141106cde-400The 14th annual Concept Development and Experimentation (CD&E) Conference concluded November 6, in Budapest, Hungary.

Hosted by NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), the U.S. Joint Staff Directorate of Joint Force Development and the Hungarian Defence Staff, the conference provided a forum for more than 150 stakeholders in the international CD&E community to discuss the most current issues of concept development and experimentation in the process of capability development.

During the three-day conference, attendees collectively shared ideas and perspectives for solving relevant problems and challenges, and to develop products that can contribute to CD&E efforts at operational, national and international levels.

On the final day, workshop leads and facilitators and shared takeaways and summarisations from three days of discussions within their respective groups.

The 'Collaborative CD&E in Action' workshop confronted the capability gap between partners and limitations in their ability to adapt and build missing capabilities. Workshop members discussed 'Smart Defence', 'Pooling and Sharing', and 'Multinational Cooperative Defence' and focused on the question "is it necessary to have separate initiatives for NATO and other organisations with similar objectives?"

The Command and Control (C2) with Mission Partners: 'Enhancing Federated Mission Networking (FMN)' workshop looked at the role CD&E has in the implementation of FMN while determining that the broadness of FMN presents problems. They discussed using modelling and simulation to influence training, Defence Planning implications and leveraging resources to improve implementation.

The 'Shaping of CD&E for the Future' workshop looked at ways to enhance the CD&E community's common understanding of future challenges, laying a framework for identifying solutions. The workshop also explored opportunities that could increase cooperation across CD&E to create synergies. The workshop also determined that implementation of CD&E programmes within the Alliance will be vital to taking on new security challenges.

The endnote speaker for the conference was British Army Brigadier Ian Rigden, Head of Land & Research Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre. His parting message for attendees was to encourage them to use CD&E to lay the path to the future.

"...we are here now and we're going somewhere in the future," said Brigadier Rigden. "That's what CD&E is all about. Taking a start point – the known, known – the universal truth and taking it forward."

"...that's what CD&E is about. It's about leaving a trail. It's about us prevailing in a very complex world. The CD&E process is the thing that allows us to do that," he concluded.

During his closing remarks, Danish Army Brigadier General Henrik Sommer, Assistant Chief of Staff, Capability Engineering and Innovation Division at Headquarters SACT, praised participants for a successful conference saying, "the objective for this conference was to create an environment that is conducive to sharing and relationship building and I'm pleased to say we've done that."

U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Jon T. Thomas, Deputy Director, Future Joint Force Development, U.S Joint Staff J7, told participants to continue to build on the bond they have created this week saying, "The real single value of a conference like this is that it brings together those who have common interests. We learn from each other and most importantly, we grow relationships. It may be five years; it may be 10 years down the road when we're out there operating together and I hope that we remember these relationships and continue to sustain them."

Representing the host nation, Hungarian Army Brigadier General Ernõ Péter Siposs, Head, Force Planning Directorate (J5), concluded the conference thanking the participants saying, "We enjoyed hosting you here in our country. We hope you learned something about our country and our culture and we wish you all a safe travel back to your home."

The next CD&E conference will be hosted by Germany and is scheduled for November 17-19, 2015.

Day Two: Participants "Get to Work" at CDE Conference: Focus on Workshops

141105cde-400Multinational partners began sharing their ideas and thoughts on using Concept Development and Experimentation (CD&E) methodologies and applications to optimise the development of joint, combined and national forces on the second day of the CD&E Conference in Budapest, Hungary 5 November.

Over the next two days, the 'Concept Development and Experimentation (CD&E) Methodologies Conference' will feature various workshops and seminars allowing military and civilian leaders to discuss how to use concept development in the future - from the Alliance, its Command and Control (C2), and national perspectives.

The 'Collaborative CD&E in Action Seminar' explores CD&E on the national level. The workshop, led by Lieutenant Colonel Zoltán Lakó from the Hungarian Defence Staff, includes topics such as Smart Defence; European Union Pooling and Sharing; the Regional Multinational Capability Development Initiative; the Counter Improvised Explosive Device Study; and the Building Medical Capabilities Case Study.

"This workshop sets up a structure of looking at concept development and experimentation and capability development all together, first from a global point of view; then approach the national level to show the participants ideas on how to put concept and development into practice into the daily work," said Lieutenant Colonel Lakó.

"At the end of this workshop, I hope [workshop participants] open up their minds and erase the limits when they are thinking about something," he added. "We encourage them to think outside the box and not always limit themselves to NATO and European Union – to think large. Be brave to accommodate new ideas and new ways ahead, and also be able to present the new ideas to leadership."

The Command and Control (C2) with Mission Partners: 'Enhancing Federated Mission Networking (FMN) Workshop' focuses on FMN and improving multinational C2 effectiveness through the advancement of coherent policy, realistic training, flexible technologies, and aligned capabilities that will result in improved operational practices.

"We're looking at ways that we can tie into FMN, the CD&E concept," said workshop facilitator, Scott Shephard of the U.S. Joint Staff's Multinational Branch J6. "...hopefully over the next day and a half we'll walk out of here with ideas to make FMN more effective."

The 'Shaping CD&E for the Focus of the Future Seminar' examines the future of CD&E within the Alliance framework and how to continue to build on the concept through the sharing of ideas and building of relationships with partners.

"The mission is to build the community of interest and maintain the community of interest in the CD&E domain," said German Air Force Colonel Christoph Pliet, Branch Head for Concept Development at NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) Headquarters. "What is important in the 'Shaping CD&E for the Future Workshop' is that we take ideas from the participants that will help us shape CD&E processes in the future for NATO."

The third day of the conference will see a continuation of the workshops, a workshop summary session and a conference wrap up.

Day One: 14th Annual CD&E Conference Kicks off in Budapest

141104cde400More than 150 military and civilian leaders from NATO nations and organisations gathered in Budapest, Hungary, November 4 for the 2014 International Concept Development and Experimentation (CD&E) Conference. Participants from the Partnership For Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), Istanbul Cooperative Initiative (ICI) and Partners Across the Globe programs were also part of the event.

The annual conference, hosted collaboratively by NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and U.S. Joint Staff J7 since 2001, is one of the largest conferences solely devoted to information-sharing and relationship-building in CD&E programmes, military transformation, research and technology, developing concepts, strategy and doctrine and executing experiments.

The theme for this year's conference is "The CD&E Journey – A Roadmap to the Future." Welcome remarks were delivered by Hungarian Army Brigadier General Ernõ Péter Siposs; U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Jon Thomas who is Deputy Director, Future Joint Force ´Development U.S. Joint Staff J7; and Danish Army Brigadier General Henrik Sommer, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Assistant Chief of Staff for Capability Engineering and Innovation.

Chief Security Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi delivered the keynote address to kick off the three-day event telling the audience their work over the next three days will help define how the Alliance take on future security challenges.

"I think it is very important for all of the participants to discuss issues that will really define the outcome of future conflicts," said Ambassador Szemerkényi. "And I also think this is of particular importance for increasing that kind of a mutual understanding, and a mutual insight into the developments in each of our Alliance member states both in the political and military as well as I hope, the cultural sense."

Day one discussions focused on Leveraging Industry, Academia and Defence Entites for CD&E and Best Practices of Modelling and Simulation in the CD&E environment. The next two days will feature workshops and seminars focusing on topics such as Collaborative CD&E in Action, Command and Control with Mission Partners: Enhancing Federated Mission Network (FMN) and Shaping CD&E for the future.

The 14th CD&E conference will conclude November 6.

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