NATO C3 Classification Taxonomy
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The recent speech of NATO's Secretary General about the Connected Forces Initiative stated clearly that the Alliance has to improve its ability to work together. As transformational authority, ACT will play a key role in achieving that, finding better arrangements for a common Consultation, Command and Control (C3) environment.
In modern times, the description of an organisational structure within its strategic, economical, technical, and operational environment is a daunting task. Performing that task in NATO, an alliance governed by 28 nations, and to capture the requirements for communications and information systems in support of improved information sharing and decision making, that's a real challenge.
A thorough understanding of the C3 needs and requirements helps to understand the underlying fabric, and find opportunities for cost saving, and for a faster and smarter development of future solutions.
The NATO Network Enabled Capabilities (NNEC) Feasibility Study of 2005 proved that the communications and information systems (CIS) environment for NATO must adapt a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA): organising software in the form of independent, interoperable services that can be composed and recomposed to fulfil multiple business requirements.
The study presented a Technical Services Framework, with a hierarchical arrangement of technical services in four horizontal classifications, plus two vertical groups: for Information Assurance (IA) and Service Management & Control (SMC). This framework was used as the basis for a reductionist description of the complex C3 structure. Soon it was recognized that this was not sufficient for a full representation and that a taxonomy should have a broader and deeper scope.
An important consideration was that the requirements for future C3 capabilities are not purely technical in nature. A framework for CIS services would only address the back-end technology solutions, and would not give any resolution about quality and quantity of services required for a particular mission. The new C3 Classification Taxonomy therefore presents both the definition of CIS capabilities and their operational context. This approach is referred to as 'enterprise mapping', as it aims to 'chart' the NATO C3 'landscape'.
The Operational Context describes the environment in which CIS capabilities are defined and used. The Alliance's political and military ambitions, the overarching guidance and policies, and the Mission-to-Task Decomposition (MTD) are categorized under 'Missions and Operations'. Then the needed capabilities are catalogued, operational (business) processes addressed, and information products incorporated under 'Operational Capabilities'. This information provides the organisational perspective in which the CIS technology solutions should be deployed in NATO's future missions.
With the operational context set, it is opportune to link it to a technical framework of applications, services, and equipment. The CIS Capabilities span two significant categories: the 'User-Facing Capabilities' and the 'Technical Services'.
The first category provides an end user with 'User Applications' that are designed to help the user to perform singular or multiple related tasks (analogue to the apps on modern phones and tablets).
The second category provides the foundation for the better use of technology: a set of related software and hardware functionalities that can be used for various purposes, in support of each other, and in support of the 'apps'.
ACT's Technology and Human Factors (THF) Branch has developed a web-based platform on the basis of a wiki (similar to the software running Wikipedia) in order to record and process the growing complexities of the datasets, and to produce relevant tangible outputs. This 'Enterprise Mapping (EM) Wiki' is accessible via the Internet on a protected website. The enterprise architects in the THF Branch use this platform for collaboration with subject matter experts, capability coordinators, engineers, and operational users in both Strategic Commands and in the NATO C3 Agency (NC3A).
The description of NATO C3 is getting better day by day, and with the evolution of the wiki, new products can be developed, and new information discovered. Enterprise Mapping delivers the Reference Architectures that describe the future C3 solutions for the Alliance, and the mandates for NSIP projects.
The information in the EM Wiki is available to authorized users from NATO, member and partner nations, and to designated industry and academic contacts. We welcome anybody with a legitimate interest in NATO C3 to discover our data, and to contribute to the future of NATO C3. A message to email@example.com will start your journey.
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