agency is now looking into the expansion of the NATO MS Teams environment and its potential to federate with the UCC environments of other NATO Member Nations.

ENSURING SECURE DATA NATO data, even at the lower NATO unclassified security level, needs protection to preserve confidentiality, integrity and availability. In order to ensure that data and systems remained safe and secure in the cloud, Agency experts engaged with the NATO Security Accreditation Authority (SAA) and the cloud

service providers as soon as they were able to. This enabled them to examine the security controls that had been put in place to meet NATO’s security measures for the public cloud. This due diligence exercise was performed with the major cloud service providers first, to facilitate their consumption of public cloud services at NU security level. A NATO Cloud Computing Policy and a NATO Cloud Computing Directive are now in place, defining implementation guidelines for adopting cloud computing, as well as cloud computing roles and responsibilities. Together with the NATO SAA, the Agency has made major progress, and a security directive is now in place allowing the hosting of unclassified data and services in the public cloud. Janezic’s telework activities are not over yet though. “There is still more to do. Additional work in NATO is ongoing, supported by the NCI Agency to establish further protection mechanisms and security policies for data up to NATO restricted level,” says Janezic.



been requested by the customers, and a further enhancement of the platform is intended in the very near future, pending availability of resources. “The platform allows the exchange of information in chat, document collaboration, email and web portal functions. Owing to the ease of use and advanced capabilities, the new solution is now being regularly utilized by numerous MARCOM users and is expanding rapidly.”


The Maritime Information Exchange (MIE) project delivered a public cloud-based platform that enables NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) and non-NATO actors, including nongovernment organizations (NGOs), shipping companies, non-NATO nations and other international organizations in NATO theatres of operation, to share non-NATO unclassified information of interest to NATO maritime operations.

The MIE project was completed in April 2020, just as the COVID-19 crisis started to impact on NATO’s daily business. “MARCOM took advantage of the MIE platform, immediately enabling MARCOM operators to collaborate and share information from their home locations,” explains Jose Luis Herrero, Head of Service Engineering at the NCI Agency. “New voice and video features to build an enriched collaboration solution package have already


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE Adopting mature and secure cloud services will be a key enabler for NATO’s Digital Endeavour.

How does Google Cloud support the NCI Agency in this process?

Mike Daniels Vice-President Global Public Sector, Google Cloud

What are the benefits of NATO migrating some of its data to the Cloud? Cloud has quickly evolved from consideration to a real imperative for government IT and mission owners alike. The underlying drivers have evolved over the years, initially from the Cloud being a route to cost-savings, then to a means for scaling business operations, and now to an enabler of innovation and digital transformation in support of the mission. Now more than ever, we are working with our customers to help them embrace Google Cloud technology to address unexpected challenges and introduce innovative ways to serve their missions. Notable advantages for NATO in deploying cloud services include: • interoperability between NATO commands and Member States, structurally or mission-based; • fast deployment of capabilities across the geography, supporting an effective mission delivery; • accelerated and improved decision process due to new insights gathered through advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models on public and/or private datasets; • secure data-handling through government-specific cloud offerings.

Google Cloud’s mission is to accelerate every organization’s ability to transform through data-powered innovation with the best infrastructure, platform, industry solutions and expertise for digital transformation. Specific to the needs of the NATO Digital Endeavour, led by the NCI Agency, we bring best-in-class security, multi- and hybrid-cloud capabilities to provide interoperability, as well as leading AI/ML capabilities to deliver insights, boost productivity and scale core services.

What Defence experience and capability does Google Cloud have? Google Cloud has extensive experience supporting the public sector and our Defence community with transformative solutions and collaboration tools. We also have a robust network of military servicemen and reservists that work at Google Cloud, as well as a large group of leaders who have backgrounds in government IT and other government innovation roles. The collective knowledge this diverse workforce brings, combined with our leading technology and services, has enabled us to understand the technology requirements of Defence customers and help them achieve their goals.

How does Google Cloud ensure that NATO data is secure in the Cloud? Google Cloud provides our customers with a globally secure infrastructure, with systems that are up to date, and designed with security at every level. We encrypt 100% of data at rest across all platform services by default (and in transit). With our recent announcement of Confidential Computing, customers’

data is now also encrypted while it is being processed. We do not believe that regulated customers should have to compromise security to meet their requirements; they should be able to take advantage of the Public Cloud to embrace innovative technologies to serve their mission in a compliant way. Google Cloud is ensuring NATO data security from various angles.

What does the future hold for NATO Cloud services? Working together, we believe the future is bright for NATO Cloud Services. We look forward to partnering with them to build the most robust and agile cloud-based capabilities. Agile Services. We believe in the power of open-source to give customers the freedom to choose where to deploy their workloads and avoid vendor lock-in. Multi-cloud solutions, like Anthos, pave the way for the Federated Mission Cloud across the host nations’ private environments. Interoperability. The Alliance will be able to offer a broader, more interoperable set of Functional Applications Services from a private marketplace with the ability to deploy to any nation’s private cloud. Better insights and decision-making process through the use of cloudenabled Advanced, embedded AI and ML capabilities. We believe in democratizing AI/ML to unlock organization-wide value from data. To learn more, join the Google Cloud Public Sector Summit (8/9 December), a two-day digital event connecting government and academic communities across the globe. Visit:


NATO SOFTWARE FACTORY Mariano Valle, the NCI Agency’s Senior Architect for Service Strategy, tells Chris Aaron how the cloud-based NATO Software Factory has helped the Alliance to keep working during the COVID-19 pandemic 80

