Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed annual event that engages cutting-edge information technology focused on operational shortfalls identified by combatant commanders and government agencies. Technologies are approved for participation because they address a new information sharing capability or might improve an existing capability.
Vice Director of C4 Systems, J6, the Joint Staff, Rear Adm. Janice Hamby talked about CWID 2010 at its conclusion in June.
CHIPS: The Secretary of Defense and the president have said that the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges that we face. Are there any technologies being tested in CWID that address these challenges?
Rear Adm. Hamby: One of the reasons the cyber threat is so critical is because we have grown to rely extensively on the 'connective tissue' that our networks provide for the daily conduct of our business. We need to be able to strike a sound balance between closing our networks off from the rest of the world and providing free transit of the information that is the lifeblood of our decision making process and our conduct of operations.
Initiatives that help add protection without restricting desired movement of information have value. CWID is positioned to help address these issues. Through a Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) announcement (www.fbo.gov/), industry was made aware of the environment in which their technologies would be employed and the need to address that balance in their offerings. Some of this year's offerings focus on helping move information between our military networks of different classification levels with greater ease without sacrificing security. Others provide capability to share information with partners in and out of uniform, again without unduly sacrificing network security.
CHIPS: Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Staff Chairman Adm. Mullen have said the military needs to focus on the development and deployment of technologies that will help win the fight that we are in. Are there any technologies being tested in CWID that could be rapidly deployed to Afghanistan?
Rear Adm. Hamby: We've worked hard to ensure the relevance of all of the technologies participating in this year's CWID, so one could argue they all have that kind of potential. Because CWID focuses on trials that are ready for fielding within six to 24 months it would not make sense to support inclusion of any initiatives that don't have immediate relevance.
Depending on outcomes and assessments, it's entirely reasonable that some of this year's trials could be rapidly deployed into Afghanistan based upon demand signal from the theater. The process for identifying candidates has that relevance as a primary goal. CWID deliberately looks at the gaps and shortfalls identified by combatant commanders (COCOMs), the services and agencies, so objectives based on those issues can be articulated to guide FBO announcement development and ultimately, trial selection.
CWID is a pretty constant effort. We're already at work drafting CWID 2011 objectives which will guide the types of trials participating in CWID next year. Some of the objectives for 2011 focus on coalition networks and systems that could be employed within a coalition environment. Senior-level CWID stakeholders also provide guidance to the Senior Management Group to shape the objectives. The plan is to focus CWID on operational technologies and concepts as a way to achieve relevant support to the warfighter.
CHIPS: Is there any one CWID technology trial that you are most interested in, and what are your expectations for CWID?
Rear Adm. Hamby: It's not my place to advocate for a given technology at this point in the game. We need the assessment results to come forward without bias. But I would recommend a visit to the CWID website (www.cwid.org/) to review the range of technologies that are being trialed. There is plenty to be excited about with offerings that hold good promise to increase our ability to share information, represent information in an understandable way for a variety of mission areas, address security obstacles and to streamline our ability to execute command and control.
I'm definitely pleased with the great response from industry and partner nations to help us solve interoperability and information sharing capability gaps, particularly, in a coalition environment. It's not an overstatement to say that our ability to share information effectively, reliably and confidently can save lives, and we see potential in CWID 2010 to deliver on those objectives.
My expectations of CWID is that it will give us a rapid review of near-term technologies that we can leverage to meet critical information needs. It should amplify our understanding of the coalition information environment so that we can make decisions that complement our partner strategies for the future. And it should help our coalition partners develop strategies as well. In the fiscally constrained environment we all face, it's an imperative that we synchronize our efforts before we field capability. CWID helps us do that.
CHIPS: The J6 imperatives are to — Fight Upon Arrival, Achieve Holistic C4ISR Approach and Drive Information Culture Change — can you comment about the initiatives that fall under these objectives? It is interesting that Drive Information Culture Change is one of the imperatives — can you explain what it means?
Rear Adm. Hamby: Again, I don't want to jump the gun and imply any conclusions about the technologies offered this year, but I will offer examples which according to their descriptions should help deliver on these imperatives.
When we say 'fight upon arrival' we mean that when forces arrive in the AOR (area of responsibility) they should be able to immediately access required C4 (command, control, communications and computers and applications) as supporting tools for operations. They should not have to struggle with integration, connectivity or compatibility issues.
