NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Federated Interoperability

How much do you know about interoperability and the meaning of federated interoperability? Did you know that NATO has one of the best definitions of interoperability around?

“The ability to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Allied objectives”

This sums what we do as an Alliance and is a cornerstone of our work in ACT. We see federated interoperability as a collective effort shared between Alliance and Partner Nations and other organizations. For those involved in Federated Mission Networking (or “FMN”) you know that, through FMN, we are on a path toward ‘day zero’ interoperability. This means that in the long-term, Alliance nations and partners, will ‘hard-wire’ interoperability into their capabilities ready for the very first day of a NATO mission.

The ‘Interoperability Continuum’ enables federated interoperability by linking three major HQ SACT interoperability events; the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX), The Think-Tank for Information Decision and Execution (TIDE) Sprint, and the TIDE Hackathon. Its purpose is to ensure that our command and control capabilities can exchange operational information in the right format, to the right person at the right time so that NATO commanders and decision makers have the situational awareness needed to make good decisions, quickly! This is what our three Interoperability Continuum events do:

CWIX – is the biggest interoperability event of its kind in NATO. It is where Alliance and partner nations make sure that their command and control capabilities de-risk interoperability as an essential first-step toward NATO missions such as the NRF or VJTF. At the same time, CWIX is a testbed for interoperability specifications that are hard-wired into experimental and near-fielded capabilities, ready for future NATO missions.

Coalition Warrior InteroperabilityCWIX – Achieving Federated Interoperability now!

Federated interoperability is a key part of every capability and has a force multiplying effect in terms of operational effectiveness and cost efficiency.

CWIX is NATO’s premier interoperability event, operationally driven and technically supported, that meets a broad spectrum of interoperability validation and verification requirements. The Command & Control (C2) capabilities present at CWIX span the complete Communications and Information Systems (CIS) spectrum and represent the current, near-term, future and experimental capabilities of NATO and its Partner Nations. CWIX puts an emphasis on systems that will deploy with NATO-led operations, particularly those related to Federated Mission Networking (FMN) as a major component of the enhanced NATO Response Force (eNRF), Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), and Initial Follow on Forces Group (IFFG) roadmap to support military readiness.

At the highest levels, NATO recognises that interoperability enhances information sharing between NATO and partner nations and that interoperability is the key enabler that improves situational awareness, so we can make better decisions faster. Not only does this increase the likelihood of success, but it also serves the men and women of our militaries by reducing operational risk and keeping them safe.

CWIX allows nations to experiment, test and de-risk their deployable systems before undertaking missions such as the NATO Response Force. It allows commanders to ‘fine-tune’ their Command and Control capabilities before achieving combat readiness at the Steadfast Cobalt and Trident Juncture exercises. Nations also test interoperability between mobile tactical radios in preparation for the Very High Readiness Task Force, they test and improve cyber awareness and confirm ‘day zero’ readiness of deployable Command and Control capabilities.

CWIX addresses a wide spectrum of technical and procedural interoperability between currently deployed, near-term, future and experimental capabilities. Interoperability testing before and during development reduces deployment times and cost, minimizes system failure in NATO missions and allows nations to design interoperability into their systems. At the same time, CWIX fosters innovation by identifying and solving interoperability shortfalls, experimenting with alternative approaches, and exploring emerging technologies. Altogether, CWIX helps maintain the military advantage of NATO and national troops in an increasingly complex and uncertain global security environment.

CWIX culminates in an annual execution event, primarily at the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland but with participants also testing from national locations across the classified Combined Federated Battle-Lab (CFBL) Network and purpose-built unclassified networks. CWIX provides NATO, member and partner nations and other organizations with a controlled environment to test, identify and fix their interoperability issues to continuously improve NATO interoperability and resilience in future crisis.

For further information about CWIX, please contact the CWIX Management Team: [email protected]

TIDE Sprint – brings together operators, engineers, scientists and managers from governments, military, academia and industry to collaborate and contribute to future concepts, requirements and interoperability specifications. TIDE Sprint allows NATO’s communities of interest to jump-start new ideas and connect with experts to accelerate the development of interoperable capabilities.

Registration for Fall TIDE Sprint is open!
The registration link and calling notice are available on Tidepedia.


NATO defines interoperability as “The ability to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Allied objectives”. It is the foundation of all NATO operations and a cornerstone of the Alliance.

TIDE Sprint

The ‘Think-Tank for Information Decision and Execution’ (TIDE) Sprint is a bi-annual event that drives capability development to advance federated interoperability between NATO and Partner Nations’ Command & Control capabilities and IT services.

As a critical event in Allied Command Transformation’s Interoperability Continuum, which also includes the TIDE Hackathon and the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX), TIDE Sprint is a week of collaboration, ideation, and innovation to generate ideas, develop concepts and specifications and support programs of work.

Each TIDE Sprint event provides a range of functional ‘tracks,’ led by experienced Subject Matter Experts and supported by a NATO community of interest.

Operators, engineers, scientists and technicians from nations’ governments, military, academia and industry come together to advance in one week what would otherwise take many months to achieve. The outcomes and recommendations from TIDE Sprint events shape NATO capability development efforts and programmes of work.

TIDE Sprint events are open to NATO, partner nations and Non-NATO entities (NNEs). They take place in an unclassified environment and all sessions are conducted in English. Additional information on event administration, registration, past presentations and reports is available on the password protected TIDEPEDIA website.