Mariano Valle, the NCI Agency’s Senior Architect for Service Strategy, reveals that the move to the cloud was already well under way by 2020, but that the pressures of COVID-19 have accelerated the change and overcome the doubts of most of those who were previously reluctant to trust in the cloud. For Valle, there are no insuperable problems. “As long as security is managed properly, and as long as cost models are applied properly” cloud-based operations bring major benefits with few drawbacks, and for those NCI Agency staff having to work from home during the pandemic, the ability to simply log on through their home internet connection and work almost as normal has been a considerable, unforeseen benefit. Valle observes that rapid change does not come naturally to large organizations like NATO, and that, over the years, various groups within the NCI Agency have understandably had different opinions regarding the use of the public cloud. Those closest to the cyber security communities, for example, have held particular concerns about the security of data storage and transmission. As a result, mitigating such concerns by proving the effectiveness and security of cloud-based


NATO software built on the DevSecOps platform and made available through the NATO App Store, allows Allied forces to share a common picture during exercises and operations (PHOTO: NATO)

operations has been an important part of the transformation process. COVID-19 has intensified this ‘proving’ of cloud-based operations as more teams have come to rely on the NCI Agency’s cloud-based functions to sustain their own performance in maintaining, developing and delivering their software applications.

MOVING TO THE CLOUD In 2016, the NCI Agency put its software applications into the cloud so that they were securely accessible from anywhere in the world at any time. This resource is called the Electronic Definitive Media Library (EDML, the digital repository of the final authorized versions of software packages), but is known more commonly as the NATO App Store. Up to this point, software applications required by NATO sites or operational headquarters had to be copied onto thousands of CDs and delivered physically to each customer’s location. The cloud-based storage and near-immediate delivery of these apps at the click of a mouse proved to be a highly successful first step forward into the cloud environment. “Our mission was to replace a slow and costly manual software delivery process with modern tools providing



secure, fast and reliable services to a constantly growing customer base,” says Valle. The App Store’s success bolstered confidence in NATO’s newly-adopted Cloud-First policy that requires all new information and communications projects to utilize the NATO Cloud platforms rather than deploy their own bespoke infrastructure. The next step toward the cloud was to address the way in which software development lifecycle (DevSecOps) was carried out at the NCI Agency, by changing obsolete infrastructures and methods into a modern, cloud-based platform, namely the NATO Software Factory. Having successfully used the cloud to store and deliver applications, the NCI Agency moved to the development and maintenance of apps in a cloud-based environment. As Mariano Valle notes, applications are the crown jewels of the NCI Agency’s IT service provision to its NATO customers. Normal practice has been to contract out the build of such apps to industry developers who work in their own environment. The app is then handed over to the Agency and maintained in-house by an NCI Agency team. Suppliers and contractors bid for a contract, develop the software and provide the finished product to the NCI Agency, perhaps as far as two years down the line. The result has been a rather incoherent ecosystem of applications and infra-structures, notes Valle. The Software Factory project radically changes the development environment and the NCI Agency’s way


of doing business in the direction of modern stateof-the-art DevSecOps methodologies and tools. The cloud-based development, engineering and maintenance platforms that were built from 2016 to 2018 provided the new development environment. Next, the integration of staff from the NCI Agency, industry and academia into collaborative teams working in the cloud formed the new way of doing business. In the future, the NATO Software Factory will be the platform where contractors will develop NATO software, enhancing collaboration and the software development life-cycle. Valle observes that the Software Factory meant a technical, as well as cultural, shift to the cloud: all teams work on the same platform, tools enable large systems to be broken down into smaller, independent parts, and agile development practices are used to push new features into production at a rapid pace, ensuring secure practices are followed from the outset. In fact, Valle suggests that DevSecOps may be the best term to describe where the Software Factory is going. The DevSecOps approach aims to integrate security testing and correction into the continuous, rapid-release process, both procedurally and by building up security testing and fault-fixing skills within the development team itself – essentially, doing away with separate security-testing teams. So far, three of the NCI Agency’s app-development teams transitioned to the new Software Factory environment in 2018. “These were used to iron out initial problems and demonstrate the practicalities of governance and management in the cloud,” Valle says. Since then, 40 other teams and a total of 450 software engineers have moved to the Factory’s cloud platforms, and 10 more teams, with more than 350 software engineers from NATO and industry, are in the pipeline.

Exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2020 (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

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Each year, the NCI Agency welcomes entrants to its NITEC Innovation Challenge, with the winner announced at its annual flagship conference. This year has been a little different, partly because of the unique conditions thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because the NCI Agency wanted to take an alternative approach this time around. Mike Bryant asks the NCI Agency’s Ives Tuyaerts and Michael Kroener to explain

“The first task was to decide the theme of this year’s Challenge,” explains The Hague-based Ives Tuyaerts, Engineering Branch Chief for Air and Missile Defence at the NCI Agency. He was one of the subject-matter experts who sat



on the Challenge’s judging panel. He and many of his colleagues brainstormed several potential themes, considering where the NCI Agency might most usefully adopt fresh ideas from academia, tech start-ups or innovative small and




The 2020 NITEC Innovation Challenge focused on radars and the potential for leveraging technologies used in other fields to provide a clear picture of air and space (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

medium-sized enterprises into its own thinking and its own operations. Fundamental to the rationale of the Innovation Challenge is to work with such institutions and businesses, to leverage their ideas into NCI Agency processes to enable it to meet its goals more effectively in the future. It became clear during those internal discussions that one area where further innovation might be possible is in the field of radar and the creation of a ‘picture’ of the air and space environment from the data that radars help generate. While this field has developed significantly over time, those improvements have been incremental.


