NITECH: NATO Innovation and Technology – Issue 7

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NITECH NATO Innovation and Technology A transformational decade

Ten years of supporting NATO and the Nations

Partnerships and collaboration

Years Special Anniversary Edition


Retaining top talent

| JULY 2022


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NITECH NATO Innovation and Technology

ISSUE 7 | JULY 2022

Editors Adelina Campos de Carvalho, Simon Michell Project Manager Andrew Howard Editorial Director Emily Eastman Art Direction Dorena Timm, Errol Konat Layout Billy Odell, Sarah Chivers Contributing Photographers Marcos Fernandez Marin, Conrad Dijkstra, Francesc Nogueras Sancho Cover Errol Konat

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

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© 2022. The views and opinions, expressed by independent (non-NATO) authors, contributors and commentators in this publication, are provided in their personal capacities and are their sole responsibility. Publication thereof, does not imply that they represent the views or opinions of the NCI Agency, NATO or Global Media Partners (GMP) and must neither be regarded as constituting advice on any matter whatsoever, nor be interpreted as such. References in this publication to any company or organization, as well as their products and services, do not constitute or imply any direct or indirect endorsement, recommendation or preference by the NCI Agency, NATO or GMP. Furthermore, the reproduction of advertisements in this publication does not in any way imply endorsement by the NCI Agency, NATO or GMP of products or services referred to therein.



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Forewords and introduction A HISTORY OF


09 Ten years of the NCI Agency

The NCI Agency’s acting Chief Operating NCI Officer, Ludwig Decamps, General Manager, Agency



Eric Lièvre, offers an update on how NATO’s Trust Fund initiatives have been supporting Ukraine in its hour of need. David Hayhurst reports

NATO’s Madrid Summit: Decisions for the next decade

Launched in 2000, NATO’s Trust Fund initiatives were originally developed within NATO’s highly successful Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. The initial goal was to give NATO a practical means to help Partner countries in Europe, the southern Caucasus region and Central Asia safely destroy their stockpiles of anti-personnel weaponry. The NATO Trust Fund/PfP system has since been expanded to all the Alliance’s Partner countries around the world, whether as recipients or donors. Along with the original goal, Trust Funds today assist in a wide variety of bilateral, defence transformation cooperation efforts. These include converting military bases for civilian use, helping ex-military personnel transition to

civilian life, and a wide array of initiatives strengthening partner nations’ overall defence and security capabilities. The first NATO/PfP Trust Fund project in 2000, providing material help to the Ukrainian government’s efforts in clearing anti-personnel landmines, was seen as a ground-breaking success, demonstrating the Trust Fund concept’s suitability for its rapidly expanding range of applications in the two decades following.

FIVE TRUST FUNDS FOR UKRAINE Responding to the Russia-Ukraine crisis in 2014, NATO Member States initiated five Trust Funds. These were to aid Ukraine in C4 (command, control, communications

Mircea Geoană, Deputy Secretary General, NATO

20 Happy birthday NCI Agency Adelina Campos de Carvalho and Simon Michell, Editors, NITECH

Welcome to NITECH 24 SACT – Transforming the Alliance Général Philippe Lavigne, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation

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A transformational decade 30 The NOR: NATO Office of Resources Anne-Marie Pick, Director, NATO Office of Resources

33 Ready for another 10 years of mission-essential support to NATO Dr Luis Astorga, Chair, Agency Supervisory Board

34 A decade of support Stacy Cummings, General Manager, NATO Support and Procurement Agency

38 Women, peace and security Irene Fellin, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security


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42 View from the Nations: Belgium Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defence, Belgium



Ten years of supporting NATO and the Nations 44 Applying R&D in the field: the Commander’s case Ramon Segura, Principal Scientist, NCI Agency

50 On the air waves Paul Howland, Chief of Command and Control, NCI Agency

56 An Example of Successful Transformational Engagement with Industry and Academia Hermann Wietgrefe, Principal Enterprise Architect, NCI Agency

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59 Ever alert Michael Stoltz, Director of Air and Missile Defence Command and Control, NCI Agency

64 Better, faster, stronger Matt Roper, Chief, Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Centre, NCI Agency

70 Strengthening NATO’s digital backbone Gilles Defourneaux, Principal Programme Management Officer, NCI Agency

Partnerships and collaboration 78 NATO Trust Fund: A history of support to Nations Eric Lièvre, acting Chief Operating Officer, NCI Agency


A growing partnership Alexandre Vitry, Deputy Chief of Acquisition, Procurement and Policy, NCI Agency

84 Enhancing interoperability 73 Shoulder to shoulder with our NATO forces Sylvie Martel, Chief of Operational Analysis, NCI Agency

Major General Frank Schlösser, Commander, NATO Communications and Information Systems Group

90 Persistent surveillance from space Laryssa Patten, Space Portfolio Manager, NCI Agency, and Desirae Martinez, APSS Lead, Allied Command Operations

Retaining top talent 94 The workforce of the future Major General Hans Folmer, Chief of Staff, NCI Agency

99 Embracing change Tania Caeto, Head of Organizational Development and Change, NCI Agency

102 A day in the life of… Irina Barabancea, Contracting Officer, NCI Agency

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Ludwig Decamps, General Manager, NCI Agency

I am honoured to present to you our special anniversary issue of the NATO Innovation and Technology (NITECH) magazine. We are celebrating the first decade of the NCI Agency with this magazine, an issue that means a lot to our staff, and to me as General Manager. You likely know that the NCI Agency was founded in 2012 as a part of a NATO reform, along with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). We are proud to celebrate this historic milestone with NSPA. In this issue, we will take a look back at what we have accomplished, while also looking ahead at the next decade and beyond. Such a focus is timely, as today we are going through some defining moments for the Alliance, from developing the next Strategic Concept, to approving NATO’s landmark strategy on artificial intelligence (AI). I want the Agency to be ready to operate effectively in such an environment. We must be in sync with the reality of today, while simultaneously preparing for the future, and the opportunities and challenges it will bring.



WHAT THE FUTURE MAY LOOK LIKE When it comes to understanding what that future will look like, what is evident is that there is enhanced understanding in our political leadership of what technology can bring. Our leaders in NATO understand how important technology is for the future of the Alliance, and as an Agency, we are committed to supporting their ambitious agenda. This issue coincides with the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain, and the adoption of NATO’s next Strategic Concept. This document is critical for our Alliance. Together with the Washington Treaty which established NATO, the Strategic Concept sets our direction of travel. At the Agency, we have also developed our own Strategic Plan to guide us for the years ahead. In this plan, we make four commitments to: ensure excellence in delivery; hire, train and retain the best; support NATO’s ambitious agenda and build strong and lasting partnerships. Ensuring excellence in delivery is our top priority at the Agency in the years to come, and we know that sophisticated service operations are an important piece of the puzzle. In January, we opened a new facility in Mons, Belgium for the Enterprise Service Operations Centre (ESOC). For the first time, Agency experts delivering services and network technicians will be able to collaborate together in the same space to quickly assist NATO, promptly resolving incidents and better

“We must be in sync with the reality of today, while simultaneously preparing for the future, and the opportunities and challenges it will bring”

The Enterprise Service Operations Centre ensures NATO’s digital services are operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)



The NATO Cyber Security Centre monitors NATO’s networks 24 hours to prevent debilitating attacks (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

monitoring the Alliance’s technology. The Enterprise Service Operations Centre is an essential hub for NATO. Together, experts from across the Agency will work at the new ESOC to ensure NATO’s digital services are operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Constantly refreshing our technology, and making cyber security a continued focus, are critical to supporting NATO’s ambitious agenda. There is a renewed focus on resilience in the Alliance, and the NCI Agency is supporting that work. And as with many organizations, public or private, NATO’s networks face a significant number of threats from a variety of actors – it is the job of our NATO Cyber Security Centre to ensure these networks remain protected. We also support NATO through our NCI Academy which trains NATO and national staff on technology and cyber defence.

BEHIND AN AMBITIOUS AGENDA When it comes to supporting NATO’s ambitious agenda, emerging and disruptive technologies are both a priority and an area of concern. Hand in hand with our partners across the Alliance, we have conducted

technical trials and studies of technologies such as AI, quantum computing and others. We want to make sure that we understand these technologies, but also that we can bring these technologies into NATO and make them available at the appropriate level. In doing this work, we are cognizant of the fact that NATO is not leading the way on these advanced technologies – these advancements are being driven by the private sector. That’s why we develop close partnerships with industry at the Agency, to ensure that we can make such technologies available for use within NATO when they are ready. You may be reading this magazine at NATO Edge, our redesigned flagship event and a place to meet the Agency, learn where NATO is going next and explore possible collaborations with industry, academia and the not-for-profit sector. Thank you for your continued engagement. We hope you enjoy this new format. Without further ado, I will leave you to read this exciting magazine! Don’t miss the contributions of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, and NATO Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoană. I hope you enjoy this issue.




NATO’S MADRID SUMMIT Mircea Geoană, Deputy Secretary General, NATO For more than 70 years, NATO has safeguarded freedom and been the bedrock of security in Europe, continually adapting to a complex and evolving security environment. At the NATO Summit in Madrid in June, Heads of State and Government took decisions to ensure NATO’s continued readiness and resolve to defend all Allies. It is hard to understate the significance of this moment. Russia’s brutal and unjustified war in Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe, caused massive human suffering and risks creating a new reality where fundamental principles are contested by force. This is the most transformative situation in European geopolitics, security and history in more than a generation. In the face of overwhelming Russian force, Ukraine stands defiant. Ukrainian forces are countering the Russian offensive with tremendous courage and professionalism and in many cases pushing back the Russian war machine. NATO’s response has been swift, strong and united. SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) has deployed the NATO Response Force in a deterrence and defence role for the first time in our history. We are significantly reinforcing our presence on the Alliance’s Eastern flank, with 40,000 troops now under NATO Command. Allies and partners continue to step up and provide more financial, humanitarian and military support for Ukraine. We remain steadfast in our determination to oppose Russia’s aggression, aid the government and the people of Ukraine, and defend the security of all Allies. As we respond to the situation in Ukraine, we also face other complex challenges in our security environment that have evolved markedly over the past decade. While China is not an adversary, its international policies present challenges for our security, including state coercion, opaque military modernisation, use of disinformation and its refusal to condemn Russia’s war of aggression. Terrorism continues to present an asymmetrical threat across the Alliance. Emerging and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and hypersonic weapons are




changing the nature of warfare, and we are seeing this play out on the battlefield in Ukraine. Rapid advances in the space and cyberspace domains pose threats that are complex and carry destructive and coercive potential. We need to address these challenges as a matter of priority. All of these challenges will persist and evolve, and it is essential that we address them. That is why leaders endorsed a new Strategic Concept at the Madrid Summit, reaffirming NATO’s values and purpose, and providing a collective assessment of the security environment. The new Strategic Concept offers the Alliance a crucial opportunity to drive forward our political and military adaptation in an era of global competition. We have also seen Nations take landmark national decisions to ensure preparedness to confront the challenges that lie ahead. All Allies are investing significantly more in defence to meet growing military and civil demands to maintain our security. A major focus of this investment will be supporting national, multinational and collective investments in modern military capabilities for deterrence and defence. A critical balance will need to be achieved between opting for off-the-shelf solutions that can quickly be integrated into existing forces, and seeking to design, develop and deliver next-generation systems together with industry. This will include supporting the modernization of NATO’s digital backbone and enabling capabilities in the Information Technology domain, moving NATO into the realm of networked capabilities and multi-domain operations.



Skyline of Madrid from Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas’ Airport (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)

Our new Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) and the NATO Innovation Fund will support these efforts, bringing defence personnel together with the Alliance’s best and brightest start-ups, researchers and technology companies to solve critical defence and security challenges and providing the capital to do it. DIANA will include a network of close to 60 innovation sites across more than 20 NATO Allies - and will reach Initial Operational Capability in 2023. As I reflect back on NATO’s past decade, the gravity of our current circumstances, and the challenges that lie ahead, I am struck by the fact that our most significant achievements have been when we have taken collective action. We are at our best when we work together as an Alliance and with our partners. This includes with industry and academia, which enable us to capitalize on the creativity, innovation and progress that is so essential to safeguarding our freedom and security. As NATO’s principal Information Technology and Consultation, Command and Control provider, the NCI Agency is a key actor. The Agency should be proud of all it has achieved in the past 10 years and the challenges it has overcome. As we look ahead to the next decade, I am confident in the ability of NATO Allies to guide and support the Agency. This will include harnessing the opportunities in service and capability delivery to support NATO’s strategic goals and objectives at greater tempo, scope and scale. The decisions taken by NATO Heads of State and Government in June at the Madrid Summit, at a momentous time in our history, depend on these contributions.


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Adelina Campos de Carvalho, Simon Michell, Editors, NITECH

Simon A lot has changed since the last issue of NITECH, and this special 10th Anniversary Edition certainly reflects that fundamental shift in the Alliance’s posture in Europe.

Adelina Absolutely. As the Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoana, points out in his foreword, Russia’s war against Ukraine is the most transformative situation in European geopolitics, security and history in more than a generation.

Simon That is why the New Strategic Concept discussed by the NATO Heads of State and Government at the Madrid Summit in June is so important. NATO must continue to evolve and transform to face down any potential threats to the Alliance territory.

Adelina And, of course, the NCI Agency will play a vital role in that transformation. The General Manager, Ludwig Decamps, is ready for the challenge and the Agency is committed to supporting NATO’s ambitious agenda. It is going to be a hugely complex technological effort, but I have no doubt that the Agency will step up to the plate as it has since its establishment back in 2012.

Simon On top of excellent service delivery there will be a continued need for innovation. The Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, says as much in his lead article. I quote, “In a world where technological changes continue to accelerate, innovation is a critical enabler and the pathfinder of NATO’s transformation.”


Adelina I totally agree. Fortunately, the NCI Agency is all about innovation. You just have to read some of the articles about game-changing projects our engineers and scientists have led over the past decades, while working for the NCI Agency and its predecessors. They have pioneered some fantastic concepts and systems in areas such as deployed communication systems, air and missile defence, radar technology, mobile communications… 20

Adelina There are some absolutely fascinating accounts in this issue, without a doubt.


Simon I am blown away by the ingenuity and skill that the NCI Agency and its predecessor, NC3A, have shown. Using FM radio signals to track adversary aircraft is absolute genius. Paul Howland’s article, ‘On the Air Waves’, is mind-blowing. Dr Hermann Wietgrefe’s feature on tactical communications and how transforming the way the Agency worked with industry to develop new systems is a must read for anyone in the public sector who engages with industry. I also really like Ramon Segura’s article on how the NCI Agency pioneered the concept of mobile tactical communications in a briefcase.


Simon What really stands out for you though?

Adelina Well, you know me, I am always passionate when it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The ‘Great Resignation’ that followed the Covid-19 pandemic underlined the fact that organizations have to adapt and evolve their cultures if they want to attract and retain staff. That is why I think the new Chief of Staff’s (Major General Hans Folmer’s) article is a must-read feature. As is the article featuring the NCI Agency’s Head of Organizational Development and Change, Tania Caeto, on Embracing Change. It really highlights how organizations will have to transform and how they can manage that process without too much stress.

Simon I agree, both those articles are well worth reading no matter what sort of organization you work in – public or private. Well, it has been a long, challenging journey through the pandemic, and just like so many other people around the Euro-Atlantic region, we have not been able to meet up in person yet for quite a while, but all that is about to change.

Adelina Correct! As you know, the NCI Agency has been running its conferences on a virtual basis to keep that precious engagement with our stakeholders, especially in industry and academia. That is why, it is so exciting to remind all our readers that the NCI Agency’s new flagship event, NATO Edge, takes place between 25 and 27 October at the Lotto Expo in Mons. So, please save the date and come and see us there. 21


The role of digitalisation in the race to net zero efficiency in the military and reduce the environmental footprint of assets, installations, missions, infrastructure and operations through innovative technologies. In response, NATO recently adopted an ambitious Climate Change and Security Action Plan to address such issues.

Sarwar Khan Head of Global Digital Sustainability, BT Legally binding targets and public concern are shaking up sustainability drives across organisations like NATO, bringing digital technology to the forefront of a more environmentally friendly future. On the back of COP26, the race to hit net zero has intensified. Carbon reduction and renewable energy sources are top of NATO’s agenda as governments worldwide steadily increase regulation for organisations around carbon emissions. Net zero targets now cover approximately 90% of the world, and mandatory reporting is shining a spotlight directly on how organisations’ sustainability strategies are contributing to climate targets. For organisations such as NATO, which need to collaborate amongst Alliance Member States, achieving these targets is paramount. Alongside regulatory pressures, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards are also driving NATO to accelerate its efforts at looking at ways to improve energy

Furthermore, sustainability has taken a lead position in the hiring and retention of employees, 71% of millennials1 consider an organisation’s environmental record when deciding on an employer. Facing combined pressure from governments, supplychain partners, employees and the public, NATO needs to get a handle on its emissions and set firm sustainability commitments. A shift to science-based targets What sustainability targets look like is also shifting. Carbon offsetting, once the go-to sustainability solution, is becoming increasingly expensive, and its effectiveness is facing scrutiny. Experts predict that the voluntary carbon market will have to expand substantially – 15-fold by 2030 and 100-fold by 2050 – for us to achieve net zero. We’re seeing more rigorous strategies like the Sciencebased Target Initiative2 (SBTi) starting to take over from a pure carbon offsetting strategy. SBTi is driving ambitious enterprise climate action with targets that illustrate exactly how much and how quickly an organisation needs to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change. With these clearly defined targets for cutting emissions in place, organisations,

such as NATO, know they need to act quickly, but it’s not always clear what the best course of action is on a journey to net zero. Twin transformers – digital technology and sustainability The intersection of digital technologies and sustainability is at the heart of a successful, sustainable organisation. Organisations leveraging digitalisation to enhance technology and sustainability are 2.5x more likely to be among Tomorrow’s Leaders3. Digital transformation can go far beyond optimising operations and creating more agile business models – it’s also a powerful part of the sustainability toolkit. The three digital sustainability levers At the core of any sustainability strategy is the drive to use and waste less at the same time as futureproofing operations so any savings continue in the long term. There are three prime ways that technology can help NATO accelerate its sustainability journey: 1. Minimising energy use On-premise legacy equipment is more energy hungry than a shared, virtualised environment. By retiring these and moving to a secure hybrid cloud environment you also shift to sharing the costs of powering and cooling the infrastructure. Plus, you lose any associated carbon emissions. Capabilities like data centre colocation services from leading providers like Equinix, who are creating innovative sustainable operations, can help improve PUE


also aim to be a circular business ourselves by 2030, with this goal extending to the Alliance through our products and services by 2040. Part of our sustainability initiative involves creating an enabling environment. Our managed services, alongside an ecosystem of partners, seamlessly integrate cloud and digital capabilities. The ecosystem brings a vast array of cloud service providers, partners, suppliers and customers all on-net with their existing BT network, making it easy to access the technology needed to grow a sustainability profile. (power usage effectiveness), enhance access to renewable energy and reduce GHG emissions. 2. Reducing waste A managed service that includes Lifecycle Analysis is an efficient way of creating a circular economy that chooses products that can be reused, repaired and remanufactured. Introducing intelligent network monitoring as part of this can help equipment to operate as efficiently as possible. Identifying a fault early increases the likelihood that it can be fixed remotely, which avoids travel emissions. It also minimises the extra energy consumption that often comes with faulty equipment. What’s more, a circular economy approach will include strategic end-of-life planning, identifying when it’s worth upgrading to more sustainable equipment and when it’s better to extend the lifespan of the asset.

