NATO

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NATO’s Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX) 2021 was held June 7-25 from its main execution site at the Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland and remotely across thirteen time zones. The aim of CWIX is to test and develop the interoperability between deployable national and NATO Communication and Information Systems in a coalition environment.

Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, this year’s CWIX was a hybrid event with many nations’ engineers, planners, operators and industry participating from the Joint Force Training Centre or online from home.

Twenty-eight nations participated in CWIX 2021, conducting over 10,000 technical interoperability tests across the land, maritime, air and cyber environments with many highlights.

The NATO Response Force relies on robust situational awareness to provide a Recognized Ground Picture all the way down to the tactical level. Testing at CWIX enhances situational awareness that can prevent ‘blue on blue’ incidents, meaning friendly fire incidents. During this year’s CWIX, the Land Focus Area tested a multi-level approach to share, distribute and receive Command & Control operational data. The result is a seamless data exchange that provides commanders and decision-makers with the right information at the right time to enable better decision-making.

The French ALLIANCE system - Applicatif LogicieL Interopérable d’Aide Numérique sur Calculateur Embarqué (digitally aided interoperable software for mounted devices) supports the warfighter by better coordinating close air support in NATO operations. By being at CWIX, this digitally aided close air support Command and Control system was able to test its compatibility with multiple interface standards to decrease the time needed to exchange data. Testing complements and improves radio message exchange by extending the transmission range and minimizing misunderstanding due to voice transmission and language issues.

Federated Mission Networking is an important part of CWIX and the principles and specifications of Federated Mission Networking are tested continually across most focus areas. Many nations tested deployed systems ensuring their compliance with the most up-to-date standards and specifications. A few nations participated to confirm their ability to connect to a deployed network that enables the exchange of data from day one of a NATO mission. Other nations explored future specifications in areas such as Protected Core Networking using systems that operate at the tactical edge; the results will be fed back onto roadmaps to take forward Federated Mission Networking, allowing nations to design interoperability into systems as they are being built.

As well as providing a hub to connect all the distributed and remote testing sites, the Joint Force Training Centre also provided Modelling & Simulation experts. Their experts led a range of interoperability activities using simulation systems with many improvements to newly identified standards and solutions. These solutions will benefit future NATO missions by providing safe and cost-effective training scenarios in a simulated environment.

CWIX is part of the ‘Interoperability Continuum’ of NATO ACT-led interoperability events that also includes the TIDE Sprint and TIDE Hackathon events, all of which improve Alliance and partners’ ability to work together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Allied objectives. Forthcoming events from the Interoperability Continuum include the autumn edition of TIDE Sprint taking place in Virginia Beach, VA, USA in October 2021.