Tuyaerts and his colleagues saw an opportunity to consider the potential for leveraging technology used in other applications in other

industries to “turn data into information”, to use emerging and maturing technologies to remove clutter from the data provided by various NATO radars in order to develop a clear air and space picture. Moreover, says Tuyaerts, “This year we took the opportunity to cast a wider net. We were more open and welcomed an especially wide diversity of ideas from small businesses and academia. They ranged from long-term research and development proposals to more pragmatic technologies to improve the NATO C2 (command and control) environment.” Tuyaerts was particularly impressed by the highly innovative nature of the ideas put forward as part of the Challenge. This is, perhaps, partly attributable to the multi-disciplinary nature of those who put forward concepts.

Many of the ideas that made it through to the final selection process applied artificial intelligence (AI) as a key concept. AI can be used to remove the many false detections that radars can generate (flocks of birds, for example), or it can be used to fine-tune radars to cope with prevailing operating conditions (changing air pressure or weather variables, for example). AI could also be used to consolidate the data provided by multiple distributed radars in order to improve the way in which a cloud of inputs can be distilled into a coherent, single, integrated view of the skies. Tuyaerts and his colleagues – such as Michael Kroener, a Principal System Engineer at the NCI Agency with extensive experience in radar processing and integration – want to find, in their words, new solutions for old problems. “The continuous

Major General Göksel Sevindik, NCI Agency Chief of Staff, addresses the NITEC Connect virtual conference (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

process (there were initially more than 20 proposals submitted) were invited to pitch their proposals at this year’s virtual NCI Agency conference, ‘NITEC Connect’, which was held on 4 and 5 November. A question-and-answer session followed each pitch, with the same panel of judges that had assessed the proposals: a panel of

“We were more open and welcomed an especially wide diversity of ideas” evolution of computer science requires the continuous validation of existing solutions and fielded products with respect to their efficiency and effectiveness,” explains Kroener. This NITEC challenge was the perfect platform to gain a better overview of emerging products and trends. And, as one of the judges, Kroener comments, “From the outset it was clear that the ultimate winner of the Challenge would be NATO.” The eight concepts that successfully made it past the first filtering

NCI Agency experts in the radar field that incorporated both Tuyaerts and Kroener. The panel was geographically dispersed – many of them in Belgium or the Netherlands – just as those presenting their ideas delivered their pitches remotely. The virtual nature of ‘NITEC Connect’ actually offered new opportunities, Tuyaerts believes. What is more, “There are upsides to having a virtual Innovation Challenge. We fast-tracked the usual engagement process to



encourage academia and small businesses to get involved and begin a conversation with NATO.” He doesn’t rule out this virtual methodology for the Innovation Challenge extending into the post-pandemic ‘new normal’. Either way, “We are learning a lot all the time as the NCI Agency innovates in this difficult period,” just as the Innovation Challenge is all about investigating how different technologies can be leveraged to help NATO itself innovate.

AND THE WINNERS ARE… The Innovation Challenge evaluation panel chose three winners from the eight proposals at NITEC Connect, making its decision based on criteria such as innovation, implementation feasibility and cost-effectiveness. The panel was made up of subject matter experts from NATO and AFWERX, a United States Air Force organization focused on innovation. The eight ideas came from Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Turkey, and the winners who will go on to collaborate with the NCI Agency to take their ideas forward and test them within a NATO scenario are: Aselsan, ERA a.s. and Reticle Ventures Canada Incorporated in partnership with



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.



David Hayhurst asks Cristina Palacios Camarero, the NCI Agency’s Director of Interoperability for Steadfast Cobalt, and NCI Agency exercise planner, Miroslav Michev, to reveal how COVID-19 introduced an even more challenging set of conditions in which to plan and conduct NATO exercises

Working within a very strict timeline, Cristina Palacios Camarero, the NCI Agency’s Director of Interoperability for Steadfast Cobalt, oversees the implementation of the four-phased approach that she and her team have created to plan, conduct, collate and evaluate the more than 12,000 tests conducted during Steadfast Cobalt. These tests involve dispersed teams and units, including national and multinational units and headquarters, in the Alliance’s biggest and most ambitious annual CIS exercise.


First held in 2010, the annual Steadfast Cobalt exercise is unique within NATO, with an unparalleled set of challenges. Its two main objectives are to validate and verify the C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) services used by the NATO Response Force (NRF); and enable NATO and the Member Nations to verify the interoperability and maximize the effectiveness of the Federated Mission Networking (FMN) initiative.

With the aid of a purpose-developed and optimized tool suite, the exercise’s main objectives are to ensure that tested systems are fully interoperable and, critically, ready for immediate use if the NRF were to be activated. Palacios Camarero and her team have striven to create a consistent, repeatable methodology for performing interoperability assessments.

STEP ONE – PLAN At Steadfast Cobalt’s planning phase prior to final design approval, two questions are paramount for the NCI Agency Interoperability team, Service Management Authority and all other participants: “Are we building the right services?” and “Are we building the services right?”, explains Palacios Camarero. This year, the system faced its biggest test to date, with COVID-19 restrictions forcing all tests to be conducted in a distributed, virtual environment. When the COVID-19 crisis hit Europe, “we were at the end of the planning cycle,” says Palacios Camarero. “Of course, we needed to think completely differently in the way we were going to conduct the exercise. Almost none of the participants were ready to run the exercise from their peacetime locations. All of us had to make big changes to the way we operate, even to the capabilities we had in the office.”