3. Creating a digital workplace Digitalising the workplace is another powerful sustainability driver that can reduce scope 3 travel-related emissions and decrease the resources needed to build and maintain premises. Technology and infrastructure like cloud-based collaboration tools secure both productivity and sustainability, to deliver a great hybrid working experience. At the same time, Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing capabilities can reduce scope 2 GHG emissions by enhancing the efficiency of operational assets and resources. Partnering you towards greater sustainability These three sustainability levers are available to NATO, and we’re committed to helping the Alliance harness them. Our BT Group Manifesto4 outlines our commitment to be net zero by 2030, as well as committing to help our customers save 60m tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030. We 1 2

And we’re proud that our efforts have led to a Platinum rating from EcoVadis, placing us among the top 1% of companies worldwide in terms of social and environmental responsibility. This prestigious award not only evidences our commitment to the environment, social policy and human rights, business ethics and responsible purchasing, but also highlights that we’re a sustainable partner for others looking to build responsible supplier ecosystems.

To find out more about the digital solutions that can drive sustainability in NATO, take a look at 3 The European double up: A twin strategy that will strengthen competitiveness, Accenture, 2021 4



TRANSFORMING THE ALLIANCE NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Général Philippe Lavigne, explains why innovation is not just a process, it is an attitude and a vital aspect of organizational culture



How can innovation help NATO accelerate its transformation? I would start by highlighting that it is imperative

A we accelerate this transformation. Russia’s

aggression in Ukraine dramatically changed the strategic landscape and showed how armed conflict on Euro-Atlantic soil is possible. Innovation is an essential driver for the economic well-being and competitiveness of national economies, especially in developed countries. I would argue that there are clear examples of the “race for global innovation advantage”, in particular in America and China, where the economic aspects of innovation spill over into the geopolitical. For us, innovation is crucial in ensuring NATO’s continuous adaptation of its military instrument of power. Innovation is the best way to maintain and increase our competitive advantage in an ever more challenging political, military and technological landscape. In a world where technological changes continue to accelerate, innovation is a critical enabler and the pathfinder of NATO’s transformation. However, innovation is as much about new products and ways of working as it is about revolutionary or breakthrough ideas. That is why, at Allied Command Transformation (ACT), we understand innovation not only as a process, but also as an attitude – a vital aspect of our organizational culture. It is also why we are willing to question and adapt our processes and undergo organizational change. We not only want to think outside of the box, we also want to create new,

expanded boxes, which would allow us to outclass and outthink our adversaries. Consequently, we empower people to take risks in bringing innovative ideas to life, and to win fast or fail fast by continuously experimenting with new options. Furthermore, to be effective, innovation does not always have to result in breathtaking or radical changes. We encourage our staff to think big and act small and fast in order to scale up and continuously give life to small-scale advanced operational and conceptual experimentations. That way we ensure everyone can innovate in some way.



At ACT, we also create fertile ground for innovations to thrive. For more than 10 years now, ACT Innovation, through its collaborative approach and toolbox, has played a major role in NATO-applied innovation for warfare and capabilities, as recognised by the Nations in 2021 (Innovation Strategy). In doing so, it also informs NATO leaders about the military implications of emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) and fosters adoption of innovation within the Alliance. ACT has been supporting NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges (ESC) division in its Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) endeavour throughout 2021 and is now part of the DIANA tiger team. I am proud that each year, ACT develops and experiments an average of 20 open innovation projects and Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), two open innovation challenges, more than 30 science and technology activities in collaboration with the NCI Agency and the Science and Technology Organization (STO), an ambitious Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) programme of work, multiple operational demonstrations/experimentations within NATO exercises (such as Ramstein Ambition, Dynamic Messenger, Cyber Coalition, CWIX…). Taken together, these multiple small-scale activities inform and allow the rapid de-risking of NATO warfare development and common-funded capability development. In doing so, many ACT Innovation projects also benefit Nations through sustained collaboration with multiple Allies. To summarize, innovation accelerates transformation by providing cheaper, faster, better capabilities and ways of working, thereby enhancing the Alliance’s advantage. But, innovation requires a culture, an infrastructure, and a whole cumulative process of changing and integrating existing capabilities to bring one progressive idea to fruition and scale it up. That is why we not only innovate but create the necessary conditions for innovations and transition to succeed.



The NCI Agency’s Sandbox, commonly known as “Sandi”, provides a secure classified development and maintenance environment for Artificial Intelligence systems (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency

Q and the NCI Agency were created 10 years

ago. How have they supported ACT and contributed to NATO’s transformation? How do you see this collaboration evolving in the coming decade?

A Among the wider NATO innovation community,


which has collaborated with ACT on its “innovation journey” since 2012, The NCI Agency has been one of our main partners, along with NATO STO. In particular, the NCI Agency and ACT have collaborated towards adopting industry best practices for the agile leveraging of technologies since 2019. ACT-led projects such as TEXAS, JIGSAW, and Project Aware, have benefited from the NCI Agency’s Sandbox, a framework of agile implementation processes that allowed for significantly shorter timelines compared to more traditional

development frameworks. These projects also allowed ACT to demonstrate the feasibility and operational value of innovative solutions. Also, by leveraging the complementarity of the NATO Software Factory and ACT’s Innovation Lab and by cooperating with industry and start-ups, ACT and the NCI Agency are now able to rapidly develop and deliver artificial intelligence (AI) and data-science based Minimum Viable Products. All these products, designed for and with Allied Command Operations (ACO) operational users, demonstrate, on a small scale, how fast NATO can leverage these EDTs. We also cooperate successfully with the CMRE, in the maritime domain and I would like to mention specifically Dynamic Messenger, an operational experimentation exercise, led by both organizations. With the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), we mostly cooperate in the area of logistics.


What do you see as ACT’s main priorities to promote innovation in NATO?

The main ACT priorities, which will allow innovation to thrive by providing huge incentives, are in building our capacity to engage in multi-domain operations, and in undergoing digital transformation. Digital transformation is, actually, a critical enabler of multi-domain operations, which is a major step towards guaranteeing the Alliance’s ability to successfully deter and defend against any threat. It is about understanding better, deciding faster and being stronger together. These provide a great space and lots of opportunities for innovation.


The war in Ukraine has already proven the validity of our efforts in transformation and modernization, and only highlighted the fact that we need to accelerate it. It is especially relevant for our ability to engage in multi-domain operations, which requires us to operate effectively, efficiently and harmoniously in all five operational domains: land, sea, air, space and cyber. Promoting and leveraging innovation, as I already explained, also means creating the fertile ground for

innovations to flourish and scale up. That’s why, in terms of warfare development, NATO must change its mindset. We need to “think big, act small and fast”, an incremental approach that should allow us to make gains in speed and agility. ACT has already demonstrated how this pragmatic approach positively impacts and boosts NATO transformation. ACT will therefore be determined in following such an approach, in collaboration with willing partners from NATO, industry and academia.


Regarding the next decade, I think that the digital transformation of NATO, which I set as one of my priorities, provides the most opportunities for collaboration with the aforementioned agencies and centres. Digital transformation is an operational necessity, it is a necessary step for the Alliance to engage in multi-domain operations, optimize effects and conserve Command and Control superiority. To achieve such an ambition, we need to work as a team and the NCI Agency is a key player. It has already had an important role in digital transformation, since together, we have paved the way through several agile pathfinders. But, I am convinced the other two organizations will also contribute when it comes to implementing the digital transformation.

We must take advantage of every opportunity to experiment with innovation as well as test concepts, doctrines, equipment and even processes. This is the best way for NATO to take ownership of EDTs, and exploit them to answer military needs and best serve our soldiers. It is also vital we do not fear failing in our experimentations, because fast mistakes are often particularly instructive. This ‘fail fast’ approach will require greater use of wargaming, at all levels, to identify, as soon as possible, what works and can be generalized on a larger scale, and what does not in order to rapidly move away from the potentially burdensome. Which is why one of our priorities is called Audacious Wargaming. We will also continue NATO warfare development and capability development by running agile and collaborative projects and developing MVPs by informing and supporting initiatives or programmes such as DIANA, information environment assessment, open-source intelligence, logistics and medics, cognitive warfare, etc. We will also continue demonstrating how agile approaches can transform and speed up NATO decision-making. As you can see, our approach to innovation is very comprehensive, top-down, bottom-up, and deep enough to sustain it. We are not only focused on the outcomes but also on process and mindset. These are the keys to success.

“Think big, act small and fast” 27

Innovation in defence

A perspective by Michael Crowley, EMEA Public Sector Director at VMware NATO is no stranger to missions, but there has arguably never been one as important as the one it is currently on. To ensure the organisation is fit for the future. It is why there is a considerable onus on the consumerisation of technology and how this can be adapted for military means. By embracing innovation in defence, military operations will not only be better positioned to adapt to the diversity of missions they face - both physically and in the cybersphere but they will be better equipped to deal with the growing and evolving threat landscape globally.

Three driving forces of innovation

Democratisation means that some of the most advanced technology is now in the hands of the general public. To get ahead - and stay there - military organisations must turn their focus to civilian life in order to extract the best innovations and learnings relating to; how they are used, when, where and why information is exchanged and the associated impacts. A scenario which is being influenced by three main drivers. •

The first is that the research and development capabilities of states have been superseded by private enterprise. The world’s brightest minds are now working in technology companies (who are themselves desperate to remain ahead of the competition) meaning cutting-edge breakthroughs and new technologies are happening their first. The second factor is speed. The pace of innovation happening is so rapid, that if military organisations don’t use market technology, they will become obsolete very quickly. And finally, even if militaries are not learning from market innovations, you can bet your bottom dollar that their adversaries and other potential threats are. Meaning it’s only a matter of time before they assume field superiority as a result.

Digitised conflict today

We’re seeing this in conflicts today. For instance, in the current war with Russia, Ukraine has used drones and open source software from the market. Known as Aerorozvidka, it is a specialist air-reconnaissance unit within the Ukrainian army which has the capacity to observe, detect and identify targets on the field, optimising the resources of the Ukrainian army by informing exactly where to fire shells. It’s a technology that has a success rate of close to 100%. This example is a demonstration of how a digitised force with highly developed coordination and operations management systems can challenge and inflict damage on a much larger adversary. The fact it works for defence just as equally as attack endorses the value of digital transformation for the armed forces.

How innovation delivers field superiority

Yet simply adopting new technologies and innovation is only one part. To be truly future-proofed, military organisations must engage in - and be aligned to - a cycle of innovation in the field. They must create a scenario whereby innovation is constantly embraced and the barriers to its adoption and deployment reduced to nil.

We’ve already moved away from an era of cumbersome and monolithic developments that take months or even years to be deployed. Now we’re seeing the same process happen in weeks and days, which is pushing innovation to the combatant in the field at a pace that has been unseen until now. A good example is the United States Air Force Life Cycle Management Centre, Detachment 12, also known as Kessel Run. It developed and delivered a software application used for air-to-air refuelling operations. It has helped save the Department of Defence more than $500 million dollars in fuel costs and greatly reduced the time associated with planning refuelling missions, enhancing combat capabilities through its increased coordination.

Pace, as well as innovation

Today, these applications are also shareable - this is critical when forces are often disparate and operate in different regions, landscapes and timezones. A good analogy would be the mobile industry model we see in civilian life. Where apps evolve or need upgrading constantly but because individuals have the hardware, updates can be made anytime, anywhere, information can be shared and new apps can be downloaded to equip field teams with the resources and information they need in almost real-time. Something that was unthinkable just a few years ago. But despite the clear benefits, and increasing trend to adopt innovation from industry, much more needs to be done. Especially when it comes to the speed of adoption. Even today, military organisations are buying fixed hardware on long contracts, which become obsolete quickly. Often before they’ve even been fully deployed. This is why military organisations must embrace pace, as well as innovation. They are not mutually exclusive and any attempts to do one without the other will fail. We need to see procurement processes shortened and adapted to the digital world. Demonstrations, decisions and deployments - even in the pilot phase - need to be made at a speed reflective of the change which is being imparted.

Adopt technologies in a modular way

But we also understand that for many, this is a case of evolution and not revolution and that rapidly accelerating the speed of innovation isn’t going to happen in all departments and for all decisions overnight. That’s why we’re urging military organisations and governments to start small, take the steps you’re comfortable with and adopt technologies in a modular way. We’re certain that in a very short time frame, you’ll see the difference and soon be on the fast track for innovation in defence. For more information on how VMware can support your next innovation project, or for more information on how the latest technologies and tools are being applied in a military environment, please contact me at



The benefits of digital transformation How can military organizations exploit the massive data volumes that run throughout their networks?

Joe Baguley VP & CTO EMEA, VMware

How can military organizations benefit from civilian technologies in their operational transformations? All technology augments humans. Initially, we used technology to augment our muscles and speed up physical activities. Now we use it to augment our brains. This is the big shift. And yet, IT consumerism and the democratisation of technology now means that some of the most advanced technology is in the hands of the general public – not governments. Without doubt, this dramatic ‘flip’ requires those organizations to assess what civilian technologies are available and how they are being used at scale in order to understand how to apply them to their digital transformations. The fundamental challenge is the same. In other words, making sure that the people who have to make decisions have the right data and applications in their hands when they need to make them. We know that civilian/commercial organizations are already using digital technology to deliver data and applications to their operatives – be they doctors, policemen or engineers. It is no surprise then that the number one question military leaders ask me is, ‘How do I take those technologies and bring them to the battlefield?’

Ultimately, commanders seek to win battles quickly at the least possible cost to their own side. The commander who can adapt their plan faster and take advantage of opportunities quicker will come out on top. So, he needs the best possible situational awareness from soldiers on the ground, terrestrial/airborne sensors, satellites. He must also cascade his decisions down a chain of command as fast as possible. This can all be enabled through digital technology. However, we have reached a point where there is more data than we can process. So, we need computer assistance to help us make decisions about and from that data. Actually, we have reached a point where we can’t even wait for humans to make decisions anymore, we need computers to make them. That is where machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) come in. We can teach computers to make at least some of the decisions, such as eliminating unnecessary options or working out which is the most pertinent information.

How can military organizations manage heritage systems whilst innovating for future efficiency? The important thing is to realise that discarding those legacy or ‘heritage’ systems and replacing them with new hardware and software is a very painful process that is fraught with risk. So, at VMware, we assess how to

integrate these systems with new technology with the intention of eventually migrating from the legacy systems when ready. For example, we will initially look into using existing interfaces (APIs) with an old mainframe so that new more modern systems can interact with it. That is not the endgame though, and that is where many fall foul. What we do next is work out how to upgrade and eventually remove it from the application architecture entirely, thus making the new application less complex, more efficient and cheaper to maintain and update. Ultimately, switching to a modular approach where individual components can be more easily exchanged and upgraded is the goal.

Is the cloud the answer to everything? No, the cloud is not the answer to everything, because people are deploying applications and architecture today that are both in the cloud and at the edge – particularly the military. They have edge devices dispersed all over the place, right down to soldiers’ hands. Therefore, military planners need to be thinking about where their data sources are going to be, how to secure them and their networks. And more importantly, how do they enable those data sources to operate autonomously in a badly connected environment? So, the cloud is not the entire answer – highly distributed, highly complex infrastructures are.



NATO OFFICE OF RESOURCES Simon Michell talks to Anne-Marie Pick, the Director of the NATO Office of Resources (NOR), to find out what the NOR does and how it collaborates with the NCI Agency


The Director of the NATO Office of Resources (NOR), Anne-Marie Pick, understands the challenges that the NCI Agency must address, having served as the first NCI Agency Chief Financial Officer/ Financial Controller when the Agency was established in 2012. She has very fond memories of her time there. “I served in the NCI Agency for six years as we brought together five disparate legacy organizations, modernized NATO IT and communications, changed funding models, significantly reduced personnel and implemented many other significant and far-reaching changes. It was one of the most

interesting and challenging positions I have held,” she says. This has afforded her an in-depth awareness of the NCI Agency – an understanding that is extremely useful to her in her current role of driving efficient and effective NATO-wide stewardship of the Alliance’s common funding, much of which is allocated to the NCI Agency. NATO common funding amounts to some 2.5 billion EUR a year, or approximately 0.3% of the combined defence budgets of the 30 NATO Allies. The amounts are minimal in terms of total defence spending, but the “multiplier effect”

is significant as common funding enables Member Nations to pool and leverage resources, and most importantly to operate as one. Pick considers common funding as part of “the glue that binds the Alliance” as it enables political consultations and decision-making, deterrence and defence, and interoperability. Very importantly, NATO Nations coming together and committing to common funding sends a clear and tangible message of political resolve, unity and solidarity. The NOR plays a key role as the NATO IS (international staff) lead for NATO common-funded capabilities

One of the NOR’s responsibilities is to support resource-informed political decisions that are taken by Heads of State and Government at NATO summits

and common-funded resource management. It supports the achievement of NATO’s goals and objectives by providing expert advice to the Secretary General, the NATO Resource Committees and other stakeholders on the efficient and effective use of common funding. “We provide advice on policy, strategic planning, programming, budgeting and the execution of over 2 billion EUR of military common funding each year. The funding supports our NATO Command Structure, training and exercises, readiness, Command and Control (C2) capabilities (which the NCI Agency delivers and supports) and reinforcement infrastructure. As of very recently, we also provide advice on the planning for civil budget funding, which supports the running of NATO Headquarters and its international staff,” Pick explains.

