From April 17-21, 2023, Allied Command Transformation convened experts from NATO, industry, and academia to address interoperability challenges faced by NATO and the opportunities of Emerging Disruptive Technologies.

Allied Command Transformation remains committed to delivering fully interoperable command and control and information technology services to enable multi-domain operations and NATO’s ongoing Digital Transformation. To successfully meet tomorrow’s security challenges, Allied Command Transformation is engaging national military, industry, and academic representatives to explore future interoperability solutions as part of the Think-Tank for Information Decision and Execution (TIDE) Sprint. In doing so, this event improves NATO members’ and Partners’ ability to act together coherently, effectively, and efficiently to achieve Allied objectives by enabling the ‘Day One’ connectivity for operations and missions. It also provides a unique opportunity for subject matter experts from many of NATO's technical interoperability communities to engage with the operational community, and gain a deeper knowledge of the current and future issues warfighters face.

The 2023 TIDE Sprint was held in Lillehammer, Norway, with more than 425 participants from 28 NATO and Partner nations. Like past TIDE Sprint events, a strong emphasis was placed on Digital Transformation and Allied Command Transformation’s Warfare Development Agenda.

Brigadier General Didier Polomé, Allied Command Transformation’s Digital Transformation Champion, provided the opening remarks, highlighting the importance of interoperability in enabling NATO’s New Force Model. “The Alliance must digitally transform, and adapt from operating ‘in all domains’ – the reality of today – to operating ‘across all domains’ – the multi-domain reality of tomorrow,” said Brigadier General Polomé, “Technology and standards are the ‘building blocks’ of Multi-Domain Operations – without which we are unlikely to achieve the warfighter dominance we need to be successful. If technology and standards are the building blocks of Multi-Domain Operations, then interoperability is the ‘glue’ that holds them together. Without interoperable forces, we will not ‘act as one’ to help Supreme Allied Commander Europe safeguard the Alliance.”

Building on this point, Brigadier General Halvor Johansen, Chief of the Norwegian Armed Forces Cyber Defence, stressed the importance of events such as TIDE Sprint and the role of Allied Command Transformation in enabling Alliance-wide interoperability. “I think events like [TIDE Sprint] improve our interoperability to achieve not only Allied objectives, but also national objectives,” noted Brigadier General Johansen, “It is good to know that ACT remains committed to delivering fully interoperable services to enable multi-domain operations and NATO’s ongoing digital transformation.”

This year’s TIDE Sprint featured plenary sessions and ten dynamic tracks delivered by subject matter experts responsible for improving interoperability across multiple functional areas. Plenary sessions included a strategic view of Digital Transformation provided by Mr. Marco Criscuolo from NATO Headquarters, and a presentation by Mr. Vitalli Deynega, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defence for Digital Transformation, highlighting the reality of implementing Digital Transformation and some of its resulting benefits. Tracks covered a range of topics related to Multi-Domain Operations and NATO’s Digital Transformation, such as Medical, 5G Next Generation Networks, Federated Mission Networking, and Science & Technology.

The Medical Track, a staple of TIDE Sprint in recent years, discussed current and emerging solutions to challenges and opportunities facing the medical community. The Medical Management Software System, which improves patient care through digitization, was a particular highlight of this track. Developed by Allied Command Transformation, this system has now been given permission to be used in an operational setting. According to Dr. Sohrab Dalal, Program Coordinator for Medical Innovation at Allied Command Transformation, this product will enable patients to receive “more accurate and efficient care at the point of wounding to move them through that chain of care for efficient trauma care to those injured patients on the battlefield.”

A new track covering the future of 5G Next Generation Networks was a resounding success, with subject matter experts highlighting how 5G can enable improvements in military medicine, command and control capabilities, and military communications capabilities. In particular, experts explored the potential use cases of future telecommunications technologies in enabling digitised patient treatment and management in austere environments, improving the operation of large deployed headquarters and mobile command posts, and utilising non-terrestrial communications networks, respectively. Experts also discussed the application of 5G Networks at sea, exploring how this can help enable maritime operations in a degraded or denied environment.

The Cyberspace and the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence tracks were well received by participants, with discussions tying back to Digital Transformation and the Warfare Development Agenda. Notably, the Cyberspace track explored the integration of Cyber into multi-national operations and wargames, with this effort culminating in a cyberspace-related wargame where participants sought to achieve Cyber dominance. In addition, experts also examined new and innovative ideas for the application of data science and artificial intelligence by NATO, with particular focus on the use of these tools to enhance maritime situational awareness.

The Data Centric Security track also had a strong focus on Cyber, discussing the security of the data itself, including labelling, classification, and standardization practices. Participants also engaged in discussions about the challenges and opportunities of a ‘Zero-Trust’ approach versus Data Centric Security architectures.

The TIDE Sprint is a biannual event that aims to improve NATO and National capabilities, with an emphasis on interoperability. As part of the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne’s Interoperability Continuum, this event takes place alongside the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise and the TIDE Hackathon. Altogether, these events bring together the TIDE Community to explore command and control capabilities and information technology challenges through collaborative working sessions that examine and deliver future requirements and interoperability specifications.

To learn more about the TIDE Sprint, Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise, and the TIDE Hackathon, click here.