Dispersed teams and units carried out thousands of tests during Exercise Steadfast Cobalt (PHOTOS: NCISG/NCI AGENCY)

Although Palacios Camarero feels that most of the biggest problems were successfully addressed prior to, and during, this year’s exercise, in her opinion, the



biggest challenges have concerned how the collective Steadfast Cobalt team have been forced to interact in this new environment.

STEP 2 – CONDUCT “In previous years, after the planning cycle and during the execution, we interacted face to face with other participants, where problems are resolved much quicker as understanding is built much faster,” explains Palacios Camarero. In an environment where most participants are not communicating in their native languages, things like body language take on added importance and “this is missing when communication only happens online, plus there is no easy way to see what they see,” she says. For NCI Agency exercise planner Miroslav Michev, the challenges faced in implementing Steadfast Cobalt virtually presented a unique and timely opportunity to “field test“ some of the exercise’s most innovative technical aspects.


“Redesigning and executing Steadfast Cobalt virtually for the first time, drastically changed our course of action. This brought on board one of the newest concepts: the Remote Network Module,” reveals Michev. The module is a set of equipment (routers, switches, crypto devices) which allows NATO users to perform operations and exercise from an unclassified domain to NATO and mission secret domains. Specifically designed for Steadfast Cobalt, each module permits an unprecedented degree of remote connectivity – and flexibility – among all exercise participants.

Six Remote Network Modules were deployed in support of NRF units all over Europe. And, while this created some headaches for the CIS Sustainment Support Centre in Brunssum, the new module solution has led to “a new approach in building the exercise’s network architecture”, compared with how CIS assets would be deployed in support of Steadfast Cobalt in previous years. Steadfast Cobalt 2020 also tested two other new capabilities, including one providing satellite communications with jamming-resistant links.

STEPS 3 & 4 – COLLATE & EVALUATE Hopefully, organizational, technical and other lessons learned from Steadfast Cobalt 2020 will prove their value in next year’s exercises, which will also be conducted remotely. Palacios Camarero highlights the lessons learned from this extraordinary exercise and how they will impact on future Steadfast Cobalt exercises (and perhaps others too, at least in the short term), “I think we learned very important lessons about running an event of this size in a distributed manner. Things take longer and require more effort. Coordination is even more important. We also need to adjust the expectations of what the exercise can deliver in this setting, due to all the new factors. We need to get a better understanding of ‘what is the art of possible’, given the timeframe and the way the exercise is conducted.”


Using Augmented Reality in the field

Alan Dron asks Paul Oling of the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Christian Coman, NCI Agency Principal Scientist, how Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence are helping field operatives get the best information possible from the scene of an improvised explosive device (IED) attack Military personnel arriving at an IED blast site, or specialists performing military search tasks, often have to deal with confusion, even chaos. Adversaries increasingly utilize improvised, commercial technologies and rapidly change their modus operandi and techniques throughout the duration of a campaign. Identifying, collecting and exploiting IED objects, components or remnants in the non-permissive environment of warfare consequently becomes ever more challenging. To assist specialists dealing with this problem, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (NLD-MOD) is funding a National Technology Project that makes use of Augmented Reality (AR) to help specialists during the collection and exploitation of materiel. In addition, as part of a related NATOfunded project, the NLD-MOD - assisted by NCI Agency specialists – is investigating the possibility of automatically detecting objects of interest. Both projects fall within the remit of Paul Oling, NLD-MOD project manager and PhD candidate at the Netherlands Defence Academy. Oling is engaged part-time with the NCI Agency’s Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) team as a Visiting Researcher, focusing on how to facilitate the continuous absorption of technology in military intelligence practices. 93


“They don’t have extensive experience of technical exploitation”

Project EyeCatch-Concept (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

The NCI Agency has previously worked in the Augmented Reality (AR) domain and supported the Italian Ministry of Defence in evolving a soldier modernization programme, which focused on wearable computing. As part of this activity, Google Glass technology was integrated with the Agency-developed reporting tool JOCWatch in order to display information about past IED events in the proximity of the dismounted soldier through AR notifications in the user’s field of view. “First responders are trying to collect evidence from a site but most of them will probably be junior analysts,” explains NCI Agency Principal Scientist, Cristian Coman. 94

The combination of AR and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will “help to identify the important things that need to be collected from the area and to provide guidance in doing so, either by showing the individual specialist which object to collect, or by sending a video stream to remote specialists in the command centre, who will be able to analyse the information and help the specialist on site to decide what objects to collect. One method we’re investigating is that the first responder going into the location will have a camera connected to a system that is able to detect and recognise objects. The software is trained to recognise certain objects and suggest to the specialist which items might be of interest,” explains Coman. After recognizing an object of interest – in this example, part of an IED – the specialist is instructed on how to safely collect the specimen or render it safe using AR. This is done by displaying specific information related to the object, using AR. The same technology can be exploited after it has been collected and is being subjected to further investigation at an in-theatre laboratory. When, for example, a circuit board is being examined, AR can be used to give the investigator step-by-step instructions on the actions they should take by indicating the exact location on the circuit board to undertake a procedure.

