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CHIPS Articles: CWID Answers the Call for Future Capabilities

CWID Answers the Call for Future Capabilities
By CHIPS Magazine - July-September 2008
One nation threatens another in a volatile region of the world, and the scenario unfolds with a terrorist backlash in the continental United States on the global stage where Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration technologies show their mettle.

Information sharing technologies, running the gamut from digital personal identification to suites for real-time global situational awareness, leveraged warfighter and first responder skills over a global network in June during CWID.

Based on predictions about the world after 2015, the Joint Chiefs of Staff refine requirements for "tangible joint force capability improvement" in the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations for making user-defined information and expertise available anywhere within the network.

Exploiting network connectivity between a dispersed joint force and coalition elements for information sharing, collaboration, coordinated maneuver and integrated situational awareness is just one of the areas that CWID tests.

CWID is the only forum that brings new and emerging information technologies into a global network environment with interagency and multinational partners.

Conditions since the Gulf War, with terrorist strikes on civilians and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, led U.S. military planners to see that future conflicts may not always involve full-scale force on force operations.

Air Force Col. Vincent Valdespino, director for Command, Control, Communications and Computers, U.S. Joint Forces Command, said at a recent CWID conference, "We're talking about irregular warfare, about asymmetric warfare, CWID lets us look at emerging technologies to fight this type of warfare and enable winning the peace, enable civil affairs, cultural analysis and nation building."

Knowledge allows the joint force to see, understand and act before an adversary can.

With real-time information comes the ability to engage a broad range of solutions including economic, diplomatic and civil response on a global scale.

U.S. European Command, the combatant commander sponsor for 2006 to 2008, brings a natural emphasis on coalition operations with close ties to NATO via its European headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Stephen Ewell, deputy director J-9, International Interoperability, Concepts and Experimentation, USEUCOM, has been instrumental in involving the DoD acquisition community more closely in the CWID process.

"We do CWID for operators, joint, interagency and coalition operators, to deliver capability," Ewell said.

Though CWID itself does not carry acquisition authority, CWID assessments, conducted during the demonstration, are compiled into a final report which provides focus for the acquisition community on demonstration output.

Technologies that make the CWID cut reduce risk, advance spiral development of existing technologies and put cutting-edge information sharing tools into the hands of warfighters in the near-term.

Assessment teams compile reports on warfighter utility, technical interoperability and information assurance from questionnaires, observation and network data collection.

CWID, held annually, was conducted June 9th through 19th out of four main U.S. network locations with more than 20 coalition partners in eight countries around the world. Defense Department, government, first response agencies and multinational counterparts all sponsor trials for CWID based on defined mission objectives.

Information technologies are recruited for the demonstration through a Federal Business Opportunity (www.fedbizopps. gov) published each spring. Promising trials are selected by fall, beginning an intense planning process to integrate them into the operational environment and onto the network for scenario play the following June.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is the lead agency, providing demonstration network engineering and daily support through the CWID Joint Management Office staff. USJFCOM oversees the event for the JCS and directs the management group with a charter to facilitate technology fielding in the near-term.

U.S. sites are: Homeland Security/ Homeland Defense at North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard Bureau at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren,Va.; the U.S. Navy at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif.; the U.S. Air Force at Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.; and the Warfighter Capability Demonstration Center at the Pentagon, which provides a virtual window into the coalition operational sites.

Go to www.cwid.js.mil for more information.

On a tour of CWID, National Guard Bureau Director of C4, Maj. Gen. Alan Cowles, holds a prototype phone designed for satellite-based communications. The phone system or "infrastructure in the sky," a Marines Corps Warfighting Lab project, can help commanders track their troops on the ground. It brings connection times from 30 to 45 seconds down to just two. Photo courtesy of NSWC Dahlgren Division.
On a tour of CWID, National Guard Bureau Director of C4, Maj. Gen. Alan Cowles, holds a prototype phone designed for satellite-based communications. The phone system or "infrastructure in the sky," a Marines Corps Warfighting Lab project, can help commanders track their troops on the ground. It brings connection times from 30 to 45 seconds down to just two. Photo courtesy of NSWC Dahlgren Division.

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