An example of a technology that could help with this is [the] Portable Systems Interconnect (PSI) Communications approach. It provides secure peer-to-peer interoperable communications in remote areas without infrastructure or service. According to its sponsors, PSI can be operational within 15 minutes to assist multiple agencies across jurisdictions. The PSI emergency phone systems were used during Hurricane Katrina and are currently in use by the Haiti government.
For the imperative of taking a holistic C4ISR approach, a possible enabler could be the Joint Mission Planning Software (JMPS) Virtual User Environment (VUE). It purports an ability to provide information access across multiple networks at different classification levels from a single workstation. This technology should allow the seamless and sustainable sharing of information across networks, reducing the inherent difficulties of juggling access to multiple specific networks in order to share information with partners and should allow users to focus on the planning effort, not on the network configuration.
When we talk about 'driving information culture change,' we are talking about making the shift in the way we think about information — how it can be employed, how it can be shared, how it can be more effective as a contributor to operational effects. We've preached net-centricity for many years, but we've not changed the way we approach information sharing.
Some of our younger folks have. They've embraced chat and collaborative sites to create force multiplier effects. We need to make sure we are working to provide the kinds of technologies that can be leveraged in the shift to the information network culture.
The Cross Domain Collaborative Information Environment (CDCIE) has enabled combatant commands to share information in the form of text, chat and whiteboarding with language translation across security domains. It's helping establish social networks comprised of teams who would have been viewed as too disparate in the past. And it's got potential for bridging Department of Defense and non-DoD networks, including coalition partners, other government agencies and non-governmental organizations, helping us move to a whole new view of who is part of the team and part of mission accomplishment.
I appreciate having had the opportunity to share some of the value of CWID with your readers. We work in an extremely complex and globally distributed environment, which makes our forces increasingly dependent on C4 to accomplish their mission. The challenge of sharing information with multiple nations, agencies, government and non-government organizations and private activities places a premium on developing adaptable C4 capabilities that operate in any situation, anywhere in the world.
Our current and future environment (fiscally constrained with rapid changes in technology, and expeditionary) requires intensive coordination with our mission and industry partners, and improved acquisition, requirements and development processes within DoD to establish and comply with interoperability standards, to acquire the right technology and to field warfighter capability when it is needed … not when it is obsolete.
The J6 strategy and imperatives keep us focused as we address these challenges in line with the Chairman's priorities. Events like CWID help us make the best decisions to implement that strategy and create the conditions for mission success.
Recent technology discoveries and advancements played a key role during Haiti earthquake relief operations. As a proving ground for new and emerging technologies, the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) was among the first to assess one of the social networking applications that kept the lines of communication open after the disaster. During CWID execution, June 14-25, more than 32 Interoperability Trials (IT) demonstrated their technologies' potential to solve real-world information sharing problems for military and homeland security/defense forces, including first responders.
The CWID objectives for 2010 were developed by U.S. Joint Forces Command in coordination with U.S. Northern Command and the program's advisory combatant commands: U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command.
While U.S. CWID is not an acquisition venue, the assessment results do inform acquisition processes and support system life-cycle milestone decisions allowing services and agencies to better use their limited resources. The demonstration results are published in an annual report which is provided to CWID stakeholders, DoD, government agencies and first responders.
Technologies may receive one or more of three assessment types during execution: warfighter/operator utility and technical performance; interoperability — the ability to exchange usable data across disparate systems; and information assurance, the capability to identify threats and enforce policies. Some developers demonstrate limited versions of their capabilities, just for the exposure CWID provides. These technologies are not formally assessed.
Assessments will be compiled in a Final Report published later this year. USJFCOM, in its role as the leader of joint capability development, coordinates assessment results to determine which CWID trials best meet defined requirements and have the potential to fill identified capability gaps.
USJFCOM is the permanent coalition task force location for the annual CWID event. CWID also took place at sites around the world and U.S. locations: Joint Systems Integration Center at USJFCOM; U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps at NSWC Dahlgren; Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific; Homeland Security and Homeland Defense, U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base; and Homeland Security and Homeland Defense and Maritime Component Command Center at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base.