Furthermore, partially-concealed objects can also be identified and marked by placing a square around them in the goggles. Objects are automatically 3D-scanned and the operator’s hand movements are monitored to enable easier reporting and evaluation of the situation in which an object was found and how it was handled during collection. The project to bring AR into operational use is currently at the experimental stage. “For us, the most important step now is to provide our users with a use-case specific

overview of the possibilities of AR and Artificial Intelligencein their domain,” reveals Oling. “The main goal in our project is not to come up with a working product, but a mature demonstrator, to show the community what is possible with these technologies.


AR goggles can also assist a military search unit in creating better situational awareness. The Netherlands Ministry of Defence project currently focuses on using AR and its sensors to automatically generate a map of the search location simply by walking around wearing a pair of Microsoft Hololens 2 smart glasses. Using that same map, a commander can task their unit to search specific rooms – their orders being visible to each individual specialist in AR goggles. As eye-tracking sensors are included in the device, the specialist in the room is assisted by being notified which areas of that room they have not yet paid attention to. This is done by marking the area in their field of vision.


In our experience, when you create a demonstrator that is use-case specific, it becomes much easier for users to envision the useability and – perhaps even more importantly – the organizational and doctrinal impact of that technology.”





ACCESSIBLE Jenny Beechener asks the NCI Agency’s Head of Human Resources, Marieke Obdam and Acting Health and Safety Advisor, José Méndez, what initiatives have been launched to make the Agency a more inclusive and accessible place to work.


Actions to revise the Agency’s recruitment strategy began in 2019; for example, adding women to all selection panels wherever possible, and introducing more gender-neutral language in job descriptions and vacancy notices. “Our culture is very diverse, but is it inclusive?” asks NCI Agency Human Resources Head, Marieke Obdam. “We are in the process of rolling out inclusion training to about 60 hiring managers, so they are aware of their own unconscious bias and how it might impact their hiring.” The HR department is also designing targets using diversity score cards and key performance indicators. “There is a whole range of diversity measures, including gender, nationality and more. We need to set targets for these,” says Obdam. The ongoing work includes benchmarking with other NATO organizations and IT companies. “The Agency hires people from all NATO nations and diverse IT organizations such as Google and Amazon, so we need to be as compatible as possible, while also being realistic about what we can offer and achieve in the NATO environment.”


In October 2020, the NCI Agency released its two-year action plan on enhancing diversity and inclusion. The plan combines separate NATO-wide initiatives and includes the development of a diversity and inclusion policy by the NCI Agency’s Human Resources (HR) department to support the Agency’s strategy to ‘hire, train and retain a diverse, world-class tech-savvy workforce’.

As NATO’s technology arm, the NCI Agency focuses on technical and digital innovation and needs its employees to “think outside the box”. In addition to recruitment, the Agency is addressing the workplace environment “to make this a better place for a more diverse pool of people,” explains Obdam. The pandemic has accelerated the process, compelling the Agency to adopt more flexible working practices. “It is less about coming into the office, and more about results. This is a big step for NATO and shows trust in our staff.” In 2021, the NCI Agency will introduce a new matrix structure designed to increase job mobility within the organization and expand opportunities to learn and gain experience. The appointment of a new Chief Technology Officer, tasked with addressing technology skills and future needs and a NATO-wide salary structure, will allow easier transfer between grades and NATO



Health and safety initiatives include quiet rooms, equipped with a fridge for nursing mothers, and wheelchair access and disabled toilets on every office floor (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

organizations and reward skills, as well as experience and qualifications. This is to be welcomed as the policy related to these parameters has changed little since the 1950s. “We want to offer an experience where you can be trained and have a longer career, and not necessarily have to return to your home nation to progress.”

toilets on every office floor. Facilities will see further improvement following the move to refurbished offices in The Hague in March 2021. Acting Health and Safety Advisor José Méndez says, “NATO is evolving to meet workplace requirements – for example, maintaining a dedicated emergency response team and providing evacuation chairs at the Hague site.”

INTERNSHIPS AND MENTORING Age diversity is another focus area, aimed at encouraging more youngsters to join the Agency. The programme includes internship and emerging talent (graduate) programmes and direct contact with universities. Among items within the Diversity & Inclusion action plan, the NCI Agency is looking to implement a mentorship programme, and to introduce a coaching culture across the organization. NCI Agency General Manager Kevin Scheid introduced the Agency’s first Ethics Day in October 2020, supported by a new Ethics Community of Practice and online dialogue called ‘Let’s talk ethics’. Further new activity includes e-learning training for staff to address cultural and working differences, and the launch of prevention of harassment training for all staff, also delivered online by the HR team.


The NCI Agency is also addressing underrepresentation of staff with disabilities and improving support for working mothers. Health and safety initiatives include the addition of quiet rooms, equipped with a fridge for nursing mothers, and wheelchair access and disabled

WORKING FROM HOME In recent months, the Health and Safety team have been fully occupied with changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the move to home working, and advising on ergonomic issues. Many staff took their monitor, keyboard and mouse home temporarily, and the Agency encouraged online chat rooms so that employees could ‘meet’ for coffee. “We shared information about teleworking and provided support for home working,” says Méndez. “As NATO’s communications facilitator, the NCI Agency is ahead of many other organizations, and we are used to working across several different locations”. A new Teleworking Directive is currently under review and will include more modern and flexible ways of working for Agency staff in the future. The health and safety team are now being trained in ISO 45001 occupational health and safety standards, aimed at improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks and creating better, safer working conditions. “We want the organization to develop in line with this international standard,” says Méndez.