For access to Tidepedia, please email [email protected], and include your first and last name, email address and the government or military organisation you represent. Industry and academia are encouraged to participate but require sponsorship from NATO, or from a national government or military representative.

Fall 2022 TIDE Sprint

The Fall 2022 edition of TIDE Sprint is set for 24-28 October 2022 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA.

Our increasingly unpredictable and competitive world, as evidenced by the ongoing crisis on NATO’s Eastern Border, requires an Alliance that is responsive, resilient, and ready. Allied Command Transformation strives to accelerate NATO’s digital transformation, promote innovation, and explore emerging and disruptive technologies to maintain our interoperability and military edge.

At the Fall 2022 TIDE Sprint, we look toward the future to ensure that as we develop command and control capabilities they remain able to exchange the right information at the right time to the right commanders and decision makers. By aligning our communities of interest at TIDE Sprint, we maintain interoperability across NATO nations and with a network of partners, and ultimately strengthen the Alliance.

Whether you are an operator, scientist or engineer with ideas to share, systems to demonstrate, or experience to contribute –TIDE Sprint has something for you. This Fall, we are very excited to debut the Tactical Multi Domain Operations (TacMDO) track. In an increasingly complex security environment, NATO commanders must be able to manage the multi-domain battlespace with agility and accuracy. At TIDE Sprint, this track will bring together operational and technical Subject Matter Experts to examine how NATO can drive capabilities toward Initial Operational Capability. Participants will also identify use cases and objectives for exercise Bold Quest in 2025.

Other highlights include the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence track, which convenes stakeholders in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and related areas from within NATO and the Alliance, industry, and academia to leverage new technologies for NATO warfare development. Through deep dives and cross-cutting joint sessions, this track will directly contribute to the Data Exploitation Framework and Programme, which are core elements of NATO’s Digital Transformation.

As always, a key theme of TIDE Sprint is interoperability and Federated Mission Networking (FMN) in particular. FMN allows us to be interoperable before the start of a mission, so that NATO forces can connect and act as one from the very first day of a Allied operation. If you need to know more about FMN and the steps you need to take to make your capabilities ‘FMN-ready’, this TIDE Sprint is for you.

Fall 2022 TIDE Sprint will feature 10 diverse tracks, listed below. Detailed agendas are in the final stages of development, so if you have something to contribute to a particular track, please contact the track lead:

  • Communications
  • Data Centric Security (DCS)
  • Data Science & Artificial Intelligence (DS & AI)
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Federated Mission Networking (FMN)
  • Interoperability Verification and Validation (IV&V)
  • Logistics
  • Maritime Services
  • Medical
  • Tactical Multi Domain Operations (TacMDO)

TIDE Hackathon – is a ‘deep-dive’ into difficult interoperability problems to see if new or emerging technologies will provide the solution. We bring teams of enthusiastic IT and software experts into a competitive environment for a 1-week period of intense ‘hacking’. What they achieve over such a short time is surprising, with rapid demonstrations of novel technologies to help understand technology, identify future requirements, or even develop software solutions!

TIDE HackathonIn response to the dynamically changing geopolitical environment we face today, NATO conducts a process of continuous transformation guided by a high-level political agenda. Bringing effective change to such a large organization is, however, a complex endeavor. It involves many actors and typically a lengthy procurement process. This significantly hampers innovation, especially in the area of Information and Communications Technology where rapid, agile methods have proven to be much more effective.

Allied Command Transformation, as NATO’s Warfare Development Command, has developed the TIDE Hackathon to innovate and to promote the idea of federating “Interoperability by Design” between the NATO Alliance, its Partner Nations and Non-NATO Entities. TIDE Hackathons address future needs by applying a proven hackathon format to engage diverse groups of experts in a competitive and highly intensive work environment, over a limited period to focus on specific challenges related to interoperability and to develop innovative solutions that provide a deeper understanding of the impact that emerging and disruptive technologies have on federated interoperability. TIDE Hackathons also provide an opportunity for small teams to demonstrate and improve their skill, and to learn more about the challenges facing NATO.

The TIDE Hackathon is embedded into Allied Command Transformation’s Interoperability Continuum, a series of related and connected events (that include the bi-annual TIDE Sprint and the annual CWIX Exercise), that allow the NATO Alliance, Partner Nations and other Organizations to continually develop and improve federated interoperability between deployable command and control capabilities. Teams consisting of 2 to 4 experts from NATO and partner nations’ government, industry or academic organizations are welcome to apply. Teams are expected to work competitively, but in the spirit of collaboration.

The overarching theme of all TIDE Hackathons is to “demonstrate how EDTs can improve multi-domain interoperability between command and control systems within a federation”. TIDE Hackathon Challenges are defined in late October (after the Fall TIDE Sprint), and we ask teams to register from November onwards. We will then work with them so they are fully prepared for the TIDE Hackathon competition in late February.

The TIDE Hackathon is open to NATO, partner nations and other organisations; events take place in an unclassified environment and all sessions are conducted in English. Additional information on the challenges, event administration, registration, past presentations and reports are available on the password protected TIDEPEDIA website. For access to Tidepedia, please send an email to [email protected], including your first and last name, your telephone number, email address and the government or military organisation you represent. Industry and academia are encouraged to participate but require sponsorship from NATO, or from a national government or military representative.