VALUE FOR MONEY It is imperative that common funding is used purposefully and

effectively. “Value for money is key, as are accountability and transparency. Common funding is taxpayers’ money, so it is very important that we continue to apply due diligence in the use of common funding and retain the trust of the public as an efficient steward of resources,” says Pick. Crucially, as a customer-funded entity, some 90% of NCI Agency funding emanates from common funding. NATO’s goals and objectives are reviewed and adapted regularly, particularly at NATO summits where Heads of State and Government meet to deliberate on where the Alliance is heading, what steps need to be taken to achieve those goals, and how much investment will be required. At the 2021 Brussels Summit, Heads of State and Government agreed to NATO’s adaptation for the future and the ambitious NATO 2030 Agenda, which entails increased defence spending as well as common funding. In addition to the daily

Pick states, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has further reinforced the need for NATO’s adaptation that our Heads of State and Government agreed at the Brussels Summit. It really is more important than ever to implement the ambitious NATO 2030 Agenda and increasing common funding will be key.” Therefore, the NOR is supporting the NATO Resource Policy and Planning Board, in its deliberations on the resource implications of the NATO 2030 Agenda. This work supports the June 2022 Madrid Summit where leaders decided, among other things, on the funding levels for Military Budgets, the Civil Budget, and the NATO Security Investment Programme. The increase in common funding is critical for the NCI Agency as currently more than 30% of NATO’s total common funding is allocated to the Agency’s activities for C2 capability delivery and ICT service provision to more than 30 entities across the NATO enterprise.


functions of the NOR, Pick and her team of committed experts have been very busy working with key stakeholders and implementing agencies, including the NCI Agency to prepare for the 2022 Madrid Summit.

BUILDING A STRONGER NOR-NCI AGENCY RELATIONSHIP With so much at stake, it is crucial that the NCI Agency has strong relationships with its key stakeholders – including the NOR. “Our relationship is very good and improving all the time. My team and I work very closely with the NCI Agency General Manager, Ludwig Decamps, and his staff. There may be some friction at times because our roles are different, but it is positive friction and a good professional relationship which adds value for the overall



“NATO nations coming together and committing to common funding sends a clear and tangible message of political resolve, unity and solidarity” stewardship of NATO funds and to ensure we are meeting the capability requirements of the Alliance. We are all in this together and when you consider the scope and breadth of the NCI Agency’s responsibilities, the Agency’s success means success for the NATO enterprise,” Pick explains. Examples of the requirements that the NCI Agency helps to deliver through common funding are broad in scope and vital in nature, from the IT networks across the NATO Alliance to the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system in Sigonella, Italy. AGS is a good example of where the NCI Agency


has been working hard to enhance collaboration with its stakeholders including the NOR and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The AGS has recently transitioned to common funding. The complex funding transfer brought about numerous challenges for both agencies relating to ongoing sustainability and future upgrades. “We have made good progress recently in terms of setting up the framework for common funding and how to deal with resourcing challenges for this key NATO capability,” says Pick. She also points to the efforts the new NCI Agency General Manager has been making to enhance

NATO’s Investment Committee visits NCI Agency facilities in The Hague, Netherlands (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

delivery and stakeholder engagement. “I am very pleased to see the improved positive collaboration between the NCI Agency and the NSPA. Furthermore, the NCI Agency’s focus on “excellence in delivery” as a top strategic goal is paramount and critically important for NATO.” Other key capabilities where the NOR supports the NCI Agency relate to the so-called ’digital backbone’, which the NATO Military Committee considers to be the primary key requirement area of the NATO 2030 Agenda. The digital backbone includes capabilities currently in place and under development, as well as new advanced capabilities to enable implementation of the Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, which guide the Alliance’s deterrence activities and warfare development to remain militarily strong now and in the future. Fully implementing the NATO 2030 Agenda will require a rigorous and concerted effort by all stakeholders to deliver better, faster and smarter, and, without a doubt, the NCI Agency will continue to play a critical role in NATO’s adaptation.

As the Chair of the Agency Supervisory Board, it is my distinct pleasure to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the NCI Agency and its governance organization, the NCI Organisation (NCIO).



We are crossing the 10-year line against the backdrop of current geostrategic developments, the Madrid Summit and the new NATO Strategic Concept; in this scenario the NCIO maintains more than ever its relevance for our political and operational stakeholders. It is with great confidence that I see the NCIO addressing current and future challenges and leveraging opportunities to the benefit of the Alliance. The NCIO’s executive arm, its core, the NCI Agency, will remain an outstanding asset for the Alliance, driven by the technical skills and remarkable effort of its personnel. I’m sure we are ready for another 10 years of mission-essential support to NATO, Allies and Partner Nations thanks to the outstanding quality and commitment of the NCI Agency workforce.







How has NSPA evolved since its early days?

To understand NSPA’s evolution we need to trace its history back to 1958, when the NATO Maintenance Supply Services System was established in Paris. At the time, our workforce was composed of only 25 personnel, and we focused on the support of three main weapon systems.


In the early 1960s, we introduced the Weapon Support Partnership framework and renamed the Agency the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA). The Support Partnership is a multinational cooperation mechanism that continues to serve today as the backbone of our mission, enabling NATO Member Nations to collaborate and achieve commonality, interoperability and economies of scale. In 1968, the Agency Headquarters moved to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This was the beginning of a true partnership that has strengthened throughout the years. In the 1990s, we shifted our scope of work to support operations and exercises. With NATO’s involvement in the Balkans, we started to outsource services to support military capabilities there. This continued in Kosovo, with the procurement and storage of deployable infrastructure for the NATO Command Structure. Our support increased as the years passed, and today it covers the full spectrum of capabilities, from transport to medical, infrastructure, food, fuel, base services and so on. Beyond the critical support provided during two decades in Afghanistan, the Agency is currently supporting NATO and national operations in Kosovo, Libya and Mali. Another key landmark in NSPA’s history and evolution is represented by the decision taken at the 2010 Lisbon Summit when NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to reform the 14 existing NATO Agencies, to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of


NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) General Manager, Stacy Cummings, tells Simon Michell about the critical role the NSPA has played in supporting NATO’s mission and its partnership with the NCI Agency

capabilities and services. The NATO Support Agency (NSPA) was established as part of the reform process on 1 July 2012, through the merger of three former agencies: the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), the Central Europe Pipeline Management Agency (CEPMA) and the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA). In this new framework, the Agency assumed overall responsibility for NATO procurement and large system acquisitions and became the Alliance’s major contributor of effective multinational logistics solutions. Hence, in 2015, we were renamed the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). And, our activities evolved from the maintenance and support of weapons systems and operations to full acquisition and logistical support. NSPA currently manages 31 Support Partnerships and supports more than 170 weapon systems, employing more than 1,400 staff members in eight different locations.


What are NSPA’s current core functions and how do they enable NATO ongoing activities? NSPA provides the full range of services and

A capabilities in all domains (air, land, sea, cyber and space) in support to NATO, its Allies and partners. We support operations and missions, the development and management of system acquisition and life-cycle management sustainment, through multinational cooperation approaches that generate economies of scale and deliver interoperability among Allied Nations. We acquire, support and maintain defence systems through an unbiased link between industry and the Member Nations, easing their operational efforts by providing a ‘one-stop shop’ where they can find all the necessary solutions to fulfil their core tasks and missions. This includes multinational acquisition of complex platforms, such as aircraft, helicopters and



unmanned systems as well as the provision of supplies such as fuel, spare parts and ammunition. In addition, it covers services such as maintenance of radars for air defence, and deployable infrastructure, transportation, medical and catering services. By fulfilling its mission, the Agency enhances responsiveness towards NATO and Member Nations’ operational requirements, reducing costs and improving logistics, mobility, resilience and readiness across the Alliance. How important was the renewal of the

Q partnership agreement with the NCI Agency in March 2022? With the renewal of this partnership, we have reinforced our cooperation. Over the past few years, NSPA and the NCI Agency have leveraged this partnership to address areas such as cyber security, secure communications and network connectivity. Our capabilities are complementary, not duplicated. This renewed agreement enables us to continue working together and directing renewed efforts in areas of mutual interest, such as training and acquisition reform.



NSPA manages the MRTT fleet on behalf of the six participating Nations (PHOTO: MMF/ Arnoud S)

Working together and leveraging the unique expertise of each agency enables us to deliver synergies for the benefit of the Alliance, our Member States and partners. How do you expect NSPA to evolve to meet

Q future requirements?

New and emerging threats require agility and

A adaptability. The Alliance embraces change by taking the necessary steps to remain ready to face current and future challenges. NSPA enables NATO’s adaptation in different ways: developing and delivering key capabilities to Alliance Member Nations, working with industry to promote critical innovation, and contributing to the NATO 2030 initiative to strengthen the Alliance over the next decade and beyond. NSPA manages numerous key NATO and multinational projects through their life cycle. A case in point is the multinational MRTT fleet, which provides strategic transport, air-to-air refuelling and Medevac (medical evacuation) capabilities to six Member States. NSPA also manages the acquisition of other multinational complex systems, from initial concept to capability


NSPA provides life-cycle management and in-service support to more than 600 Boxer Infantry fighting vehicles (PHOTO: NATO)

delivery, product support and life-cycle logistics, and even to disposal. One of these acquisitions, the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC), represents NATO’s largest and most complex capability development initiative to date. The Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) is another key initiative for which NSPA manages the Concept Stage. NGRC will deliver the new generation of military multi-role helicopters across collaborating nations. In addition, NSPA enhances defence capabilities in multiple areas in all operating domains. This includes full life-cycle management support to the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system, the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), the Patriot missile system and Boxer armoured vehicles, to name but a few. To successfully deliver these current and future capabilities, and gain access to the latest developments, NSPA engages and works closely with industry. Moreover, the Agency is supporting the Alliance’s efforts to maintain its technological edge with the establishment of the NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). NSPA is

uniquely suited to assist Allies in procuring and deploying, at scale, the innovative technologies that are developed and demonstrated within the DIANA ecosystem. This will allow DIANA to take advantage of the Agency’s processes that will continue to be developed to support innovation across NATO. In the operations domain, NSPA supports a range of multinational and national missions and exercises, helping NATO strengthen its deterrence and defence posture, raising the readiness of our forces and increasing their ability to move across the Atlantic and within Europe by providing key services and the latest technology available. Since 1958, NSPA has evolved and transformed to provide efficient, effective and responsive support to the whole Alliance. Looking at the future, I see NSPA as a key contributor to the NATO 2030 initiative. The Agency is well positioned to enhance resilience through interoperability and multinational cooperation enablement; preserve NATO’s technological edge; boost capability building and contribute to climate-change mitigation. Our new strategy includes all the necessary elements to help ensure that NATO remains ready, strong and united for the next decade and beyond. 37




NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security since January 2022, Irene Fellin, leads a shift in culture within NATO. “We are integrating gender perspective into in all NATO core tasks,” says Fellin, who was officially appointed NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in November 2021. “The first WPS Action Plan launched this process a decade ago when gender perspective first became part of NATO operations. It is now part of our strategic vision, and we are extending its reach to climate change, cyber resilience, innovation and new technologies.”

Further, disruptive measures are intended to inject more flexibility in response to an increasingly complex security environment. New initiatives include the introduction of a NATO Youth, Peace and Security agenda to align with the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 2250 adopted in 2015. The policy “recognises young people’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution,” she says. “We already work a lot with youth, and we want to build a pathway for synergy and collaboration between young men and women. This team-building effort is an evolutionary process to change our entire society.”

Advancing gender equality and integrating gender perspectives in all that NATO does, across political, civilian and military structures, from policies and planning, training and education, to missions and operations is the aim of the fifth WPS Action Plan, approved in October 2021.


Irene Fellin is leading the implementation of NATO’s Action Plan and infusing her unique approach to gender mainstreaming across the Alliance. An increased focus on human security, complementary to work on WPS, guides the office’s direction, while a 360-degree vision supports a scope that reflects NATO membership. Current priorities include special attention on the Mediterranean region, where Fellin can draw on experience as Senior Gender Advisor with the Rome-based International Affairs Institute (IAI) and Women In International Security (WIIS) Italy.


Jenny Beechener talks to Irene Fellin, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, to find out about the fresh ideas her team is inputting to emerging security challenges

Another area of focus extends the dialogue surrounding women’s meaningful participation in peace-building, negotiation and mediation as well as their involvement in security and defence. The policy supports NATO’s existing commitments to principles of inclusion by bringing more women to the table with other decision-makers and expanding supporting roles. “There are other areas that lack policy direction where we are now defining our approach. In particular, children in armed conflict and protection of cultural property are both areas where I’d like to have a policy framework in place by the end of next year,” she says. UN Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in October 2000, remains a 39


landmark document for the WPS agenda and gender equality. However, many components still need to be advanced. “Conflict affects men and women in different ways. Look at the conflict in Ukraine, where pregnant women are delivering in underground bunkers. The stress means there is a high chance they cannot produce milk which means milk powder becomes a necessity for humanitarian aid.” Fellin believes operational aspects such as these stand to benefit from integration of a gender perspective more generally. “We are introducing key performance indicators to track progress in this area and launched a trial in 2021 to give us a sense of where we are.” Among areas under review, the WPS office is measuring take-up of training courses within NATO headquarters and affiliated institutions, and trends in staffing – especially in leadership roles.


Women holding senior leadership positions (A5/G22 and above) within NATO’s international staff reached 31% in 2020, the highest recorded since NATO began its diversity inclusion programme in 2002. While significantly higher than the 12% proportion of Allied NATO forces personnel across the Alliance (up from 6% in 2002), there is still some way to go. “Women need to be

integrated from the outset of all planning and policymaking, and this change has to come from within. We are trying to track how we work as an institution to bring about change internally and externally.” The implementation of the WPS agenda starts at home and the support of the leadership is essential to lead towards a sustainable cultural and organizational change. A senior-level task force, chaired by the Deputy Secretary General, was established in 2020 with the mandate to meet twice a year. A separate WPS task force comprising representatives from each division was also created that meets once every two months. “This gives us a strong network of colleagues with whom we can work across the different areas, starting with the policy framework and action plans. We work with them to enable each division to change cultural mindsets and integrate gender perspectives on our behalf.” Fellin anticipates that the role of the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative will be necessary for a long time yet. “Women have an important role to play in preventing, managing and resolving conflict. They change the politics and the way of doing business. This participation pillar is central to our work.”

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Ludivine Dedonder, Belgium’s Minister of Defence, celebrates the NCI Agency’s 10th anniversary and highlights Belgium’s enduring support to the organization The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) was established on 1 July 2012 as part of the NATO Agencies Reform. In 2014, NATO agreed on the current NCI Agency footprint between the Netherlands and my nation.


Belgium, from its independence onwards, tried to stay neutral, but both World Wars have proved that this concept, by itself, does not work, at least for a country like Belgium. Therefore, cooperation and multilateralism are at the heart of our foreign and defence policy. Belgium is a founding member of the Benelux Union, the European Union and NATO and of nearly every international organization in the field of security. Multilateralism became part of our DNA, which is the reason why Belgium is happy to host these organizations and remains strongly supportive of them, in particular those established on its territory, among which are NATO and some of its civilian and military bodies.

An essential part of the Agency has always been located on Belgian territory and this presence is for the moment mainly distributed between Brussels at the NATO Headquarters, Mons at the SHAPE compound and Braine-l’Alleud (Waterloo) at the interim facility. Belgium is of course honoured with the presence of such an important

and highly qualified international communications and information entity on our territory – contributing as it does directly to Belgian employment and our economy. A direct economic return for Belgium is gained by the presence of the high-profile IT, cyber and technology experts working on location as well as indirectly by the households of their families who reside in Belgium. For our part, Belgium can also offer highly qualified employees to NATO.

A POSITIVE INFLUENCE The NCI Agency, as a contracting Agency, also has an undeniably positive influence on the employment opportunities for the

The NCI Agency’s Core Enterprise Services team collects IT equipment from their warehouse in Mons, Belgium (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

4 Campuses

29 Locations Direct support locations (CIS Support Units, logistics centre and satellite ground stations)

Brussels Headquarters



The Hague Software-intensive projects and services Innovation


Mons - Braine l'Alleud Service operations and cyber security IT infrastructure projects and services Support to operations/exercises


Denmark United Kingdom

Oeiras NCI Academy

France United States of America



Belgium Luxembourg




Czech Rep Slovakia Hungary Slovenia Croatia Montenegro Albania

Spain Greece

That building originally housed the NC3A (NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency – one of the former Agencies that became part of the NCI Agency). With the agreement in 2014, Belgium decided to contribute financially to dedicated future infrastructure for the Agency.


Italy Portugal

international IT, technology, cyber, telecommunications and related companies who reside in Belgium. Therefore, Belgium decided, between 1997 and 2004, to finance the Z Building located on the site of the previous NATO headquarters (currently rebranded as the Manfred Wörner Building, where most of the Partner Nations’ Missions are now located).



Since then, we have provided the Antenna Park at the SHAPE Compound, which was delivered at the beginning of this year. Belgium will also finance the future NCI Agency Digital Enterprise Centre (NDEC) in Mons, which – according to the current planning – will be delivered in the second half of 2025. We are currently finalizing the building design for a modern infrastructure. The NDEC will be equipped with 700 desks and will provide the necessary space to house the highly technical installations needed by the Agency to conduct its operational activities on behalf of NATO. Taking into account the



widely recognised and newly adopted hybrid working practices, the facility can accommodate the appropriate flexibility for the workforce in Belgium. The current global security environment will certainly affect NATO’s posture in the future and consequently the important IT and cyber activities conducted by the NCI Agency. Belgium stands ready to further engage with the NCI Agency and provide support, according to the extant NATO rules and regulations, for the NCI Agency to remain NATO’s principal technology and cyber expertise provider, and to help NATO and its Member Countries fulfil their mission.






