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CHIPS Articles: Joint and coalition warfighters test new and emerging technological solutions for combatant commanders at CWID 2009

Joint and coalition warfighters test new and emerging technological solutions for combatant commanders at CWID 2009
By John J. Joyce - July-September 2009
More than 430 visitors observed U.S. and coalition warfighters judge new and emerging technologies in simulated military missions and national emergency scenarios during Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) 2009 at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division conducted from June 15-25.

"The visitors toured CWID's Dahlgren site to watch 114 warfighters — including 36 foreign military members — evaluate 31 interoperability trials, such as mapping programs and tracking systems," said NSWC Dahlgren Division Commander Capt. Sheila Patterson. "Warfighter appraisals determine whether or not a trial truly improves interoperability and is ready for deployment to our joint and coalition forces."

This is the 10th year NSWC Dahlgren hosted U.S. forces and coalition partners to evaluate new solutions. Warfighters from New Zealand to Norway tested 42 trials — cutting-edge information technologies — designed to fill capability gaps and requirements defined by combatant commanders.

"Interoperability trials continue to develop complex solutions to meet the technology needs of warfighters on the frontlines," said NSWC Dahlgren Division CWID Site Manager Dennis Warne. "This year, CWID's complexity featured multiple domain networks running simultaneously, multiple warfighting scenarios, and several ITs attempting far reaching technologies."

The demonstration took place out of five network locations across the United States and with more than 20 coalition partners around the world.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff annual event enables U.S. combatant commands, the services, agencies and international partners to investigate technologies that enhance interoperability and C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability.

"Our operating environments are complex," said Marine Corps CWID lead Col. Jim Bacchus. "For example, in Afghanistan multiple nations and nongovernmental organizations are providing reconstruction, stability and security. Connecting and sending data effectively among partners is challenging, especially in the rapidly changing world of information technology."

The forum is the only Defense Department hosted event that brings together new and emerging information technologies into a global network environment with interagency and multinational partners.

"CWID is all about identifying and fixing interoperability issues before you find them on the battlefield," Bacchus said. The warfighters' assessment of technologies includes how well the interoperability trials performed, ease of use, compatibility and interoperability among existing systems and other test technologies.

Interoperability trial technologies receive one or more of three assessment types during execution. Assessment types are: warfighter/operator utility and technical performance; interoperability/technical ability to exchange usable data; and information assurance — the capability to identify threats and enforce policies.

U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), in its role as the leader of joint capability development, coordinates assessment results to determine which CWID trials meet defined requirements and have the potential to fill identified capability gaps. Assessments will be compiled in a final report published later in 2009.

Although U.S. CWID is not an acquisition venue, the assessments support the acquisition process and support system life-cycle milestone decisions to efficiently invest in needed capabilities and save services, agencies and stakeholders precious resources.

Some developers choose to demonstrate limited versions of their capabilities just for the broad exposure CWID provides — these technologies are not formally assessed.

CWID brought hundreds of technology representatives together with military and government experts from around the world.

The process begins each year with a Federal Business Opportunity (FBO) publication in April (www.fedbizopps.gov) and ends 14 months later at the conclusion of the operational-scenario-driven demonstration every June.

CWID provides focus on promising solutions to specific warfighter and responder requirements through a final report to DoD, government agencies and first responders published by October every year. This report will be made available on the CWID Web site (www.cwid.org).

CWID 2010 is already underway with the FBO announcement now available. You can also access the FedBizOps link on the CWID Web site.

NSWC Dahlgren will serve as the primary site for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army, along with supporting forces from the National Guard Bureau, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard in 2010.

John J. Joyce is with NSWC Dahlgren Division Corporate Communications.

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DAHLGREN, Va. (June 24, 2009) -- An Army specialist at the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) demonstrates a location device that can attach to a belt and interface with Google Earth on a standard PC or Mac computer so a warfighter’s exact location can be tracked. U.S. Navy photo by Doug Davant.
DAHLGREN, Va. (June 24, 2009) -- An Army specialist at the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) demonstrates a location device that can attach to a belt and interface with Google Earth on a standard PC or Mac computer so a warfighter’s exact location can be tracked. U.S. Navy photo by Doug Davant.

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