ELIMINATING ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION IN STEM Kave Bulambo, Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity and Inclusion at SmartRecruiters and founder of My Career Path, explains to Simon Michell why there is still an imbalance of diversity in the tech sector and how she is trying to help others break through the barriers Why do some ethnicities find it hard to break into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs?


The complex answer is that the reason is systemic and structural. The more digestible answer as to why minorities and women struggle to break into the tech sector is due to the historical context of accessibility to good primary education that strengthens




“Many companies have acknowledged that having a degree is not necessary to be able to work in tech” mathematical and scientific knowledge. This is particularly true when you take into consideration the recent era when a computer science degree was the first entry prerequisite. Without a strong background in mathematics and science, many girls and boys of colour couldn’t get into computer science or STEM programmes at university – and so began the gap in employment. Let’s consider it a ripple effect. The few women and minorities who did manage to get through their degrees and find employment ended up working in a majoritywhite-male environment, coupled with toxicity and unwelcoming values for both women and minorities. And, so often, the only option left was to quit. Let me say that this is still the norm in some organizations. Fast-forward to the 21st century, where many companies have acknowledged that having a degree – let alone a computer science degree – is not necessary to be able to work in tech. Even Google scrapped degrees recently as part of their requirements. Now, we are seeing a surge of underrepresented talent looking to break into tech careers.



What types of STEM jobs are the hardest/easiest to get into?

The area where I have had the hardest struggle A to attract candidates is in back-end engineering, where software is developed to operate behind the scenes of a website. DevOps (software development and IT operations) and IT infrastructure, where engineers build, test and maintain tools and infrastructure to enable rapid software development and release, are also difficult.

The easiest roles to fill have been front-end development for creating websites that are easy to use and interact with. Full stack engineering, user experience design, user interface design and mobile development (both iOS and Android) are also relatively easy, as are data science and analytics. You should also remember that the tech industry is always evolving and there are roles that are available now that we couldn’t have predicted five years ago. I presume the future will be the same. My advice is to focus on where the most innovation is being carried out. For example, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, self-driving cars, smart gadgets – in fact, smart everything – not to mention energy technology. The list goes on. My recommendation is to identify what problem you would like to solve, coupled with what inspires and motivates you as an individual, and figure out which technology is being used to solve that particular issue. The learning will be fun and worthwhile.


How can you help people break through the barriers?

As a ‘talent acquisition’ specialist and someone who has coached many young professionals through their careers – 90% of whom are women and people of colour – I always want to see professionals do what they love. This often turns out to be what they are really excellent at. Technically, I am at the sharp end of the funnel, I assist in the knowledge of building a successful career and finding a job while, at the same time, building relationships with companies that



Young people network and acquire valuable information at a tech careers event (PHOTOS: SMARTRECRUITERS)


How successful is your approach to the challenge?

Personally, I believe that anyone who invests in their own betterment, whether that is careerwise or in any other area of life, will succeed. So far, we have made great strides in building strong minority communities. I have also seen many young professionals preparing themselves really well in order to be able to better serve organizations with their expanding skill set, which is really inspiring.


would be keen to take up such incredible talent. The middle of the funnel – the very important part of upskilling – is where professionals from minority backgrounds can push through. Constantly, one needs to be a step ahead in terms of tech trends, as well as a strong relationship-builder. As they say, your network is your net worth. We have also built many communities for support and networking for women and minorities, such as BlackinTechBerlin and Women in Data, which we renamed Women and Work Connect to be more inclusive. We also added a platform to facilitate the hiring of diverse talent in Europe – Here, candidates can sign up to find jobs in tech above and beyond engineering, and companies can register to hire from the talent pool.

The biggest challenge remains accessibility to the actual job or opportunity for newcomers and minorities in tech. This has everything to do with the structures within organizations and how candidates’ assessments are done. At the moment, they mostly focus on ‘must haves’ instead of ‘must achieves’. I think it’s important for companies and teams to focus on ‘must achieve’ because you can track performance on the job, you can give feedback and then review. ‘Must haves’ don’t even offer you a chance for an interview. This is where the conversation on diversity and inclusion begins. Companies need to be better at creating inclusive hiring processes and promoting a healthy and safe culture of belonging, so the talented individuals they attract don’t leave.





FOSTERING INNOVATION Sue Garland asks Anita Woolley, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, why it is important for technology developers to foster an environment of diversity and inclusion to come up with the best technical solutions



Since 2008, Anita Woolley has been a faculty member at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, where their goal is to ‘Be the business school of the future’, equipping aspiring business leaders with vital skills on the 140-acre campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

addressing the Black Lives Matter movement and acknowledges the need for systemic change at local and national level. “We are training analytical leaders to make good decisions and collaborate in all forms of diverse environments,” says Woolley. “Not only race and gender diversity, but disciplinary diversity, so people come at problems with different sets of tools and perspectives.”

“Our school prides itself on educating analytical leaders with the quantitative skills and the associated technological skills to handle the newest generations of technology,” explains Woolley. “We teach them the collaboration skills involved in being a leader that are critical for the future of organizations: how they work in teams; how they manage decision-making processes; how they bring together diverse sets of people to collaborate effectively.”

Does she recognise the link between fostering innovation and the diversity imperative? “Yes. Absolutely,” she says. “Diverse teams are more creative, which is at the core of innovation. Extant research shows that more diverse teams are better at solving problems. If you take a homogeneous but high-ability team versus a diverse but average-ability team, you get much better problem-solving in the diverse team,” explains Woolley.

