Apps fighting on the same side

Interoperability tests identify battle-ready technologies

A multinational, multi-service
interoperability
demonstration last month put
more than 40 emerging products
through their paces in a
search for tools that are ready
for deployment.

'We demonstrate the art of
the possible,' said Col.
Howard Thomas, Marine
Corps lead for the Coalition
Warrior Interoperability
Demonstration (CWID) at the
Naval Surface Warfare Center
in Dahlgren, Va. 'We bring in
technologies that are capable
of being fielded within 18 to
24 months.'

This year's two-week program
demonstrated products
and systems developed by industry
and government organizations
via a global network
that connected five U.S. sites
and extended from New
Zealand to Europe. Results
will be published in October.

'We think [the tests] went
extremely well,' Thomas said.
'Most of the technologies we
looked at were at least 75 percent
solutions' ' nearly ready
for integration into military
systems but still requiring final
testing and tweaking. 'Several
are going to show promise. We
have to generate service interest,
and we think we have done
so on a couple already.'

CWID is an annual program
conducted by the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
military coalition partners
worldwide. From June 9
through 19, participating vendors
got a chance
to demonstrate
products on
global networks
under military
conditions.

CWID is not a
traditional military exercise,
Thomas said. In traditional
exercises, technology
supports the event
through a scenario. In
this demonstration, scenarios
are created to
demonstrate the readiness
of new technologies.

'When they come here,
they come on their own
nickel,' Thomas said.
'This is our payback to
them for their investment
of time, effort and
their own funding to
come and participate.'

The U.S. European
Command in Stuttgart,
Germany, acted as combatant
commander for
this year's CWID. Participants
included New
Zealand, Canada and
NATO countries.
The network linked Canada,
Germany, Italy, New Zealand,
Norway, Sweden, the United
Kingdom and the United
States, said Richard Whelan,
manager of the coalition widearea
network in Stuttgart.

In addition to Dahlgren, participating
U.S. sites were Peterson
Air Force Base, Colo.,
supporting the North American
Aerospace Defense Command
of the U.S. Northern
Command; the Space and
Naval Warfare Systems Command
in San Diego; U.S. Air
Force Electronic Systems Center
at Hanscom Air Force
Base, Mass.; and the Warfighter
Capability Demonstration
Center at the Pentagon.

Technology tested in CWID
is not necessarily brand new
but is not widely deployed in
military situations, said Carla
Jolly, deputy
director at
the U.S. Air
Force CWID
Joint Management
Office
in
Stuttgart.

'We want to put them
out there to see if they
work,' she said.
More often than not,
they do, Thomas said.
'There are more successes
than failures,' he said.

That is largely because
of the winnowing process
for participants. A Federal
Business Opportunities
Web site notice is published
14 months before
the demonstrations. For
this year, 72 organizations
applied, and 41
made the cut.

'It is very competitive,'
Thomas said.
Dahlgren, which had
nine operational centers
supporting the Army,
Marine Corps and National
Guard Bureau, was one
of the busiest sites this year. It
hosted 31 of the 41 technologies
being fielded.

For a list of the technologies
tested, go to GCN.com, Quickfind
1138.

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