NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Ideas to Address Complex Interoperability Challenges of Today and Tomorrow

November 6, 2020

Ideas to Address Complex Interoperability Challenges

TIDE Sprint with over 625 Experts Improved NATO Interoperability for the 36th Time

“Everything starts with an idea.” In an unpredictable and very complex world, existing and emergent security challenges require innovative approaches. Some of those new approaches come from TIDE Sprint, NATO’s premier think-tank event for promoting innovation and developing solutions to improve and federate interoperability between NATO and Partner Nations’ Command and Control capabilities and Information Technology services.

Ideas coming from TIDE Sprint and the TIDE Hackathon are maturing over time, get tested and verified at the Coalition Warrior Interoperability eXercise (CWIX) and eventually are deployed in exercises and operations.

The ‘Think-Tank for Information Decision and Execution’, or TIDE Sprint, took place from Nov 2nd to Nov 6th with more than 625 experts from 24 nations meeting virtually to discuss, develop and mature ideas, concepts and approaches. Experts made progress in ten specialized tracks, ranging from Communications and Enterprise Architecture all the way to Federated Mission Networking and Medical.

Allies are making progress on key issues relevant to NATO:


The E-3A Airborne Early Warning and Control System, or AWACS, has been NATO’s ‘eyes in the sky’ since 1980s, providing surveillance and situational awareness for NATO. Since the AWACS fleet is to retire around 2035, NATO launched the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control initiative at the Warsaw Summit in 2016 to identify options for surveillance and control capabilities. In the last two years, the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control track raised awareness with stakeholders to implement multi-domain tactical surveillance and control in the future. Alliance Future Surveillance and Control is not an aircraft anymore; it is a system of systems that will build and connect NATO’s, nations’ and possibly partners’ capabilities to enable real-time combat. The Alliance Future Surveillance and Control programme includes developing the multi-domain architectures that will incorporate many aspects of future surveillance and control in order to meet the needs of the future operating environment. In addition, Alliance Future Surveillance and Control establishes risk reduction test environments in collaboration with other NATO nations and partners that have parallel programmes and exercises.


Data Science turns data into insights. At this TIDE Sprint, experts explored Data Science to optimize decisions and realize higher value from data through advanced analytics. Data scientists from NATO and NATO nations shared lessons identified from the application of Data Science to strategic and operational challenges, subsequently expanding their knowledge and establishing Data Science as an enabling capability. With contributions from several fields, including statistics, mathematics, operations research, computer science, data mining, machine learning, software engineering, and data visualization, Data Science promises to provide solutions to complex, global challenges in the Cyber and Space domains as well as the rapidly evolving information environment. As data is considered a strategic asset for NATO, it is essential to provide data-driven insights that will lead to better informed decisions. Additionally, experts identified policies for the collection and management to better support NATO’s ability to exploit its data. Improved data collection and management also requires new technical infrastructure and skill-sets. This work creates possibilities for a better understanding of an operational environment for all decision makers in future crisis and conflict scenarios.


For the second time at TIDE Sprint, the Medical Track brings together a community of interest of NATO nations, academia, and industry partners to share their innovation journeys. It focused on concepts for medical Consultation, Command and Control, the future medical Information Technology system “Enablement Support Services Medical Suite”, syndromic surveillance reporting and medical perspectives in telehealth and cybersecurity. Expanding the military medical innovation community of interest is essential and the medical experts created a dedicated LinkedIn platform aimed at converging knowledge, approaches, experiences and best practices to learn from each other and then move more rapidly into delivering capabilities for the benefit of NATO and all member nations. This work will continuously evolve as NATO plays its part in providing military assistance to civil authorities in crises, including the onset of pandemics.

TIDE Sprint events take place twice a year. The community will meet in Spring 2021 from Apr 12th to 16th. The next TIDE Hackathon will take place Feb 22nd to 26th 2021. More information on TIDE Sprint and Allied Command Transformation’s Interoperability Continuum is available on act.nato.int/tide-sprint or [email protected].