Diversity is at the core of the Tepper School’s approach. Tepper Together pledges ‘Commit to Change’ in

Woolley and her team have produced a working paper, ‘Cognitive Versatility: A New Lens for Understanding



Research has demonstrated that diverse teams are more adept at solving problems

Team Composition and Diversity’, including co-authors Ishani Aggarwal and Marco Molinaro, which is under review at a leading management journal. “We are looking at people who are cognitively versatile. These are people who can adopt more than one thinking style, and we examine how they can help diverse groups of people who have different cognitive styles. Highly diverse teams perform

and provides one pathway for how to facilitate high functioning in diverse organizations.”

DIVERSITY IN TECH The ‘tech’ world remains a tough challenge. In June 2019, published ‘The future of diversity and inclusion in tech – Where the industry needs to go from here’. Author Megan Rose Dickey commented that Silicon

“Your team needs to be as diverse as the customers you serve” more effectively with these cognitively versatile people in them. This parallels observations from work in cultural diversity.


“Having bicultural people (ie people who have lived in two different countries) on a culturally diverse team helps collaboration. Similarly, when you have someone in a functionally diverse group who has experience in more than one discipline or function, it facilitates the process of the group and their ability to communicate effectively. Recruiting or cultivating these people is key

Valley remains a predominantly white, male industry, notoriously bad at welcoming and celebrating people from diverse backgrounds. “A lot of fundamental changes have to happen to reverse that,” responds Woolley. “More universities are paying attention to the pipeline issue. Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science Department is one of the best in the world and now graduates over 50% female students.” Woolley rises to her subject: “Organizations have the responsibility to hire, mentor, promote and develop their people. That requires

a whole bunch of systemic change. I cannot fathom how a technologybased industry can innovate without having a level of diversity that reflects its user base, which is everybody! If I were an investor, I would be looking closely at the companies taking this seriously, because they are going to be more successful.” Woolley believes diversity is about fairness and quality. “Your team needs to be as diverse as the customers you serve. If you are trying to innovate and meet the needs of a particular customer or set of recipients and your level of diversity does not reflect their level of diversity, you’re not going to understand their needs or embrace and solve their problems. Fundamental to technology and its use is understanding human users – what their problems are, how they are going to use things, what works for them.” In a year of polarization, does she think the diversity agenda is at risk? “The current political climate certainly stokes the tension around diversity,” she reflects. “But my reading of the public mood is that increasing numbers of people see we need to embrace diversity. It is going to take some time for people to understand and get comfortable with all they need to do to make that happen.”


BUILDING A COMMUNITY ACROSS BORDERS COVID-19 has changed the way we operate at the NCI Agency. The struggles to feel connected, while battling feelings of isolation, are being felt on a collective basis, but working from home has also created new opportunities to stay connected. Marie-Laetitia Leynen of the NCI Agency’s Civilian Staff Association’s (CSA) explains how the CSA has been proactive in engaging with staff members to better foster a sense of community across the Agency. Michael Linennen reports

“I believe that the cohesiveness of the community is really important. The more cohesive the community, the better you can work within the organization,” says Marie-Laetitia Leynen, the NCI Agency’s Civilian Staff Association’s (CSA) spokesperson and the local CSA representative in Torrejón, Spain. She continues, “The diversity of our staff from different nations plays an important role in fostering that sense of PHOTO: JULIE DE BELLAING

community in NATO.”



The NCI Agency’s staff are spread across 28 different countries, not only at NATO HQ, making coordination a challenge (PHOTOS: NCI AGENCY)

Leynen started the Civilian Staff Association in Torrejón back in 2014, when she joined the Agency. Previously, she worked at Supreme

encouraged creativity and new ways of collaboration. The geographical spread of the Agency has become less of an issue.”

Allied Command Transformation Staff Element Europe (SACTSEE) in Mons, Belgium. While there, she saw how the CSA played a crucial role in engaging with, and exchanging information between, staff and management.

CSA representatives act as strategic partners to management to ensure that staff concerns are communicated effectively. COVID-19 inevitably brought on confusion across the Agency – many concerns were raised by staff on a range of topics, including contracts, medical coverage and the Agency’s COVID-19 response. To enhance communication efforts, the CSA has a Community of Practice (CofP) platform to keep staff aware of new information and issues that are being addressed to management. It is a collaborative platform where staff can share concerns and suggest new ideas among their colleagues across the Agency to help weather this pandemic together.


“The NCI Agency is the biggest NATO Agency, with a wide spread of different locations,” Leynen points out. “The COVID-19 crisis has

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY During this pandemic, Leynen has been checking in with her colleagues to see how they are coping. She believes it is important to have an open line of communication with her team, not only to share information, but to also check on their well-being. “It’s more like a family here,” Leynen says. “Feeling part of a community not only offers opportunities for employees to interact outside of their formal functions, but also encourages a sense of ownership in the collective efforts to suggest

new ideas to improve the working environment. We are all committed and proud to work for NATO.” The CSA has also been taking part in the COVID-19 task force to engage with the Agency’s General Manager and Human Resources department, passing concerns from their colleagues directly to the management. “The fact that we are all situated in 28 locations makes coordination a challenge, but the willingness of the leadership to include CSA representatives in the decisionmaking process motivates us all and shows that our work is recognised,” says Leynen. “We do not underestimate the power of change on a small scale to inspire change more broadly.”