In the early 2000s, a group of equipment users in NATO presented the Agency’s engineers with a very substantial technical challenge. They wanted a suitcase-sized, fully-secure field communications kit. Moreover, the kits should be deployable to almost any location on Earth, be responsive and versatile enough to assure connectivity for users before or during crisis situations, and work with whatever standard, commercial satellite communications systems were readily available. A tall order, indeed. From 2004 to 2006, the first so-called “Commander’s Case” concept was developed in-house by the NCI Agency’s predecessor, NC3A. Initially labelled the Compact Commander Office (CCO), the first CCO field usage was by NATO teams, deployed at great speed to Pakistan after a devastating earthquake in 2005. The CCO concept soon proved its mettle during the humanitarian relief operations in Pakistan and in


David Hayhurst asks NCI Agency Principal Scientist, Ramon Segura, how the NCI Agency developed the Theatre Liaison Kit for secure communications in the field

other applications, generating a great deal of interest throughout the Alliance. But the vital security need for such kits to contain military-grade encryption and network appliances in a reduced form factor proved a major challenge, adding to the very severe limitations posed by the limited satellite data rates available back then. In response, NATO was forced to think creatively to help develop a system capable of overcoming the technological constraints of that time. One response, as NCI Agency Principal Scientist Ramon Segura explains, was for the Alliance to “become one of the government/military Beta testers” of an emerging mobile satellite IP service developed by INMARSAT. This evolved into the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, which has since been used with military-grade cryptographic devices for more than 15 years. Another major step in advancing the original Commander’s Case 45


concept began in 2006, when NATO first looked to industry to take its original kit design and, following its specifications, deliver more portable and user-friendly kits to the Operations Liaison and Reconnaissance Teams (OLRTs). Two Netherlands-based companies, Gannexion and Surcom, soon delivered the first three Theatre Liaison Kits (TLKs). Utilizing the experience gained with these first TLKs, the later TLK versions became less bulky and fully IP-enabled. “Some of these units were in operation for nearly 15 years,” says Segura.

MISSION-SPECIFIC TLKS Later, more mission-specific versions of the early TLK, such as the ISAF Liaison Kit (ILK), delivered to forces serving in Afghanistan in 2013, and the ISAF Man-Portable Afghan Mission Network Capability (IMPAC) kit, which was provided


the following year, “became smaller and easier to use by dropping legacy technology such as Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and serial circuits, by using newer, smaller components, by taking lessons learned from previous versions, and with the benefit of inspired creativity from the vendors who made these kits,” says an NCI Agency senior engineer who has been working in close collaboration with industry since the earliest CCO prototypes. This IMPAC, perhaps the most innovative TLK iteration to date, provides an all-in-one, single-user, single-case kit that includes power backup that, if needed, can be recharged from a vehicle battery.\ While the original Commander’s Case principle remains largely unchanged, “industry has

The NCI Agency helped deliver the first TLKs to the NATO-led mission International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan (PHOTO: NATO)


“The CCO concept soon proved its mettle during the humanitarian relief operations in Pakistan”

In a development of the concept, mission-specific Theatre Liaison Kits were created (PHOTO: NATO)

developed a market for governments and military users. You can find these kits in different forms, for different purposes, from multiple suppliers,” based in the United States and Europe, explains Segura. Having created demand among industry, sophisticated commercial off-the-shelf kits that can be adapted to fit NATO requirements are now available, having been non-existent two decades ago.

NEW GENERATION OF STKS NATO has recently agreed a sizable contract with Thales, which includes the development of a new generation of what will be known as Small Team Kits (STKs), following on from and expanding upon the TLK model, in support of OLRTs. “A lesson learned from CCO was that developing these things yourself is quite a lot of work. Still, the CCO case was useful for

determining requirement specifications, for finding out what is, and isn’t, possible, and how easy people find it to use,” says Segura. “It is not just about buying some kit, there is a lot more to it than that – such as network design, integration with existing NATO networks, security accreditation, lots of testing, creating and providing documentation and training. A whole raft of things.” All such critical considerations aside, however, Segura feels that, despite the remarkable advancements since it was originally designed, the fundamental Commander’s Case concept is still part of NATO’s concept of operations for liaison and reconnaissance. It’s set to continue because the requirement for small kits to communicate securely, over any bearer of opportunity, and using the highest-grade of military encryption, will always remain.



Heightened urgency for cybersecurity approaches that include creating information-sharing and analysis centres, federating security operations centres (SOCs), setting up centres focused on critical infrastructure or government agency missions, or creating a single ‘super SOC’. Each of these options can be problematic to execute due to complexity, effectiveness, cost – or all three of these factors.

Jim Richberg Public Sector Field CISO, Fortinet considers federated security operations and integrating cybersecurity across organizations and nations

Why is this topic being discussed now? Integrating cybersecurity across organizations and jurisdictions is of growing interest, both within the Alliance and worldwide. Ransomware has demonstrated that criminal cyber activity can paralyze the operations of critical infrastructure in even wellresourced industries, and the current geopolitical crisis is leading organizations around the world to worry that they may find themselves in the crosshairs – or at least caught in the crossfire – of destructive statesponsored cyber action. Although the need is urgent because both the threat landscape and an organization’s attack surface are expanding, the effort should be approached mindfully to ensure the project is realistic based on the available resources – especially people. Feeling a sense of heightened urgency, many are looking at

Why is effective cybersecurity so difficult to accomplish? The security operations landscape is challenging even within a single enterprise. The difficulties organizations face fall into several different areas, including: • a fragmented network perimeter: because of work from anywhere, cloud, supply chain and other initiatives, the attack surface that needs to be secured has grown dramatically, • evasive attacks: sophisticated multi-stage campaigns by malicious actors can evade traditional prevention security and mimic legitimate activity, • data volume: the volume of security events creates too much ‘noise’ for organizations to be able to rapidly and reliably identify, prioritize and investigate security incidents, • siloed security: point security products provide stove-piped and incomplete pictures, prevent automation and slow response times,

• overwhelmed teams: the scarcity of skilled security professionals makes it difficult to hire and retain adequate cybersecurity staff. The threat landscape is also evolving with an increase in destructive ransomware, state-sponsored attacks, targeted attacks on Operational Technology (OT) environments and advanced persistent cybercrime. Due, in part, to the steady revenues generated by ransomware, cybercrime groups are becoming increasingly cohesive and well-organized, generating more sophisticated threats and increased reconnaissance capabilities. Compared to a year ago, some attacks are also moving with much greater speed thanks to offensive automation through Artificial Intelligence (AI).

What are the building blocks for success? While integrating security operations across multiple and often disparate organizations has different characteristics from integrating cybersecurity for a single organization, the underlying tools and trends that enable success still apply. AI and Machine Learning (ML) is a critical ingredient. AI has fundamentally transformed the effectiveness of the cybersecurity industry over the past decade, and is now responsible for virtually all malware analysis and for finding anomalies and threats on an automated basis in near-real-time. A second technology trend is the rise of cybersecurity mesh architectures – platforms of products and services from different vendors that can share data and operations.


The intersection between increasingly mature and powerful AI/ML and the consolidation of security solutions into interoperable platforms or families or capabilities is a potential game changer. This AI-powered platform approach turns the size and complexity of the attack surface from a liability into a potential advantage – making it a composite collection platform that can see adversaries in motion, the AI/ML to make sense of this data, and the controls to respond both at point of attack and globally.

What is the goal of federated cybersecurity? Integrating cybersecurity in a multi-organization environment consists of both establishing situational awareness by creating a common operating picture (COP) and driving response. These functions are related but can be prioritized and developed separately. Establishing shared situational awareness is a human problem. Machines don’t need a ‘threat dashboard’ or heat map of activity. They can share data (‘tip’ and ‘cue’ action) depending on rules and automation. But, even when it is fed by automated data feeds, producing situational awareness for analysts, cyber defenders and decision makers is time and labour-intensive. Problems of information overload and operator fatigue can impede performance and are most likely to occur during a cyber incident or crisis. There are two distinct approaches to federating awareness: 1. Generating a single shared view, which can produce a user-friendly

world view, but which likely requires a bespoke solution built from scratch, 2. Sharing separate perspectives (e.g., each SOC has a ‘repeater’ of the views from other SOCs). This is easier to implement but requires ongoing manual integration by the human analyst/operator, and integration becomes harder as the number/diversity of perspectives to be included grows. If most of the minutes of every hour are spent making sense of what is going on, the time devoted to action needs to be highly efficient. There are at least three options to enable such integrated/joint response, and that includes an approach being: 1. Data-driven, working from cyber threat intelligence in common formats, (e.g., STIX, TAXII), 2. Function-driven, leveraging key capabilities and commercial products in Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration and Response (SOAR), 3. Architecture-driven, working from architecture-level interoperability. Option 1 gets ‘back to basics’ by focusing on data interoperability and leveraging existing and widely adopted models and standards. Option 2 leverages cybersecurity components such as SIEM and SOAR tools that typically are designed to work in multi-vendor environments. This approach to integration offloads much of the work to industry partners. Option 3 offloads even more of the

burden of integration to the platform and architecture manufacturers. Importantly, these options are not mutually exclusive, especially in a federated and complex ecosystem of networks and capabilities.

How should organizations get started? Many organizations want their integrated/federated security posture to include a COP. In this case, because the bulk of the defenders’ time will be spent on generating situational awareness, it will place a premium on automation of response, often within parameters or playbooks set in advance. Alternatively, organizations may place a lower priority on establishing shared situational awareness and settle for something coarser that indicates the presence or absence of ongoing threats. Essentially, they will emphasize the provision of shared services and integrated responses; in other words, choosing to focus on maximizing the impact of defensive action at the expense of a more complete understanding of threat. There is no ‘right’ answer, but the decision about which goal and what capabilities to develop should be made through a conscious choice that reflects the needs and priorities of the organizations being integrated and of key mission stakeholders, rather than by happenstance or expediency.


Aerial view of the old NC3A building in The Hague, Netherlands, captured in 2007 (PHOTO: NCI Agency)



ON THE AIR WAVES NATO’s groundbreaking deployable Air Command and Control System has been years in the making. Paul Howland, the NCI Agency’s Chief of Command and Control, shares with Mike Bryant how he and the NCI Agency’s predecessor laid down its vital foundations



Today, Paul Howland is the NCI Agency’s Chief of Command and Control, but his work with the organization dates back to 1999, when he joined the Agency’s predecessor, the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (or NC3A, one of the five NATO bodies that amalgamated to form the NCI Agency in 2012). In those days, Howland was a Senior Scientist working within what was called the Surveillance Branch, a body now known as the Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Centre. He was tasked with a project, funded by Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), to define the operational requirements for the sensors needed for the deployable Air Command and Control System (ACCS). He recalls: “The requirement for the deployable air defence radar (DADR) was already quite mature at that point, but the question was how to deal with aircraft that were jamming NATO radars.” At the time, NATO had been looking at the use of passive jammer locators (PJL), which essentially used two or more jammed radars to correlate and then triangulate on the location of the jammers. Although an important approach, it was clear to Howland that this was not sufficient – it had limitations in terms of the types of jammer it could operate against and served no purpose when there were no jammers present. It also offered nothing against low-observable (stealth) platforms. “So, the challenge was how to maintain an air picture when the DADRs were being jammed, but also to provide a useful capability when they were not.” Howland’s innovative approach was to investigate two complementary, but very different technologies. One he termed passive covert radar (PCR), also known as passive coherent location (PCL). For the other technology, Howland coined the term Deployable Passive Electronic Support Measures (ESM) Tracker (DPET). Both offered innovative potential solutions to the particular problem of overcoming the challenge of tracking aircraft while being jammed.

and the other listens to FM radio stations. The echoes are tiny, and so it is necessary to take a snapshot of the FM radio broadcast and then search for it among the background noise, using a technique called crosscorrelation. However, as the aircraft are moving, it is necessary to calculate hundreds of copies of the FM signal, each with a different frequency shift applied, and search for those, as well as hundreds of different possible time delays (each time delay corresponding to different potential aircraft ranges). “We also had to develop a sophisticated adaptive filtering solution to cancel out the direct signal from the FM radio station before we could even begin to look for the echoes,” Howland remembers. “Finally, we also needed to calculate the bearing to the echoes, so we needed to do this processing on two or more receiver channels, with two or more antennas, to calculate the bearing as well,” he explains. Having decided on the solution, Howland and his team built a working prototype, using an FM radio station in the south of the Netherlands to track aircraft out to 150km over the North Sea between The Hague and the UK. The research was shared with NATO Nations’ commercial industries. Indeed, Howland proposed and chaired a number of technical working groups under the auspices of the NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO), in which he shared the team’s results. “This was very valuable and triggered the development of a number of commercial projects in industry based on our work,” Howland says, noting the involvement of industrial giants such as Thales and Lockheed Martin in programmes based on related technology. “In more recent years, industry has built on this research and developed systems that can track using not only FM radio signals, but also digital audio broadcasts, cellphone transmissions and even WiFi signals.”



With PCR, Howland’s approach was to maintain an air picture through another form of radar, in a different frequency band, using passive receivers that could not be easily located. Because the system does not itself transmit, it requires something else’s transmissions to illuminate targets. The solution was to detect and track aircraft by listening for the reflections of everyday commercial FM radio transmissions bouncing off aircraft. The basic principle involves having two antenna systems. One antenna listens for the echoes off aircraft,

LISTENING FOR SIGNALS “The idea for the DPET sensors, and the approach, was quite different,” says Howland, who worked on this project in parallel to his PCR research. Howland collaborated with the Czech company ERA, which was working on systems that made use of the technique of multilateration – measuring and using the time difference in the arrival of signals, similar to how GPS systems work. By using highly accurate clocks to measure the time difference of arrival of a signal at


four receivers spaced some distance apart, it is possible to precisely plot the position and altitude of an emitter. Not only is the system highly accurate, it’s also fast. It can provide track updates multiple times per second, rather than once every 10 seconds or so as per conventional radar. According to Howland, it is a perfect complement to radar, because when they are being jammed, the system can track the jammers and also maintain the air picture through other aircraft transmissions. Moreover, because it is based on ESM technology, it also offers a wealth of identification and electronic intelligence information. Howland hoped to better understand the capabilities of the DPET technology and to develop detailed performance models to understand the coverage of these sensors, as well as to develop detailed accuracy models. To validate the models, he invited the Czech military and ERA to participate in the STO technical working group he was chairing, and, over a number of years, they conducted various trials alongside several other nations during NATO exercises to collect data and validate their models. The research phase of the project ended in around 2007, but the work subsequently led to the development of detailed technical requirements for SHAPE that were then used in an international competitive bid to acquire this type of sensor as part of NATO’s deployable ACCS component.

Some 15 years after Howland’s research phase ended, the NCI Agency is nearing the end of an acquisition project to buy and integrate such sensors into NATO’s ACCS wide-ranging programme, an advanced capability that involves command and control systems and sensors acquired at both NATO and national levels. “It’s rewarding to see an initial idea finally enter service, but also instructive to see how long it can take to go from the start of an idea in NATO to an operational capability,” Howland says.



Resilient, secure and robust communications architectures John Reeves, Managing Director, Viasat UK – a trusted NATO partner – shares how commercial communications technologies can solve some of the the world’s critical challenges At Viasat, we believe commercial communications technologies can play a significant role in helping to solve these critical challenges, as modern commercial capabilities can afford users access to unprecedented network capacity and flexibility to meet surge demands for both military and emergency response requirements.

John Reeves Managing Director, Viasat UK

As NATO navigates improving coordination of forces for future conflicts, what can be done to support this from a communications perspective? The current situation in eastern Europe highlights the need for NATO and its allies around the world to be able to coordinate forces and resources quickly, effectively and consistently. Not only is there a need for strategic government-togovernment communication, but coordination with commercial sector operators is also imperative to ensure increasing communication needs are being met. There is also a growing requirement for resilient communications networks at the tactical level. So, when it comes to enabling greater force coordination and communications capabilities for future conflicts, there are going to be interoperability and network integration challenges that need to be addressed.

The NATO Alliance needs trusted partners that understand both the strategic and tactical requirements and can work shoulder to shoulder with the Alliance to create differentiated operational capabilities by taking a hybrid, blended approach that leverages both NATO purposebuilt assets and best-of-breed commercial solutions. This is the vision for the future.

How is Viasat helping support NATO with new capabilities? For many years, Viasat has been providing data encryption products to NATO, which have been critical in maintaining the Alliance’s security posture. Also, as you would expect, we are working closely with NATO on satellite communications technologies in various bands including ultra high frequency (UHF). Our UHF VISION software platform, for example, has helped NATO achieve greater interoperability, scalability and flexibility across legacy and next-generation UHF platforms. The result is enhanced situational awareness and operational insight for warfighters in the battlespace.

We are also working with NATO on improvements to its ground command and control as part of a programme exploring the use of a rapidly deployable and highly secure communications command post. This work, which is being done in cooperation with NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, is focused on delivering an agile staff working environment capable of supporting UK and multinational forces anywhere in the world. These are just two examples, but they highlight what a trusted partnership with Viasat can achieve. We are committed to supporting NATO as it continues to improve its overall communications posture across a range of technologies, architectures and infrastructures. It goes back to what I was saying about close collaboration and integrating commercial capabilities with NATO Member States’ assets and existing technologies to create solutions that afford information advantage at both strategic and tactical levels.

