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Warfighters Participate in Warrior Interoperability Demonstration

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070628-14
Release Date: 6/28/2007 3:39:00 PM

By John J. Joyce, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Public Affairs

DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- More than 100 warfighters responding to fictitious terrorist attacks tested information -- sharing and communication technology solutions -- during Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) 2007 at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division from June 12-21.

“Uniformed members from all services including the Coast Guard, National Guard and civilian agencies tested solutions designed for warfighters,” said NSWC Dahlgren Division Commander Capt. Sheila Patterson. “This year we had 104 military members at Dahlgren interacting with vendors and testing technologies. The potential delivery of emerging products to our joint and coalition forces in theater depends on assessments by the operators themselves.”

Army Gen. Lance Smith, U.S. Joint Forces Commander, and Diann McCoy, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Component Acquisition executive, were among 23 flag officers and senior executive service members and 331 visitors who were briefed by warfighters about CWID interoperability trials (ITs) at the nation’s largest CWID site in Dahlgren.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's annual event enables the combatant commanders and international community to investigate command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance solutions that focus on prioritized objectives for enhancing coalition interoperability.

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines judged the effectiveness of 34 ITs at Dahlgren while fighting two simulated conflicts, responding to a disaster and defending the homeland. One fictitious scenario involved a plague that rapidly spread across Mexico causing mass evacuations into the United States as terrorists threatened to detonate a chemical weapon in San Diego.

“The scenarios fit our need,” said Marine Corps Col. Howard Thomas, the CWID Marine Corps lead. “Unlike a regular exercise where forces are gathered and vendors support the scenario, CWID provides a scenario in order to test and evaluate the vendor's technologies. The warfighters provide an assessment of those technologies to include how well the ITs performed, ease of use, compatibility and interoperability among existing systems and other test technologies.”

In all, 47 ITs were tested during CWID 2007 over a global network using three enclaves on the Combined Federated Battle Laboratories Network comprised of two coalition task force classified enclaves as well as an unclassified network specifically for U.S. Northern Command.

The trials answer one or more of CWID’s published objectives: cross domain data sharing; integrated intelligence; integrated operations; integrated logistics; integrated planning; and integrated communications.

“CWID helps us provide products that meet the requirements and needs of our men and women on the ground,” said Marine Corps Col. John Giorgio, the coalition force and component commander.

“It is the only venue of its kind where you can actually bring together all of the uniform services and select agencies –- DHS (Department of Homeland Security), NSA (National Security Agency), NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) and DISA -– in addition to coalition and NATO countries to do the testing and assessments that we are looking for,” added Thomas.

CWID 2007 examined emerging technologies that demonstrated hardware and software solutions for combatant command theater capability gaps and challenges. Solutions to enhance multi-service, multinational, and interagency cooperation and communication were also demonstrated.

"Our mission is to share critical warfighting information among coalition participants, to document interoperability successes and shortfalls, and to focus on information sharing technology that leverages and amplifies the skills of warfighters and operators for future combined operations," said Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, Joint Staff Director for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems.

Simple collaboration among warfighters and vendors working side by side in seven operation centers at Dahlgren is also expected to impact future combined operations.

“There was a lot of cross talk and sharing,” said Giorgio. “The warfighters who trained here will go back to their parent commands and share information that will be needed in the event of an attack.”

Technologies may 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. Some developers choose to demonstrate limited versions of their capabilities, just for the environmental exposure CWID provides, and are not formally assessed.

Assessments will be compiled in a final report to be published later this year. U.S. Joint Forces Command, charged to equip all U.S. armed forces, coordinates assessment results to determine which CWID trials have potential to fill technology gaps.



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