With a staff of over 3,000 personnel from nearly all NATO’s 30 nations, everyone brings different cultural and work experiences to the Agency. The CSA has also been involved in the Agency’s recruitment process to ensure that the process is fair and unbiased, and to prevent discrimination. Having an independent panel member ensures absolute transparency and fairness during the recruitment process. Leynen takes her role seriously as she believes diversity and equal opportunities are core values of NATO. “Diversity and inclusion are really part of NATO’s DNA,” Leynen insists. “All individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and are able to contribute fully to the organization’s success.” Leynen reveals that the Agency makes substantial efforts to roll out coherent processes


While most of the Agency’s staff are working from home, the usual opportunities for informal, in-person conversations are not possible

“The NCI Agency is the biggest NATO Agency, with a wide spread of different locations” across all Agency locations. In her role as the local CSA representative in Torrejón, Leynen helps to localize these processes and serves as a useful sounding board to identify areas that will work best with staff. With most of the Agency staff working from home, Leynen does miss the in-person conversation over lunch with her colleagues. However, with many tasks being completed virtually and in a more independent manner, she has found that more people are reaching out to connect and asking for support.

Leynen and the CSA have been coming up with new ideas to make resources easily available for staff, and to facilitate better engagement; a step towards accomplishing this includes expanding the CSA CofP with more overarching topics and concerns. She hopes that this platform will help to get more Agency staff to be more engaged in creating a better workplace. “We are all in the same boat,” declares Leynen. “Being a part of the NATO family is fostering a sense of community on its own.”



5 THINGS YOU NEED TO WORK FROM HOME Chris Aaron examines the mass movement to home-working after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, to unearth the five key things we all need to be a successful teleworker In October 2020, NITECH launched a quick online survey to find out how people had fared with working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey explored those factors that had helped the respondents to adapt to working remotely, and the major problems they encountered. It also asked for an assessment of their performance when working remotely, and whether they would prefer a return to the office once lockdowns are ended. Although the survey was small and by no means representative, it did however reveal some interesting results. The headline figure is that the vast majority of male respondents (80%) and well over half of female respondents (62%) would prefer to continue working mainly from home once the pandemic is over. Also, most of the respondents (78%) thought their work performance had benefited from home-working.

1: HOME OFFICE Chairs are a crucial factor in adapting to home-working. First, you need one. Then it needs to be sturdy and supportive. Your homeworking chair will be your best friend. Buy a good one. This principle extends to the workspace generally: a dedicated working environment with a good desk, chair, computer, monitor, headphones and fast internet connection were the top recommendations from almost all respondents. If you are working on your smartphone on a bar stool in the kitchen, it’s time to ask if you have really thought this through. 108

2: HOME/WORK DELINEATION But the dedicated workspace goes way beyond the physical. One of the big problems cited by respondents was in dividing work from other activities: “the absence of a home/work delineation”, as one respondent put it. Many respondents also raised the lack of face-to-face social and work communication with colleagues as being a negative aspect of remote working. All these issues can possibly be thought of as reflecting an overall issue of ‘identity’: if we adopt a ‘work persona’ in the office that is different to our ‘home persona’, home working might be expected to mess with our psychology. The commute, the office, the office space, our own desk, our interactions with colleagues (which are very different from our interactions with family) may all support our ‘work persona’; take these away and the transition from ‘home persona’ to ‘work persona’ and back becomes messy. The dedicated, decorated, time-limited workspace thus becomes not only a functional performance issue, but also one of psychological importance.

3: COLLABORATION TOOLS Videoconferencing, file-sharing, and collaboration tools that work seamlessly are the meeting room and water cooler of the lockdown era. It is interesting how many respondents mentioned the importance of holding regular, purely social video meets with teams/divisions, in addition to the taskbased conferences. Also, organisational help with



setting up these remote systems and training personnel in their use was raised as important, especially to avoid the disruption caused by a participant who does not know how to switch on his/her microphone or share a file.

4: TRAINING The responses to the NITECH investigation reflect the findings of some wider surveys that have been conducted in recent months. The UK’s British Council for Offices reported in September that around 60% of their members planned to mix home and office working in future, with only around 30% planning a return to the office full-time. An April 2020 survey of US knowledge workers by Slack includes an interesting explanation of the sectors that are most adaptable to remote working. Education and healthcare services are shown to be the least adaptable sectors. A PwC survey (US Remote Work Survey) of US executives and workers in June showed that 72% of workers want to work from home at least two days a week in future, and 55% of employers anticipate such new patterns of work. This survey concluded that helping workers to set up effective home-working equipment, and giving them systems to manage work-time scheduling, would be important considerations for companies in future, and that education, training and collaboration on creative problem-solving may be the main reasons for being in the office in future.


Swap your internet fibre cable for an old modem (to avoid unnecessary VTC meetings)

Outsource parenting

Tell your team your microphone and camera do not work

5: THE CLOUD It seems that the cloud may become a metaphor for how people work, as well as the technology that connects and empowers them. Staff may disperse to their homes or other remote workspaces for much of the week, then concentrate in particular places and times to collaborate in activities such as creative problem-solving, training and formulating policies. It will be interesting to see whether there is a rise in demand for community workspaces as more staff opt to work remotely most of the week, but seek to maintain a work-home divide. Also, might there be a rise in job-sharing, as collaborative tools and systems make the transference of workloads easier, and each worker is having to invest less time in commuting? 110

Invest in a remotely-controlled mouse so your computer doesn’t go on standby mode

Put yourself on DO NOT DISTURB all day



But if you do, always wash your hands and practice social distancing.

Photo: Thiago Melo

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24/11/2020 12:16