How important is it to bring automation into network management and data transport? First of all, I think it is important to explain what automation means in this context. A great example to unravel this is the smartphone. When I land in England on my way to the Viasat UK offices coming from our offices in Carlsbad, California, my phone immediately understands


7x the capacity of ViaSat-1 and about 100x more capacity than most current government purpose-built satellites in orbit. Users would have access to on-demand capabilities to meet not only day-to-day activities but also surge operations. If, for example, NATO needs to shift a large number of forces into a specific conflict or humanitarian disaster area, ViaSat-3 would be able to direct capacity to meet those requirements in a way that other systems cannot. ViaSat-3 will also offer NATO, along with allies, access to new mobility and data-relay capabilities that will give birth to entirely new concepts of operations. where I am, what networks are available and how to connect to them. I don’t have to do anything apart from turn my phone on. This is what we are aiming to enable for users of satellite communications, too – a truly seamless experience for the end user that enables access to the best available network(s) to meet their mission requirement. We have come a long way since the early days, but it can still be quite a challenge using legacy systems to set up a SATCOM link and transfer data. Automation will make it possible to deploy equipment faster, and that equipment itself will work faster. By removing the need to manually link to a satellite, access a network and source the required capacity (as well as diagnose and fix problems), automation will streamline the data transfer process and help to facilitate concepts such as multi-domain integration in the UK. We are working tirelessly on bringing automation to our systems and networks, but there will always be a need to continue improving or evolving automation. Experimenting and testing these automation tools is

necessary to ensure they can effectively support users’ needs in operational, restricted or contested environments. Ultimately, we are developing a seamless connectivity solution across different kinds of architectures – be it SATCOM, tactical data links, tactical 5G or other networks – with an end goal of making the experience similar to what we are all used to experiencing with our cell phones. The end-state is a multi-band, multi-orbit, multi-domain data transport capability that is critical to modern warfare, providing greater situational awareness and an information advantage to NATO and Alliance member forces.

What unique capability will the upcoming ViaSat-3 satellite constellation offer NATO and its Alliance partners? The planned ViaSat-3 constellation would have multiple use cases for NATO that could prove incredibly valuable. First, it is designed to deliver capacity dynamics beyond anything that’s been done before with three terabit-class highthroughput satellites, each offering

ViaSat-3 was also designed to be extremely resilient. The ground segment infrastructure, combined with some of the unique security, interference resistance and anti-jam features of the satellite will make it one the most resilient satellite networks ever deployed. But true resiliency is not just about a single system, network or constellation. ViaSat-3 will deliver global coverage on its own, but it will also operate as part of a fleet of accessible satellites and partner networks. With Viasat, the value for customers is not just that which is provided by our own satellites, it is the value of the whole integrated ecosystem of partner satellites, infrastructure and technologies. Our ability to stitch together this ecosystem of network connectivity and deliver it to NATO and other users securely is what we, as a company, really do well.



NATO phased out the ACE High troposcatter network in the 1990s, to then revive the technology in support of expeditionary operations through effective transformational engagements with industry and academia (PHOTO: NATO)

NCI Agency Principal Enterprise Architect, Dr Hermann Wietgrefe, tells Jim Winchester how open engagement with industry and academia helped revive troposcatter transmission technology to support NATO expeditionary operations

Reviving and modernizing an almost forgotten technology over the past decade, the NCI Agency has made great strides in deployable communications infrastructure. The true success has been the transformation engagement approach taken to get there. Traditionally, terrestrial high bandwidth beyond line-ofsight (BLOS) communications relied on troposcatters, high-powered terrestrial transmission systems using scattering effects in the lower levels of the atmosphere to achieve communication links over the horizon. There were some drawbacks to the systems though, as a lot of power was required to ensure reliable analogue links. “You didn’t want to stand in front of it,” says Dr Wietgrefe. “Rumour has it that occasionally dead birds were found close to the antennas.” The 1960s-era ACE-High (Allied Command EuropeHighband) troposcatter strategic network was phased out in the 1990s and the replacement transmission services were provided by satellite communications (SATCOM). “This has advantages and disadvantages,” explains Wietgrefe. “The cost per bit per second over the NATO-owned military satellite is rather expensive and of course, since we normally use geostationary satellites, there is a long delay and not all applications perform well under those conditions. For example, if you need real-time information, you cannot get this over a satellite link where your round-trip delay is 600 or 700 milliseconds. If you want to aim at the rockets that are attacking you, you need to be quicker than that.”



HC-BLOS TECHNOLOGY When NATO developed the Deployable Communications and Information System (DCIS) Programme in the late 1990s in support of expeditionary operations, there was always a strong drive to diversify in-theatre communications that interconnect the deployed DCIS nodes, and offload precious SATCOM capability. So around 2000 the NCI Agency began to look again into alternative in-theatre transmission systems for NATO’s DCIS capability, this time including modern digital troposcatter systems, offering transmission rates similar to digital line-ofsight radio links. Although feasibility of the technology was demonstrated, the available terminals did not fit the deployment requirements, the frequencies used were not readily available to NATO, and built-in signal amplifiers were expensive and maintenance-intensive. So, this initial effort did not bear fruit, but when it was looked into again in around 2010, the Agency took a different approach. Wietgrefe explains, “We wanted to know: would industry be able to give us the interfaces and performance that we needed, would the systems be deployable and could they be operated from a trailer or from a shelter or even in transit cases? Amazingly, all that was possible. Industry looked into the interfaces, the modulation schemes and other performance figures that we wanted, and they developed the next generation of systems. We then took those systems to NATO exercises and demonstrated that they could be easily integrated into our overall networking structure.



We also showed that they were reliable, had good communications features and, most importantly, lived up to the expectations of modern High Capacity (HC-BLOS) technology.” According to Wietgrefe, the technology has come a long way in recent years. “Not only has the modulation improved, but there’s also way more dynamics when it comes to the transmitter power and receiver performance. So nowadays, not only can you communicate using the troposcatter effect over some 150 to 200km, but it is also possible to do a very short line-of-sight shot, with a distance between the two terminals of 1,000m or less with the same system. So, the new systems address three key deployable use cases with the same technology: high-capacity beyond line-of-sight (HC-BLOS), long-range line-of-sight and short-range line-of-sight. In the past, you would have needed three bespoke technologies instead.”

TRANSFORMATIONAL ENGAGEMENT WITH INDUSTRY The approach to industry was much less complex than a traditional military development programme, as Wietgrefe points out. “Basically, we openly shared our requirements and constraints with industry while validating the approach with academia by publishing technical papers at conferences and checking out what the rest of the world was doing. We also exposed our proposal to the world for comment, criticism and suggestions. We then shared again all the results with stakeholders including industry, who eventually evolved their products in the NATO intended direction.

HC-BLOS terminals: Comet (on the left, 1.2m antenna) and MTTS (on the right, 2.4m antenna) (PHOTO: NATO)

NATO’s deployable communications and information system (DCIS) programme benefited from the Agency’s transformational engagement with industry (PHOTO: NATO)

NATO aspires to buy commercial off-the-shelf technology but often imposes so many adaptation requirements that it becomes a military development, with the associated extra risks and costs. NATO experts’ engagements with industry and academia have two major benefits. First, they help industry develop products that are by design well adapted to NATO use cases and requirements. In effect, this contributes to developing a market of military-off-the-shelf products. Second, these activities facilitate short acquisition life-cycles in NATO capability implementation programmes at later stages, as formal NATO requirements will likely be met by existing products. Thus, if these engagements are properly conducted, the market is more likely to take into consideration NATO requirements - as long as they are expressed clearly, industry will recognise the potential commercial benefit.” Such was the success of the NCI Agency work’s and associated transformational engagement activities that the US company Comtech Systems Inc. is currently developing HC-BLOS systems ready to use for NATO and NATO Nations. The terminals are small, lightweight and easy to deploy and operate. Other efforts that have benefitted from transformational engagement with industry resulted in the DCIS Cube architecture, where more than 30 industry partners so far have contributed to an open standards-based architecture for a future DCIS node.


Wietgrefe sums up, “I would say, the important thing is, know your operational requirements. Translate them into draft, well-justified technical requirements. Exchange those with industry and academia and openly engage with industry in trials and whatever is necessary. At the end of the day, you will get more of what you want than you would have gotten without doing this. Engaging really pays off.”



ALERT The NCI Agency’s Director of Air and Missile Defence Command and Control, Michael Stoltz, explains to Alan Dron how the NATO Alliance remains on guard against new and unwelcome intrusions into its airspace 59


Defending NATO airspace is a collective enterprise. Countries support this through contributions in kind, providing national capabilities for air and missile defence, and by contributions in cash, with NATO then providing the common-funded air and missile defence capability. This collective approach also means bringing together and fusing information from many sources that can be used to inform the decision-making process at national and Alliance level. “Nations contribute with the ‘eyes and ears’ of sensors and, to a large extent, with the effectors,” says Michael Stoltz, the NCI Agency’s Director of Air and Missile Defence Command and Control. Air defence often consists of merely observing or escorting an aerial contact – for example, an airliner that has lost contact with air traffic controllers – but in the last resort, it could mean shooting down a hostile aircraft or missile. In the traditional fields of air defence and air policing, the NCI Agency has worked to bring in new systems as well as enhancing existing ones over the past 10 years, Stoltz explains. “Roughly every year we deliver a new major baseline for each of our systems. This can include addressing new threats.” In the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting relaxation of tension, NATO Nations believed they could rely on a long-term ramp-up to counter any looming international problems. The past 10 years have shown that this approach no longer works. So the NCI Agency has worked to bring into service new systems for air command and control (C2) against both manned aircraft and missiles. “Important new aspects that have come to life over the past 10 years through the work of the NCI Agency include the establishment of the NATO Ballistic Missile Defence Capability, the procurement of the first NATO-owned deployable air C2 systems and sensors, and the modernization of the tactical data link domain. Some 10 years ago, we had bespoke tactical data links from the previous decade that had low bandwidth, which severely limited the necessary information exchanges. We’ve put in place new, modern and secure tactical data links. Today, we use a lot of commercial and non-commercial carriers, with high bandwidth and real-time capabilities, well secured, resilient and redundant. This is a key enhancement now leading towards a NATO digital backbone for joint all domain operations.”


Defending Europe’s skies is a collective enterprise supported by the NCI Agency (PHOTO: NCI Agency)


The Patriot long-range air-defence system protects NATO territory (PHOTO: NATO)

BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENCE Ballistic missile defence (BMD) is another area of work in which the NCI Agency is involved, partnering with contributing nations to create a missile defence screen for NATO troops, territory and population in Europe. Such a system did not exist before 2011, when the decision was made that this was an area that needed attention. “Today, we’re at initial operational capability with ballistic missile defence that is gradually extended through agile evolution; so called tranches,” says Stoltz. NATO provides the command and control centres for BMD, funded by all NATO Nations. Sensors and effectors are contributed by a smaller number of countries that have those capabilities. The NCI Agency integrates these capabilities and ensures that the resulting system of systems provides the operators with a consistent and coherent overall capability. “It’s absolutely fair to say the threat in the air has evolved,” says Stoltz. “Over the past two to three years, NATO has moved away from looking at a specific threat coming from a specific direction towards an asymmetric and symmetric 360-degree stance, prepared for a threat from anywhere.”

“Air defence often consists of merely observing or escorting an aerial contact”



New threats have included large-scale peer competitors and new weapons, such as the hypersonic missiles announced by Russia. Those weapons change the speed at which NATO command and control capabilities have to operate, to deliver awareness to the Alliance’s decision-makers and to enable NATO Nations to launch countermeasures where required. Sometimes, the speed of approaching missiles may mean there may not even be time to alert the political decision-makers. “It changes the whole game,” Stoltz says. The speed of these new threats means that all the components of NATO’s C2 systems have to be interfaced and connected in different ways than in the past and the NCI Agency leads this effort through the evolution of the BMD architecture that forms the basis of the overall capability. All of these challenges are addressed by the capability enhancements implemented through the NCI Agency and will increase the effectiveness of the overall system while preserving the political primacy of the sovereign Nations of the Alliance.

FASTER IMPROVEMENTS NATO has also moved away from the traditional weapon development and procurement model that could take up to 20 years between a decision to proceed with a new system to actually getting it into

service. Instead, new capabilities, or tranches of improvements, are deployed every two years or faster, based on the actual operational needs. Electronic warfare and cyber-attacks are increasingly among the threats faced by the Alliance, with the result that systems are now designed from the outset with these dangers in mind. This was an important change initiated in the past 10 years by the NCI Agency, and, until today, a critical aspect of missions for the air domain. According to Stoltz, “Our new air capabilities are not being developed in isolation. They are increasingly being brought together in a system of systems for multi-domain operations, being deeply integrated and becoming data-centric; that means that the NCI Agency’s role is increasingly also that of an integrator for NATO in joint all domain operations.” There is a recognition, however, that the NCI Agency cannot do everything on its own. With this in mind, it is increasingly partnering with industry, especially in the fields of innovation, but also systems engineering and system-of-systems integration. This partnership will bring true changes through innovation to the air and missile defence in the coming decade in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data.

NATO’s air-defence systems are also shipborne (PHOTO: NATO)




Leveraging data and data technology for enhanced capability critical-data elements and are helping the business to identify and validate key processes, strategic project(s) and critical data.

What specific tools and processes are used to mature the digital technology?

Thierry Weulersse CEO ThalesRaytheonSystems Air and Missile Defence Command and Control (TRS AMDC2)

What is TRS’ vision for digital technology and data? As an integrated data services organization, we are aligning capability needs, different technologies and different skills to deliver digital products. This enables the industrialization of data needs throughout TRS AMDC2 allowing product squads to generate value for the users and improve internal efficiency. TRS benefits from our parent companies’ huge cross-data resources from Group CDOs (Chief Data Officers) to data scientists. This means working on two levers in parallel: data governance and value creation. Setting up an appropriate data foundation’s lever is mandatory in order to build a sustainable data landscape on which value can be extracted, as it ensures data governance, quality, compliance, cyber security and thus data trust. In addition, technical data resources within digital competence centers or digital factories are ensuring access to

Our DataLab serves our data strategy by experimenting, incubating and accelerating data projects (from proofs of concept to at-scale development) serving the business areas and functions of the company by both leveraging our parent companies’ strengths (data skills and ecosystem) and collectively creating specific assets such as data-hosting platforms, data visualization and such like. Ultimately, these initiatives give our teams the necessary data-driven mindset, to make sure our products and services meet the new databased challenges to unlock the full potential of data for our clients’ needs. Of course, this technological change would have failed without the involvement of our operational end users, enabled through the linked methodologies of User eXperience (UX), Agile and DevSecOps, which resulted from the digital experimentation TRS began three years ago with the NCI Agency. The apps developed through this process, including the Air Proximity Investigation App, enhance operational efficiency, and allow on-the-spot modifications to adjust the system capabilities to the actual operational requirements. The success of such experimentation has spurred TRS on to even more

ambitious goals such as those that can be achieved through the development of a secured Data Lake, its associated connectivity and the App Store. This allows third parties, including national champions, to develop their own services, making use of the extraordinary amount of data managed and stored by AirC2 systems.

What capabilities and products have you developed and why? TRS demonstrated the ability for the ACCS to host third-party apps, by integrating the ANTICIPE app into the digital ecosystem to great effect. ANTICIPE is a sense-making and decision-support app based on multiple layers of AI, which allows an HQ to gather data from multiple sources, including natural-language processing, and create decision trees. ANTICIPE facilitates Air Operations monitoring by aggregating the AirC2 data streaming into a Data Lake and using Big Data Analytics. In doing so, it can monitor the presence or density of hostile or unknown aircraft in specific areas, raise alerts and provide the Commander with missionallocation recommendations in designated areas. The AirC2 system then tasks these missions thanks to ANTICIPE/AirC2 connectivity thereby closing the augmented OODA loop.





Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) unmanned aerial vehicle in Sigonella, Italy (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

One of the main responsibilities for the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) Centre is to ensure interoperability between a wide range of JISR capabilities and NATO systems. This is achieved through software applications and architectures, allowing information collected by NATO and national platforms to be integrated in, and accessible from NATO systems using NATO-approved standards. Back in 2014, two years after the creation of the NCI Agency, the Intelligence Application Services branch of JISR was responsible for the entire software life-cycle activities, from the research, development and acquisition of the service, to the operations and maintenance phase and, finally, retirement from service. Given the growing JISR portfolio, the Intelligence Applications Services branch was split into two branches – the Intelligence Software Capability Branch (ISCB) and the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Application Services Branch (IASB). This established a clear separation between the realization of new intelligence software capabilities and their operations and maintenance. The two branches constantly update architectures and guarantee that information collected by different NATO and national sources are easily accessible from NATO systems. The ISCB covers intelligence capability projects and intelligence systems training. The branch has added projects and services to its portfolio, including intelligence functional service (INTEL-FS), Coalition Shared Data (CSD), the KFOR (Kosovo Force) Collation Tool and the Balkans Programme of Work (PoW). The approach to work has also evolved over the years. Now,


Matt Roper, Chief of the NCI Agency’s Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Centre, highlights how capabilities developed or supported by the Agency have evolved in the past decade to enable better and faster decisions, thus making the Alliance stronger

these projects have an agile utility that enables a more rapid and flexible response to change than the more traditional ‘waterfall’ approach. A recent noteworthy addition to the ISCB is the position of the Software Solution Architect, aimed at working closely with the Chief Technology Officer to bridge the gap between JISR service activities and the implementation of technology solutions to meet user requirements. The IASB focus is now on the service operations to plan and perform support and maintenance activities for ISR application services. The IASB supports and maintains an ISR portfolio of 11 services providing support and maintenance (level-two and level-three), service delivery management, and support to NATO missions and exercises. Meanwhile, the Operations Support Services Branch (OSSB) has maintained its core business with responsibilities such as the operational support to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&C), and the development of an Allied Command Transformation JISR programme of work. It has also expanded its portfolio by adding new capabilities, including the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS), for which the OSSB helps to mature the capability and enhance the connectivity of its core system to the rest of the Alliance. This helps facilitate data sharing to enable NATO and Nations to maximize their use of AGS data. In the past 10 years, the OSSB has contributed to the recognition of space as an operational domain within NATO. Today, the OSSB provides space services support, as well as the development of space applications. 65


Another activity supported by the JISR Centre is Electronic Warfare (EW). The Electronic Warfare and Surveillance (EWnS) branch covers activities that can be divided into four areas: • radar and sensors; • electro-magnetic operations; • navigation and identification; and • counter terrorism. The first area covers large-scale and complex projects dealing with the procurement and testing of fixed air defence radars, the upgrade of secondary surveillance systems and deployable radars. It includes research and application of advanced technologies such as sensor fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Electro-magnetic operations comprises the support to, and data analysis of, the NATO E-3A AWACS (airborne early warning and control) aircraft, which collect electronic signals to establish and analyse an adversary’s electronic order of battle (number and types of military assets and formations). Navigation and identification cover navigation systems, geolocation of jammers and protection against them – an activity known as navigation warfare or NAVWAR. The counter-terrorism area handles capabilities including counter-improvised explosive device systems, biometrics identification systems, exoskeleton evaluation and counter-drone systems. The EWnS Branch supports the full capability life-cycle, ranging from requirements capturing, system design, development, testing and verification, deployment and in-service support.


As all JISR capabilities, products, services and information need to be geo-located, the JISR Support Centre also encompasses the Geospatial Meteorology and Oceanography Services Branch in its portfolio.

Over the past 10 years, it has become the NCI Agency’s centre of competence for all aspects of geospatial support and geospatial data production, geographic information systems, geospatial intelligence, imagery intelligence, meteorology and oceanography (MetOc). The Branch maintains all life-cycle aspects of both NATO Bilateral Strategic Command Automated Information System (Bi-SC AIS) Core Geographic Services and NATO Automatic MetOc Information System (NAMIS) capabilities including interoperability across all NATO command and control, and functional area services. As such, the Branch provides comprehensive crossdomain services to the NATO Military Authorities, NATO operations and Nations, by integrating to all NATO systems requiring location-based information in order to ensure all “operate off the same map”. In addition, the Branch supports the NATO Military Authorities with geospatial information collection, consolidation, quality assessment, conversion, conflation and production, in collaboration with the Nations and the Multinational Geospatial Support Group, supporting the NATO geospatial information designation process. Finally, an important evolution for the JISR Centre is the close cooperation with the NCI Agency’s education and training hub, the NCI Academy. JISR subject-matter experts work in cooperation with the Academy on a wide range of courses and workshops that cover the full spectrum of JISR activities, aimed at preparing personnel assigned to, or preparing for, NATO posts, including the NATO Response Force.








Earth observation by Airbus: 2022 a pioneering year different sensors, you can monitor a situation on the other side of the world in near real-time. Recently, we invested in our partner HawkEye 360, which now enables us to also provide radio frequency data detections on top of our imagery data, adding another layer of information.

François Lombard SVP, Head of Intelligence Business, Airbus Defence and Space, shares how Airbus supports defence and intelligence forces with precise and readily accessible intelligence from space

What differentiates Airbus’ satellite constellation? Defence and intelligence decision makers need precise and trusted sources of data to get insights on strategic areas anywhere, anytime. Satellite images are particularly useful to assess complex situations, anywhere in the world, and monitor their evolution over time. Airbus is a world-leading Earth Observation (EO) satellite operator with more than 35 years’ experience, and offers access to the most diverse and complete EO constellation with both radar and optical satellites. Our optical sensors deliver images ranging from 1.5m resolution (SPOT) to 30cm imagery with Pléiades Neo, our latest EO system. On the radar side, the TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, PAZ and Nova-SAR satellites can acquire images during nighttime or cloudy weather. If you combine all these

Thanks to these capabilities, we provide defence and intelligence forces with very accurate data for image intelligence (IMINT) and signal intelligence (SIGINT) and thus help them to build a precise common intelligence picture. Beyond the data itself, we also deliver AI-powered data-exploitation and data-fusion solutions, enabling operators to analyse massive amounts of multi-source information in their own protected environment.

Can you tell us more about Airbus’ latest constellation Pléiades Neo? How does it support NATO? Pléiades Neo is our most innovative constellation that led us to completely rethink the way we build and operate EO satellites. It consists of four identical satellites providing imagery with an unmatched 3,5m CE90 geolocation accuracy at 30cm resolution. Such a level of accuracy is ideal for military use, revealing the tiniest details, even in very dense areas: forest, cities and so on. It is Europe’s first and only fully industryowned optical constellation at such a resolution. At the end of this year, the Pléiades Neo constellation will be complete (two more satellites are due to

launch), allowing intra-day revisit and a massive acquisition capacity of up to 2 million km² a day, almost four times the area of France in 24 hours. Pléiades Neo also includes two new spectral bands, deep blue and red-edge, which unlock new applications: detailed maritime and coastal surveillance with bathymetric survey, and false vegetation detection for instance. In support of the NATO Alliance, Pléiades Neo’s fresh and homogeneous data can be rapidly and automatically exploited, for ultimate reactivity and information superiority. The data can also be displayed and exploited in collaborative environments to share situational awareness between allies and exchange reliable intelligence across services. Pléiades Neo images and services (tasking and dissemination) can be immediately available for NATO via a contractual vehicle with SHAPE/ACO or allied nations. If NATO develops an Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS) capability, Pléiades Neo would be a strong asset.

Where can the images from Pléiades Neo and, more widely, from your constellation be accessed? Needless to say, managing the distribution of PetaBytes of images of different sizes to thousands of customers is a real technical challenge. Thus, to ease access to our data, we have developed a dedicated digital platform called OneAtlas. OneAtlas is the one-stop-shop for all Airbus imagery. It enables analysts to


Kabul airport, Afghanistan (Copyright - Airbus DS - 2021)

easily access our optical and radar imagery, our reference layers and first level analysis thanks to analytics. But OneAtlas’ truly unique feature is the ability, given to our customers, to task our Pléiades Neo satellite directly and intuitively through the platform. Analysts are fully able to autonomously set the priority of their tasking and download the images once available onto their workspace.

What’s next? Of course, we are eagerly awaiting the launch of our last two Pléiades Neo satellites later this year. But beyond the satellites themselves, we are also working on innovations around Pléiades Neo services. Thanks to a proprietary AI post-processing system, we are able to significantly improve the visual rendering of Pléiades Neo data, resulting in an image equating to a 15cm resolution

image. As a consequence, the amount of detail remains the same, but data visualisation and analysis become faster and easier. This will also help AI algorithms better detect and recognise mobile objects, ground infrastructure or classify land use even more rapidly. To increase the responsiveness of intelligence services, we have also been working with Airbus’ laser communication capability (EDRS) to ease last-minute tasking and reactive download. More concretely, on a specific area of interest (AOI) an operator would be able to task the satellite 15 minutes before data acquisition, and then receive the data in about 30 to 45 minutes. Basically, only an hour would pass between tasking of the satellite and data visualisation onto the operator’s workspace. Furthermore, thanks to

the combination of other data sources such as Radio Frequency and AIS, we can offer extended intelligence through tip (constant monitoring of a specific area) and cue (triggering high resolution EO satellite) scenarios. In a nutshell, defence and intelligence users need data that is secure and highly reliable, but also regularly accessible, shareable and easy to exploit. Pléiades Neo and Airbus solutions support these trends whether for data or AI-powered solutions. LinkedIn: Airbus Defence and Space – Intelligence


STRENGTHENING NATO’S DIGITAL BACKBONE NCI Agency Principal Programme Management Officer, Gilles Defourneaux, tells Christina Mackenzie how his team helped NATO develop a route to a common digital backbone

Just like any other large organization or corporation, NATO is going through a digital transformation. The NCI Agency is helping to bring the tools, the technology and the know-how to enable that digital transformation so that not only NATO’s employees, but also the sailors, soldiers, aviators and marines operating in a NATO environment are sure that their laptops, tablets, mobile phones and workstations are secure. So, as Gilles Defourneaux, Principal Programme Management Officer explains, a major part of this endeavour is to ensure the security of these networks, 70

of the communications, of the infrastructure. Wherever NATO is working, it must have the digital infrastructure to have an effective workplace. This is particularly necessary today when NATO is evolving to meet the increasing challenges faced by the Alliance, at a time when fast, secure and uninterrupted political and military decision-making has to be guaranteed to the integrated command structure and national leaders. The problem was that each Nation had its own specific network designed for its own national


doctrine. These networks were slowly being connected to one another in a rather ad hoc manner, but there was no global model to define how they could have a secure common platform that the information services could use to make communications faster, more resilient and with fewer weak links.

A COMMON DIGITAL BACKBONE Enter the Alliance Federation Services (AFS) initiative, a common digital backbone built on top of the existing telecom and network infrastructure provided by nations

and the NATO command structure. “This backbone ensures continuity of command and control from the commanders to the national forces, to sensors and to weapon systems. It’s the key to high-readiness and high-resilience for collective defence and consultation between Allies,” says Defourneaux. It is a programme that coordinates communications projects, information management and data exchanges among different applications for intelligence, crypto, air traffic management and so on, which once coordinated produce a common result. “It will bring to NATO the modern principles of distributed networks,” he explains. 71


”It will bring to NATO the modern principles of distributed networks” Initiated three years ago, the AFS reached a key milestone at the end of 2021 when a 450-page document was published. This guide enabled NATO Member States to connect to the new network of networks and allowed almost all of them to start the reconfiguration of their networks. “This milestone came at a key moment for NATO of the revalidation of its readiness and ability to react to imminent threats,” Defourneaux says. To achieve this, his team of about 10 people had to first develop a technical model in collaboration with NATO Alliance Member States. “We worked together with the Member States to get to this point and today all Nations have started to join,” he adds. While Defourneaux is proud that AFS has reached this important milestone, he is well aware that his team’s


IT technicians prepare laptops for NATO staff (PHOTO: NCI Agency)

job is not over. “We have 10 years of work left,” he laughs, “with 2030 both the symbolic and realistic objective. This is not a small network, it’s gigantic with 30 Nations’ armed forces, their drones, their command systems, their Heads of State and Government all needing to join. But the most important step has been taken with the 30 Nations who’ve all agreed the path to follow.” As soon as a new technology is proven “we put it on the roadmap, but because we can’t take the risk on the new technologies emerging all the time, our system is based on fairly conservative technology”.

AN ALLIANCE SERVICES INTEGRATOR Beyond its technological aspects, the future digital backbone is a paradigm change for industry to contribute to NATO collective capabilities. “The old, very centralized, model of services procurement is evolving too, by bringing the benefits of distributed systems and the cloud to create an Alliance ‘marketplace’ or ‘AppStore’. This will allow more effective access for industry to the different components of our C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance) capability, organized within the NATO ICT architecture developed in the NCI Agency. It postures the NCI Agency as an Alliance Services Integrator in this new context,” Defourneaux says. He adds, “It will also allow smaller, more specialized companies to bring to NATO the state-of-the-art services they have been investing in to develop.”


SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH OUR NATO FORCES Information is only power when it can be understood and utilized effectively. Since the mid-1990s, the NCI Agency’s Operational Analysis (OA) Centre has been supporting NATO military decision-making, combining real-world experience of working in hot zones with cutting-edge analytical methods and tools to provide the Alliance with a powerful capability. Ann Rogers asks the Chief of Operational Analysis, Sylvie Martel, to explain

Who’s on your team and what is its role?


We have about 30 people, which is fairly small. It’s made up of engineers, mathematicians, physicists, scientists – that’s typically the background – and most of them come in with previous experience of supporting the military. We apply data science and advanced analytics to support military decision-making.


Our work is applicable right across the board, from supporting NATO operations such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, to analysing NATO needs for future capabilities. We draw on operational data collected from the battlefield, and we transform that data into actionable information for decision-makers. We do this by applying various analytical techniques to transform the data in a transparent and reproducible way. Because we are involved in all steps of the process, we understand and can communicate the drawbacks



and limitations of the data and work to improve it. Decision-makers can be confident that they are making evidence-based decisions with the best data available.


How did the OA Centre contribute to the Afghanistan mission?

Over the past 10-plus years we’ve had two separate projects, one providing direct in-theatre support to the analysis of operational data, and one providing support to an independent civilian experts’ assessment to NATO military commanders in Europe.


In Afghanistan, we had an analyst embedded, on a rotational basis, within the Headquarters staff, in the J5 Assessments Branch (the “Assessment and Analysis Group”, AAG). Each analyst deployed for two or three months. Due to the regular deployments over many years, the analysts also provided an enduring corporate memory on the mission. In theatre, people are constantly faced with events, so there was also a reach-back cell at the NCI Agency in The Hague (Netherlands) where we could undertake more timeconsuming analysis. The team provided analytical 74

support to the Command Group to help make sense of the data coming in – insurgent attacks, civilian casualties, Afghan national defence and security force staffing, recruitment and casualties, that sort of thing. We also analysed survey data collected from the Afghan population to find out how they were feeling about the mission, their own security and the economy. My team analysed the data, helped refine the questions and summarised the results. With our advanced analytics methods, we could undertake more granular analysis of local politics, groupings, ethnicities and so on and make some inferences. To give you an example of how it all worked together, if a commander was planning some movements around election time, there was a need to know what kind of incidents were typical on the routes. My team would analyse all the data collected by the various military presences in theatre and correlate this data with other factors such as historical trends, geography and seasonality. This would then be summarised, often in graphic form, and provided as part of the daily briefing to the commander.


“We draw on operational data collected from the battlefield, and we transform that data into actionable information”

The OA team converted data into easy-to-understand dashboards to help decision-makers (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)


What kind of tools and methods did you use in Afghanistan?

We used geospatial and time-series analysis, modelling, forecasting, machine learning and other types of statistical analysis, along with other tools to improve the quality and efficiency of data. We developed tools, including online interactive dashboards and the automation of data processing, so Headquarters staff could better assess changes in the operating environment.


Your team also facilitated an independent assessment process at the strategic level. What did that look like?


Back in 2008, SACEUR (Supreme Allied

A Commander Europe) requested the

establishment of an independent, systematic evidencebased assessment to augment existing chain-ofcommand efforts. My team designed and implemented a structured assessment framework, working with civilian subject matter experts and a supporting data collection effort, to provide periodic reports and

briefings directly to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Command Group and wider NATO stakeholders. The project ran continuously through the end of the Afghanistan mission in 2021 and a similar effort has now been stood up to support the mission in Iraq. The experts were highly distinguished individuals – former ambassadors, sociologists, economists – so we had to come up with methods for systematically eliciting information from them, collating and then synthesizing these insights into something informative and actionable for SHAPE. The value of such an assessment was its independence and consistency of approach; providing a unique “challenge” function – or a kind of “red-teaming.” It was fascinating to see how successive SHAPE leadership teams became increasingly engaged with this evidencebased approach. It also enabled my team to better understand the different perspective at the strategic level, compared to their teammates in Kabul at the theatre-level. The two projects had great mutual benefit in that way. 75


In the digital battlespace Dr Fulvio Arreghini, former Italian Navy Commander and, Principal - Global Business, INFODAS, looks at the benefits of cross domain solutions for naval applications

Dr Fulvio Arreghini Principal – Global Business, INFODAS

How can the cybersecurity challenges caused by the digitalization of warships be solved? The digital battlespace is driving the digitalization and integration of systems across the operating domains. It is no surprise then that naval architectures are also evolving in that direction, bringing undoubted benefits, but also new challenges and threats. Following the famous ‘Perry memo’ of 1994, which prohibited the use of most military specifications and standards without a waiver, the widespread adoption of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment in military systems has enabled a significant increase in system flexibility and maintainability while dramatically reducing the cost of acquisition and ownership. Hence, today, most naval architectures make wide use of COTS systems across both hardware and software systems.

There is no doubt that using COTS systems reduces the time and resources required for system development and integration. However, there is a genuine potential for security flaws to migrate into onboard naval systems as, generally speaking, more COTS adoption commonly leads to, among other things, open-source systems and architectures. The recent Log4j flaw is an example of how open-source components can create significant vulnerabilities in military systems. That said, a return to bespoke hardware and software development is not really an option for the military domain. This is significant, because the attack surface of COTS-based systems is growing. This calls for effective and rapid responses.

What is the impact of the digitalization of naval platform management and communication systems? Just as warship combat management systems (CMS) are rapidly evolving, so too are naval communication and platform management systems. Evolution from analog-based radios to new-generation, software-defined communication systems (CS) with MANET (wireless mesh network) capabilities has transformed communication from being predominantly voice-based into complete internetworked systems based on internet protocol (IP) data. It is, therefore, a natural progression that the CS is now fully integrated with the CMS and shares a segment of the network infrastructure. However, the segregation and separation of some data flows between the CMS and the CS is still mandatory.

The platform system (PS), however, has followed a different path: operational technology (OT), which integrates all the vital computing and automation systems of the supervisory functions for such things as power generation, cooling and safety systems. For decades, OT has been a completely different technology sector from IT, as it is based on programmable logic controllers and supervisory control and data acquisition protocols, rather than on switches, routers and IP-based protocols. That said, the convergence of OT and IT has become a feature of many current systems, including warship architectures. Nowadays, thanks to the emergence of digital naval cockpits, it is possible to display images from the navigation radar and the status of the power generation on the same monitor. But, hidden from view, are a number of integration activities between different worlds. Integrating OT and IT is not a trivial task as OT is directly connected to the vital functions of a ship and often subject to safety regulations. Therefore, there is a compelling need to protect OT from potential threats that may introduce attack vectors and compromise the availability of critical systems.

Land operations are usually conducted with manoeuvres of multiple vehicles/assets on the battlefield. Is a warship a more isolated asset? A warship is not an isolated platform; it forms a node in complex mission networks as part of multi-domain operations. In operations, a warship


Connect Classified D

Transfer, share and control any data with approved Cross Domain Solu

exchanges significant volumes of data with cooperating assets (manned or unmanned platforms) in different locations over network connections, each one possibly belonging to different security networks – national, coalition or mission. Sharing data is a cornerstone of modern warfare and multiple security domains coexist, stacked, layered and interconnected with each other. When not in operation, a warship has a permanent connection to onshore information systems to, for example, exchange data, which is vital for supporting the integrated lifecycle support operations – maintenance planning or remote maintenance.

Each of these connections is a possible point for the leak of classified/sensitive data and for the entry of attack vectors.

Do you see air gapping as an effective solution for the security of data across multiple domains? For the most part, and for decades, the security challenges in security domain transitions have been solved by air gapping. This has contributed to the myth that air gapping can be the basis of cross domain security. But be under no illusion, air gapping is not only far from being an applicable solution, it is also far from being a secure solution. Firstly, air gapping is based on the use of removable media such as USB sticks or hard drives. Although it’s true that the cost of a gigabyte of removable memory is continuously decreasing, it is also true that the endpoints in military systems may still have limited

storage capacity and slow data interfaces. It is quite improbable to find a USB C connection or large SSD storage on military endpoints. That reality alone poses considerable questions as to whether air gapping is still a viable security option, particularly as the volumes of data being transferred on a daily basis may amount to several Terabytes.

In terms of the security of air gapping, removable media are listed among the primary entry points for attack vectors into systems. When transferring data in an air gapped network, the trust anchor is the person carrying around the removable media. Even if the media can be inspected at the source and destination of the transfer, what happens during the transfer itself is a grey zone, which cannot be audited, making the risk of data leaks and attack vectors a tangible security threat.

(ROSI) as their security, by design, does not require constant updating/ upgrading as new threats emerge, because CDS are based on a strict ‘white-list’ principle. Finally, CDS can be combined with other security appliances, such as firewalls and malware protection, to reduce the attack surface to the minimum.

The architecture of naval systems (CMS, communication, OT) has evolved, enabling better informed decision-making, but some security procedures are still based on outdated practices and security myths. Only a shift in the security mentality will enable the exploitation of the full power of digitalization. After all, a mechanism runs at the speed of its slowest gear, which for the digitalization of naval architecture is probably air gapping.

Data Diode


Security Gateway / Guar

Data Classification / Labell

There is no doubt in my mind that Cross Domain Solutions (CDS) are, today, the best option for interconnecting formerly air gapped domains. With CDS, a unidirectional or bidirectional data exchange between security domains can be implemented, while enforcing the strictest security policies. Moreover, approved CDS can implement controlled choke points between security domains while maintaining the security accreditation of the system. Furthermore, CDS, compared to other security solutions such as firewalls or intrusion detection and prevention systems (IPS/IDS), have a higher Return on Security Investment

Scan me. Learn more.


NATO TRUST FUND: A HISTORY OF SUPPORT TO NATIONS The NCI Agency’s acting Chief Operating Officer, Eric Lièvre, offers an update on how NATO’s Trust Fund initiatives have been supporting Ukraine in its hour of need. David Hayhurst reports 78


Launched in 2000, NATO’s Trust Fund initiatives were originally developed within NATO’s highly successful Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. The initial goal was to give NATO a practical means to help partner countries in Europe, the southern Caucasus region and Central Asia, safely destroy their stockpiles of anti-personnel weaponry. The NATO Trust Fund/PfP system has since been expanded to all the Alliance’s partner countries around the world, whether as recipients or donors. Along with the original goal, Trust Funds today assist in a wide variety of bilateral, defence transformation cooperation efforts. These include converting military bases for civilian use, helping ex-military personnel

transition to civilian life, and a wide array of initiatives strengthening partner nations’ overall defence and security capabilities. The first NATO/PfP Trust Fund project in 2000, providing material help to the Ukrainian government’s efforts in clearing anti-personnel landmines, was seen as a ground-breaking success, demonstrating the Trust Fund concept’s suitability for its rapidly expanding range of applications in the two decades following.

FIVE TRUST FUNDS FOR UKRAINE Responding to the Russia-Ukraine crisis in 2014, NATO Member States initiated five Trust Funds. These were to aid Ukraine in C4 (command, control, communications



and computers) structure and capability upgrading; logistics and standardization; cyber-defence; military career transition; and medical rehabilitation. The NATO Ukraine Comprehensive Assistance Trust Fund – which does not deal with cyber security issues – consists of four C4-specific projects: Urgent Tactical Communications; the Regional Airspace Security Programme (RASP); Knowledge Sharing; and Situational Awareness Capabilities. The primary objective is “enhancing Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security” in both the shorter and longer terms, explains Eric Lièvre, the NCI Agency’s acting Chief Operating Officer. Regarding the former, the Trust Fund received an urgent requirement request from Kyiv in 2014, as the conflict heated up, for the provision of secure communications equipment, including encrypted tactical radios. “At the time we started to engage with them, they were using Russian radios,” says Lièvre, which, despite being fully encrypted by the Ukrainian armed forces, could be fully accessed by their Russian counterparts. This could potentially have allowed Russian forces to physically locate the radio users - with obvious, lethal potential consequences. The equipment provided in response by the C4 Trust Fund “is still in use by Ukrainian forces today,” says Lièvre.


Kyiv had also requested support through RASP, a highly sophisticated Air Traffic Management (ATM) security system that was also initiated through a NATO C4 Trust Fund. With the main security centre for coordination across the Black Sea region already operational in Türkiye, and for west-Ukraine in Poland, a RASP central unit and two local coordination units were established at three sites in Ukraine. These were deactivated following the

Russian invasion this year, “but these can be reactivated at any time. This was the second Trust Fund-related initiative where we put something tangible on the ground that was successfully used by Ukraine,” says Lièvre. Lièvre also sees the Knowledge Sharing component of the C4 Trust Fund for Ukraine as having produced good results, particularly in improving Ukraine’s interoperability with NATO, “not only from a technical point of view, but also for all C4 concepts and architectures. Typically, we had specialists that were going to Ukraine to explain, for example, how we organize our Joint Operations Centre thereby, prior to the latest invasion, helping the country to better understand fundamental NATO concepts and standard operational procedures in order to be far more interoperable with the Alliance. Due both to the Covid pandemic and the ongoing war, the Situational Awareness component of the C4 Trust Fund package - whose top priority was transferring situational awareness experience and knowledge to Ukrainian armed forces - has yet to see any tangible deliveries. Nevertheless, Lièvre feels strongly that the NATO Ukraine Comprehensive Assistance Trust Fund has more than proved its worthiness. “We have been quite successful on three of the four C4 Trust Fund projects. We were praised by Ukraine regarding the support we were providing. We were able to deliver real tangible capabilities,” in terms of the tactical radios, RASP and knowledge sharing, he confirms. The Trust Fund was initially being overseen by three lead nations – Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany – but has recently been consolidated under a single Comprehensive Assistance Package.



The NCI Agency’s Deputy Chief of Acquisition, Procurement and Policy, Alexandre Vitry, is working to simplify acquisition procedures and make them accessible to a growing group of companies and not-for-profit organizations. Alan Dron reports 81


The NCI Agency’s acquisition processes have evolved significantly over the years and will change further in the future to boost collaboration with industry and non-industrial partners, according to the Agency’s Deputy Chief of Acquisition, Procurement and Policy, Alexandre Vitry. “In the past 10 years there have been major developments in procurement procedures, through such things as the introduction of the Best Value evaluation procedures, establishment of the Acquisition Directive and the Agency framework for cooperation with not-for-profit organizations from across NATO Nations,” Vitry says.

BEST-VALUE EVALUATIONS For the more complex ‘International Competitive Bidding’ acquisitions, where technical approaches among bidders may differ, the NCI Agency uses an 82

evaluation method known as Best Value. This allows the Agency to award the contract to a bidder whose total evaluation score (not just the price) shows that they have been evaluated to offer the Agency and thus – NATO – the ‘best value’. The focus of a Best Value evaluation is risk mitigation for complex acquisitions. It is not to enable bidders to offer additional features for a higher price, but to show that their approach would reduce the risk to the Agency. “Then there is a series of actions that were taken, such as the Basic Ordering Agreements (BOA) Uplift, which was based on lessons learned from nearly 20 years of running the programme. BOA is an accelerated procurement procedure used by the NCI Agency to acquire commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and services, by having companies register in advance through a BOA Agreement and based on a Declaration of Eligibility from their national authorities, so they are

qualified to participate in bids among all BOA holders. “Other ground-breaking activities include our Not-For-Profit (NFP) Framework that allows us to award task orders to not-for-profit organizations. This is mostly for engagements with academic, scientific and research organizations for providing support to the Agency in execution of the scientific programme of work, research and development, and potentially – in the implementation of projects or provision of services. The NFP framework operates the same way as the BOA Programme, but it is designed for the exclusive participation of NFP organizations. This has been validated recently and in May, we awarded the first two Task Orders following NFP competitions,” Vitry says.

AGENCY MIND-SHIFT Changes to the way in which the NCI Agency goes about acquisition


have not been limited to procedures, explains Vitry. There has also been a change in ways of thinking at the Agency to maximize participation from bidders. The Agency has also introduced new types of contracts. One example is enterprise agreements, such as Indefinite Duration, Indefinite Quantities (IDIQ), which bring increased flexibility to procurement. Are plans now in hand to further evolve the acquisition process in future? “Absolutely, this is really a big focus for acquisition,” says Vitry. “Acquisition reforms mean looking at the process both internally and externally. ‘Internally’ means looking at the opportunity to become leaner in our processes and procedures within the remit of current NATO regulations. ‘Externally’ means addressing the relevant NATO committees and bodies with ideas for acquisition reforms including through the International Staff NATO Office of Resources-led task force on the NATO acquisition review.” The NCI Agency is also engaging with industry at an earlier stage in the acquisition process. There are several ways of doing this. “We have a strong focus on impartiality. The industry relations team was recently moved into acquisition. That will definitely help further structure the way we strategically plan for, and interact with, industry.”

ROUTES TO ENGAGEMENT Engaging NATO Member States in the acquisition process is also important, as in many cases

countries nominate companies that can participate in selections. For they consider comply with the NCI example, there are now simplified Agency’s solicitations (through a procedures for lodging bid Flagship events like the NCI Agency’s NATO Edge Declaration of Eligibility). Among guarantees. That previously conference feature procurement opportunities the routes to engaging companies required the use of a Belgian bank, are national industry days, in which but this is no longer the case. This the NCI Agency briefs organizations simplification of procedures has on “how to do business with the been very well received, Agency” – business opportunities particularly by those nations that and Agency procurements are also have large numbers of small and very popular themes of NCI Agency medium enterprises that want to flagship events, such as at the NATO participate in NCI Agency bids,” Edge conference in October this Vitry concludes. year. Additionally, all procurement opportunities are published on the Agency’s website. “We have simplified our procedures to make sure as many companies as possible – whether big or small – 83


ENHANCING INTEROPERABILITY The Commander of the NATO Communications and Information Systems Group (NCISG), Major General Frank Schlösser, tells Simon Michell what Federated Mission Networking is and how it supports NATO operations 84


Core Enterprise Services team works in a Server Room in Mons, Belgium. (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

As a key contribution to the Connected Forces Initiative, what is Federated Mission Networking?


The framework itself is a collection of tools, processes and procedures on which NATO and other FMN affiliates can build the mission networks and establish mission procedures.

Federated Mission Networking (FMN) is not only

A the key contribution to Connected Forces Initiative, but also the key to Day Zero Interoperability among NATO, NATO Nations and partners in Allied operations and missions and other multinational coalitions. FMN consists of three intertwined parts, one being the governance and management structure empowering the other two elements, namely, the framework and the actual mission networks.


Can you describe the philosophy that lies behind the FMN concept?

The Future Mission Network Concept from 2012 was the result of a strong wish from the Alliance to exploit the newly-gained experiences and advantages of information-sharing and shared situational awareness from the Afghanistan Mission Network; this marked the start of a new way for




“I believe it is time to take FMN to the next level” combining communications and information systems in support of operational processes. Once the concept was approved and during the effort to implement the Future Mission Network, it became clear that a name change was necessary to underline the real intent of FMN – federation, mission-driven and involving more than technology. The first word is: Federated. Federation means that we, the FMN affiliates, develop, plan and execute missions and networks together and as such, there is no king but a federation of participants in the FMN initiative and mission networks. The second word is: Mission. FMN is mission-driven, which means that FMN is developed based on an operational foundation in support of Allied missions and operations that is also open to partners and Allies. The third word is: Networking. It is important to note the difference between network and networking, since it is all about the people in the


process. Many see FMN as a technological initiative, but in reality it is very much about people and operations. Over the past 10 years, how has the NCISG and the NCI Agency collaborated on FMN development and implementation?


FMN is a key feature of the Steadfast Cobalt (STCO) Exercises. FMN, with the NCISG Commander as the STCO Officer Conducting the Exercise and Exercise Director, is working very closely with assigned nations to be federated. In terms of governance and management, NCISG’s J2/6 division is represented in many NATO Response Force (FMN-focused) working groups and goards. Finally, NATO Deployable Communications and Information Systems (DCIS) has a significant role in the federation of national systems applying FMN spirals and planning network architectures in close coordination with the NCI Agency.


What are the next steps for FMN, why are they important and what role will the NCI Agency play in their implementation?


The development of FMN takes an incremental approach following a spiral development method. The first two spirals were focused on


The NCI Agency has applied FMN standards to the DCIS – Deployable Communications and Information Systems (PHOTO: NATO)

FMN products are generally framework-related and consisting of paperwork-based tools on which FMN Affiliates can establish procedures and build tangible capabilities in support of operations and missions. However, in my functions as SHAPE Deputy Chief of

Federated Mission Networking is a key feature of NATO’s STEADFAST COBALT exercises (PHOTO: SHAPE)

Staff Cyberspace, chairperson of the FMN Management Group and NCISG Commander, I believe it is time to take FMN to the next level by emphasising the need for the establishment of standing FMN capabilities in NATO and all FMN affiliates to support daily operations, readiness of forces, exercises and training. As I have mentioned, we have already established a mission network in support of the NRF where Nations providing command elements and units connect. We need many more elements like this to support all operational oriented activities in NATO. The role of the NCI Agency is clear to me, both in its role as a leading NATO agency championing FMN in the tech-community and in implementing FMN-based solutions across the static and deployable infrastructure in the Alliance. Additionally, to be able to rapidly federate shared services between Nations and partners in support of NATO-led missions, the NCI Agency must place more emphasis on ensuring that FMN-based solutions are implemented widely in all NCI Agency deliverables that interface with Nations, ranging from communications services across to user-facing applications. The ongoing renewal of the connection to Nations using the NATO-to-Nations gateway is already following the federation of connection services policy and is a beneficial step in the right direction.


delivering basic communications and information systems services to make a foundation for implementing operational community of interest services along with command-and-control functions and applications. The implementation of these two spirals, using capabilities that had been already either in service or in the pipeline of the Allies and partners, allowed time for all stakeholders to grasp FMN, which in many ways is a complex and overwhelming initiative. The NCI Agency has been – and still is – supporting FMN in many different ways, including providing subject-matter expertise to the management structure, the spiral development and providing input to numerous documents and reports. The NCI Agency also supports the NATO Command Structure as an affiliate within the FMN initiative and has applied FMN standards wherever possible to NATO’s Deployable CIS (DCIS). As Service Management Authority and Technical Design Authority, the NCI Agency with the NCISG has also led the annual creation of Mission Networks in support of each rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF).


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Enhancing maritime traffic monitoring with distributed acoustic sensing for defence interrogation technique to our competitors, giving us a greater range in terms of the signal – more than 100km from the interrogator down the cable with current technology, but we will extend this range in the future using repeaters.

Can you describe what optical DAS technology is? DAS stands for distributed acoustic sensing. It is a technology that converts standard subsea telecommunications fibre-optic cables into sensors capable of detecting disturbances in the water and on the seabed. This sensor capability is achieved by connecting an ASN OptoDAS interrogator system to a fibre at the end of a cable on the landside to measure how long it takes reflected light to travel back to the interrogator. If the normal travel time of the light changes, the interrogator knows that something (noise or movement) is affecting the cable – be that a surface vessel, fishing equipment on the seabed or some other activity in the water.

How does this technology work? By measuring the time delay of the reflected light, caused by an acoustic source from, for example, the engine of a cargo ship or the sound or disturbance of trawling gear on the seabed, fibre-optic telecommunications cables can act as passive sensors capable of detecting different kinds of activity, which can then be located and monitored. Although we at Nokia are concentrating on subsea cables via our subsidiary ASN Norway, the same applies to terrestrial cables. They too can be used as ultra-long acoustic arrays to detect and monitor movement of equipment and people. As I explained, DAS is very sensitive and has already been used by scientists and conservationists to detect and monitor various different types of whale species. In terms of shipping, we have been monitoring fishing vessels some 100km out at sea and at about 2km distance from our cables. OptoDAS has been used for other civil applications, including railway monitoring. It could also be used to monitor underwater seismic activities as well as for border control.

DAS is extremely sensitive and even the tiniest time delays can be measured, making it possible to detect activity on the seafloor and surface vessels that can then be monitored and tracked at very long distances. We use a different

What military applications does DAS technology have? Fibre-optic cables form a very extensive global network and are prolific around the coastlines throughout the world. In fact, more than 1.2 million km of fibre-optic

Morten Eriksrud Business Development Director, ASN Norway (Nokia)

cables have been installed so far. More are being installed all the time. These cables themselves form part of countries’ national critical infrastructure and are worth defending from attack. The DAS system would make it very difficult for a state or state-sponsored organization to instigate an unobserved attack on a cable as any attempt to disrupt the cables would be noticed, as would the nearby presence of a surface vessel or submersible. Apart from that, I would say that another military application for the DAS sensor concept would be littoral defence and surveillance. This technology could complement other systems already installed to track any type of vessel passing near the coast. Not only could OptoDAS be used to keep a watch on the coastline in general, but if a dedicated cable were installed around a naval facility, it would be able to protect that too. The same is true for a land facility. OptoDAS would be able to detect vehicles and troops in the vicinity. In terms of NATO, it could help safeguard Alliance maritime and land domains throughout its vast territory without the need to install new infrastructure – especially along the coastline.

For more information on OptoDAS defence applications, contact Ken Spruyt, NATO account director, at



FROM SPACE Chris Aaron speaks to the NCI Agency’s Laryssa Patten, Space Portfolio Manager, and APSS Operational Lead Desirae Martinez, from Allied Command Operations about a new concept for achieving persistent surveillance from space





Situational awareness lies at the core of NATO’s 2030 strategy. To respond quickly to evolving threats and emergencies, the Alliance’s strategic and operational decision-makers need all the reliable information they can process. This need for ever better situational awareness lies behind NATO’s creation of its own Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) capability, the standing up of NATO AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) in Sigonella, Italy and, in part, the declaration of space as an operational domain. Laryssa Patten, Space Portfolio Manager, NCI Agency, says that technological advances and commercial innovators in the space sector are now providing new opportunities for NATO to achieve a persistent spacebased surveillance capability. Patten points out that when it comes to surveillance, space-based sensors have unique advantages over air-breathing platforms. Their persistence, field of vision, relative invulnerability (especially at higher orbits), resilience and ability to overfly non-permissive areas make them a powerful aid to situational awareness that political and military commanders can rely upon. Chief Warrant Officer Four Desirae Martinez from Allied Command Operations (ACO), explains that NATO decision-makers at all levels currently have controlled access to Iiagery intelligence. This access is growing and will continue to grow as new systems are installed: “Analysts require persistent imagery over time to make accurate and detailed assessments,” she explains.


Martinez points out that NATO doesn’t own any space-based assets itself, rather it relies on requests to Member States or purchases commercial imagery. Against this background, NATO Headquarters (HQ), Allied Command Operations, and the NCI Agency have been working very closely on a ‘virtual constellation’ concept that could fill these gaps in NATO’s intelligence requirements.

A SPACE PARTNERSHIP The concept, known as Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS), envisages the creation of a virtual ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) space constellation partnership, using existing and adapted NATO processes, infrastructure and systems. These would effectively and efficiently deliver ISR data and services from Alliance governmental and commercial satellites and then layer, analyse and share the resultant information product with NATO decision-makers. Patten says that several elements of APSS have been identified. These include an initiative aimed at securing the required data from space for the Alliance, and a delivery element to ensure data and products from space are effectively integrated into NATO systems and processes. The delivery element focuses on the re-use and adaptation of existing systems and infrastructure needed to store and process sensor data and make it compatible for use in NATO architectures such as the Coalition Shared Database (CSD). Other crucial elements are the security of all data and processing systems; how to include tasking in collection management; timely and comprehensive updating of geospatial information (maps) so that all users have the same picture; and the analysis tools that will be needed to turn data into information products. This inclusion of analytics is vital to ensure that the Alliance is not subjected to a data deluge, but is in receipt of data and products that can support and elevate the analyst. There will also need to be agreements and protocols created regarding the use of data contributed by Member States and by commercial suppliers. This is an area in which NATO HQ will play an important negotiating role. NATO’s membership includes some of the most advanced space-faring nations in the world, and the majority of NATO Nations are increasing the capability of their space-based ISR. APSS aims to harness the power of coordinated and cooperative Alliance national and commercial ISR collection, analysis and sharing;


focused on enhancing situational awareness and decision-making. Asked how long such a concept might take to put into practice, Patten envisages a process of rapid continuous adaptation; delivering capability as soon as it is ready, and continually expanding and improving the products and services while adapting to rapidly changing technologies. Patten points out that today NATO is aiming for persistent surveillance, but that in the near future, continuous coverage from space will be the norm.

OBSERVATION SATELLITE LAUNCHES Alliance Member States currently own more than 150 surveillance satellites, a number which is expected to grow beyond 2,000 by 2030. NATO Member States are also home to commercial companies that operate more than 350 earth observation satellites, with a further 1,000 expected to launch by 2030. By laying the groundwork for a virtual constellation now, NATO will be in a better position to benefit from these expanding data feeds in the future. As is often the case with the Big Data paradigm, the APSS concept will not just deliver more and better imagery intelligence to decision-makers, but could deliver quite new capabilities. Patten and Martinez envisage a shift from target-based tasking to a problembased approach. Rather than requesting continuous imagery and analysis for a named area of interest over a specific period, a military commander might request an alert for signs of movement or change related to any number of relevant factors. For example, in a

humanitarian assistance situation such as a flood resulting in displaced persons, improved access to space-based data could help an analyst monitor areas of damage more accurately, or identify safe routes and potential camp locations. Under the APSS concept, a commercial earth observation company could be contracted to perform this task, using their own assets and analytic software to satisfy the request. The APSS itself might, in this case, not even need to store or process any data to fulfil the military requirement. This concept demands a cultural shift in potentially outsourcing intelligence problems, and comes with associated security, doctrinal, policy and training challenges. The teaming of NATO HQ, ACO and the NCI Agency on delivering APSS allows these challenges to be addressed appropriately. By developing the infrastructure, systems, protocols, and agreements required for such a capability, the APSS aims to deliver strategic advantages, enabling NATO militaries to use their assets most effectively, allowing commercial investments in space to be leveraged for collective defence, and freeing up scarce military space assets for the most critical tasks. In addition, it can provide a forum for politicalmilitary consultations and information sharing on relevant ISR from space topics. “In short, APSS aims to provide NATO with the situational awareness its decision-makers need to ensure our collective defence and shared freedoms. There is a need, however, to address the challenge of data overflow while making it easier to share the data among Alliance Partners,” concludes Patten.






FUTURE The NCI Agency’s new Chief of Staff, Major General Hans Folmer, tells Simon Michell what needs to be done to ensure the Agency nurtures its diverse and inclusive workforce to attract and retain the highly qualified and flexible people it needs to address future challenges


What are your main priorities since becoming NCI Agency Chief of Staff?

Before being appointed Chief of Staff (COS) at the NCI Agency on 3 March 2022, I was Chief of Staff of the NATO Communications and Information Systems Group (NCISG). During that time, I was also acting Deputy Chief of Staff for Cyber at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). So, I am well aware of the Agency. But, now as COS, I need to get to know the people who work here and understand the Agency’s internal ways of working.




“We need our leaders to listen, empathize and to understand what people are saying”

e and secure working environment for all (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

When it comes to the working environment my priority is to improve internal cooperation and enhance efficiency. And as the Agency is supporting the Alliance’s change in operational posture as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine, I need to support the required shift in mindset that the current crisis has brought about. In light of the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ that has followed Covid-19, what can the Agency do to retain existing staff and their expertise?


We have not really been impacted by the ‘Great

A Resignation’. Nevertheless, staff retention and

empowering people to be more effective (for example, less bureaucracy, more entrepreneurialism) are some of my main strategic objectives. Getting the work/life balance right is very important to me. So, alongside making the Agency a safe and secure place to work, we will also continue with our efforts to create a flexible hybrid working solution that supports everybody – including parents and caregivers. We have also implemented a new directive on how we structure the organization. We are focusing on technical and professional growth and development, emphasizing professionalization and streamlining people processes. This will improve the employee experience and satisfaction, while increasing efficiency to NATO’s benefit.


It is equally very important to have great leaders in organizations, characters who lead by example, who are empowered, value their team members, and are able to facilitate the operations and activities

of their teams. That is why another major element is the development of managers. I want to create a strong leadership culture throughout the Agency through leadership development programmes, management education and team effectiveness initiatives. The aim is to create a coherent organization with empowered, creative people who can collaborate effectively and come up with the brilliant ideas we need. To be effective, an organization needs diversity and an inclusive spirit. This will help us to attract and retain the best talent, create richer solutions, obtain better results, protect us from unexpected risks and increase engagement. We can create an environment where people are more satisfied and productive. Most importantly, we need our leaders to listen,

Expertise in information warfare is going to become ever more important (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

In relation to staff retention and recruitment policies, which technical skills are currently most critical at the Agency?


As you might expect from an organization that specializes in communications and information systems, our top priority is engineers. That covers both the more traditional sphere of C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), cyber security and networking as well as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data science and quantum technologies. Of course, we also need skills in programme management and programming, but what we are really looking for is creative, flexible people with innovative thinking who are able to work collaboratively.


So, it is those skills I just mentioned: AI, data science, quantum technologies. We will also need more cyber security and space expertise as well as skills in the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, we need those skills now or even yesterday. Then there are other technologies that are derived from all that, such as robotics, computer vision, machine learning and all types of data processing. Overall, there are a lot of new technologies and skills that we need as well.


empathize and understand what people are saying and feeling, as well as what they need. That is integral and I consider making this happen as one of my key tasks.

But it is not just in the more conventional domains where we ought to focus. We should also bolster our expertise in technologies that could help NATO counter disinformation. With deep fakes and other forms of disinformation in this increasingly complex information environment, developing these technologies is critical.

Future technologies will require advanced skills in AI, data science, robotics and space systems (PHOTO: NCI AGENCY)

Which new skills do you anticipate the

Q Agency will require in the future? In the future, we will see potential

A adversaries using more sophisticated technologies and information systems, many of which will be autonomous and much faster. They will accelerate the OODA (observe, orientate, decide, act) loop significantly, and so we will need to counter that threat by having the technology available to our own forces.


Solving to get more pilots cleared for takeoff. Google Cloud is helping the US Department of Defense to modernize their flight training and make it more efficient, dramatically increasing access for flight personnel.

What are you solving for?


EMBRACING CHANGE For an organization to remain relevant across decades, it needs to be adaptable. In light of the ’Great Resignation’ and a complex security environment, Zainab Hashiru talks to Tania Caeto, NCI Agency Head of Organizational Development and Change, about the need for transforming organizational processes and culture to remain relevant and fit-for-purpose 99



As we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, employees at many organizations are bringing evolved personal values, boundaries and behaviours back to work with them. Their changing mindset on their work is playing an important role in shaping the culture of their organizations and the overall workforce itself. Employers have had to adapt to this evolution or face the voluntary resignation of their employees, an exodus being referred to as the ‘Great Resignation’.

The team has created the NCI Agency Organizational Change Management (OCM) model, a framework that guides Human Resources (HR), teams and individuals within the Agency in navigating and adopting change. For Caeto, the first step to approaching change in the workplace is to demystify it. “Change should not be seen as something scary, impossible and impractical,” she says. “I want people to be comfortable with change and leaders to be comfortable in managing change.”

As the NCI Agency celebrates its 10th anniversary, its leadership is looking forward to the next decade. Changes will be needed to ensure that staff remain engaged and supported in their work in this new climate and in the years to come. The NCI Agency is taking steps with its newly approved Strategic Plan 2022-2026 in its efforts to develop professional tracks for staff and more. This critical work ensures that the NCI Agency is fit-for-purpose and prepared for the future.


Heading this effort from a people perspective, and in collaboration with the Agency’s Chief Information Officer, is Tania Caeto, the new Head of Organizational Development and Change (OD&C). On her work Caeto says, “OD&C is about improving an organization’s health, efficiency and effectiveness.” Through a mix of technical knowledge coupled with behavioural science expertise, she is shaping a new way forward for the Agency. Caeto’s team is leading a planned, systemic change of the culture that currently exists in the Agency. This involves addressing the beliefs, attitudes and values of Agency employees at a micro and macro level to support individual and organizational growth.

People want to see themselves represented in their place of work. They want to know that the issues and achievements important to them are also important and celebrated in their workplace. They want to know that when intolerant individuals, incapable of respecting people’s right to just be themselves, appear, there are allies to fall back on and organizational support from the top is present.

As NATO’s technology and cyber hub, operating in an ever-changing, complex security environment, the Agency has acknowledged that it needs to attract and retain the best talent. Diversity and inclusion are “playing a key role in how people look at the workforce worldwide,” Caeto says. “This is not limited to gender or nationality, there is also neurodiversity and age diversity for example.”

The NCI Agency has a clear, concise list of five guiding principles that highlights why people should be working there. These principles are championing diversity, committing to excellence, empowering NATO,

ture erse and inclusive cul ization to adopt a div an org TO) an NA of O: ess OT gn The willin of leadership (PH the highest echelons m fro d rte po sup be must


Covid-19 has im pacted on the wa y employees vie workplace and w the organizational cu lture (PHOTO: NA TO)

standing together and leading to inspire. Appealing to diverse talent during a “war of talent, especially on technical talent” means paying close attention to the issues and desires of both younger and older professionals. It requires ensuring that all staff take these principles seriously and are able to stand by them. It should also be noted that young professionals are seeking work that enables them to be innovative, and to develop and sharpen their skills while providing them with opportunities to progress in their given professions. Older professionals are seeking employment security and impactful work. Both, Caeto explains, are seeking work that is engaging and flexible, be it in terms of environment or teleworking. The development of professional tracks in the Agency is a great start, as it ensures staff members are fully trained and have opportunities to advance in their chosen profession and roles. “Being in an organization that cares about your employability is a powerful retention tool. Creating a brand that is externally recognized as focused on development is a powerful attraction tool,” Caeto says. Implementing and highlighting all of these areas internally and externally will ensure that forwardthinking individuals continue to view the Agency as a desirable place to work.

THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP Long-standing Agency priorities include fostering a one-culture mindset, communicating and understanding organizational change and refining its corporate processes and procedures as mentioned in the Strategic Plan. Efforts to make the NCI Agency a more diverse and inclusive place to work are ongoing. According to Caeto, fostering an inclusive culture of

transparency begins from the top. “We want to be aligned with the NATO culture and values while still being able to articulate what our individual culture is and our principles are,” Caeto says. As with the five guiding principles, it is up to leadership to communicate the types of behaviours and values they want to see in the organization and highlight the benefits of this change. They have to be clearly communicated throughout the organization and a plan to ensure this happens has to be pushed by leadership. While it’s difficult to force employees to build and maintain a constructive culture of openness and engagement, people will model the behaviour of their leadership. Some first steps have already been taken: internal communications that provide up-to-date information on the organization, and leadership-driven communication that celebrates the successes of employees and the employees who embody and uphold shared cultural values. Also, communications that address the concerns of members of the workforce. “We are also looking at being more entrepreneurial as an Agency and the leadership frameworks that have been shared can influence the culture. We just have to work in a purposeful way to achieve a common culture,” Caeto adds. Although there is still a lot of work left to guide the Agency to where it needs to be, Caeto is optimistic. “The work we’re doing as an OD&C team, and as an Agency, is happening in different areas, at different speeds, to accommodate the needs and goals,” she says. “All levels are coming together to build the Agency of the future and it’s beyond one person or one team. It takes everyone and it should be our main goal.”






Throughout her school career, Irina took part in the annual military and NATO celebrations in Romania, instilling a sense of pride in her country’s membership of the Alliance. After graduating from high school and attending the “Nicolae Balcescu” Military Land Forces Academy, Irina became the first in her family to become an officer in the Romanian Ministry of Defence, where she worked in Human Resources, providing services to the NATO Deployable Communications and Information Systems Module in Bucharest. In 2016, Irina made the decision to leave the Romanian military and moved to Belgium, where she took up a post at an international IT consulting company. Her role focused on supporting public customers such as NATO and the European Union, as well as private-sector corporations and aerospace entities. After a few years in industry, Irina joined the NCI Agency acquisition team as a contractor. She applied for a NATO civilian role at the first opportunity, completing the final interview three weeks after becoming a new mum. On 21 March 2022, she became a NATO civilian working for the Agency as a contracting officer for the acquisition team.


What do you do as a contracting officer at the NCI Agency?


On 29 March 2004, Romania officially became a NATO Member. That same year, Irina Barabancea was selected to attend “Mihai Viteazul” National Military High School in Romania after passing rigorous testing. This marked the start of a 12-year military career with a close connection to NATO. Lara Vincent-Young talks to Irina to find out more about her journey procurement strategy up to the termination of the contract for my assigned projects.More specifically, I draft and prepare the competition and contractual documents such as notifications of intent (NOI), requests for quotation (RFQ) and invitations for bids (IFB). I also lead the pre-award discussions, award the contract, and administer the contract until the full completion of the Contractor’s obligations. I am required to provide a wide range of services including acquisition advice and leading negotiations, working with the project team, cost analysts and Integrated Product Support experts. This year alone, I have been involved in awarding a competitive contract with a value of about 1.5 million EUR. In addition, I have released an RFQ and an NOI for projects with an estimated value of 8-10 million EUR each.

Q Why is your work important? One of the strategic objectives laid out in the NCI Agency’s 2022-2026 strategic plan is to establish strong and lasting partnerships across the whole of NATO. Due to the scale and complexity of NATO’s work, it can benefit a lot from industry expertise and technology, and my work directly contributes to bringing that expertise and technology on board for the Alliance.


I work with competitive and non-competitive

A public procurements. My role is to act as the NCI Agency representative to industry and support and provide guidance to internal stakeholders on all contracting matters. We work on a project basis; therefore, I am responsible for the development of the

As the point of contact for industry contractors, I need to ensure that the interaction between me, as a representative of the NCI Agency, and industry is consistent with the latest acquisition procedures and in line with all NATO regulations. I can also use my past

Irina is a Romanian national who has been working at the Agency since 2019. (PHOTO: NCI Agency)



Irina lives in Brussels, Belgium with her husband and two children. Flexible working allows her to spend valuable time with her family. (PHOTO: Irina Barabancea)

experience to build strong relationships with commercial partners. The contracts awarded by my team enable the NCI Agency to provide NATO with the vital systems it needs to protect citizens across the Alliance and stay at the cutting edge of innovation. What differences have you noticed between

Q the public and private sectors and what can

we learn from industry to promote staff retention? The main difference I have noticed between the working environments that I have experienced stems from the fact that international organizations are often funded through public (taxpayers’) money.


At NATO, we follow specific rules and regulations to ensure there is no misuse of public money. These rules mean that it can be more challenging to develop and implement new ideas in the organization as they are required to pass through different layers of approval. In industry, I was able to think very creatively and almost immediately implement procedures that improved the company’s day-to-day operations. Nonetheless, in the four years, I feel I have had more opportunities to be creative and have authority in my role, all while upholding NATO’s high standards. I think this change makes working at the Agency more fulfilling and will help retain talent. It is empowering to know you are trusted to be creative and have autonomy over your work. 104

Another way that I think the Agency can retain staff is by maintaining the flexible work environment established across the organization. When Covid-19 started, I was surprised by how quickly the Agency was able to implement an effective and safe teleworking directorate. Teleworking has enabled me to replace time spent commuting with being present with my young family, and I am happy to see that the new normal for the Agency is a healthy mix of teleworking and working in the office. I think the flexible work environment should be more widely advertised, as people may not be aware that teleworking is possible in an organization such as NATO due to the nature of our work. In addition, it is an excellent example of how a large organization is able to adapt while maintaining the security of classified information. For me, the most significant difference is that the overall objective of NATO is to protect the citizens for whom we are responsible, as opposed to maximizing profit and increasing the value of the company. As a result, I feel like I have a purpose in my job, and I am proud to know that my work contributes to both the Agency’s mission and NATO’s. Since 2004, working for NATO has been somewhat of a dream of mine, so I am very proud to finally be here after working in so many different environments.

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