Successful Coalition Warrior Integration Demonstration connects to five countries
September 26, 2011
The Central Technical Support Facility, CTSF, was one of six sites in the United States, Canada and Poland that participated in the Coalition Warrior Integration Demonstration, CWID, event staged annually under the auspices of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It was the CTSF's pioneering efforts in the establishment of an Afghan Mission Network, AMN, laboratory on the facility's expansive test floor that drew CWID organizers to the Fort Hood-based complex.
The AMN lab, now called the Coalition Interoperability Assessment and Validation, CIAV, lab became a focal point for the event.
According to CWID spokesperson, Luefras Robinson, CWID's objectives were designed to address information sharing shortfalls being experienced in Afghanistan and to test the ability of coalition forces to execute a joint fires mission among member entities.
The CTSF's CIAV lab allowed CWID participants to replicate the AMN and provided them with a "relevant operational backdrop" allowing the systems in the demonstration to undergo realistic stresses to determine their readiness for the battlefield, said Robinson.
"Overall, the event was successful," said Charles McMaster, who coordinated CWID events at the CTSF on behalf of Headquarters, Department of the Army, G6. "We identified some technology shortcomings, and enjoyed our technological successes."
McMaster was highly complementary of the Fort Hood Soldiers who participated as test operators in CWID. They reported for a week of training in late May and jumped into full-fledged interoperability testing, using the more than 30 Army tactical baseline systems on the CTSF test floor, he said.
"The Soldiers were out of their comfort area. They were doing things they aren't normally expected to do, but they adapted to the circumstances, and quickly learned the tasks before them," said McMaster. "They did a fantastic job for us."
A group of experienced CTSF test operators worked closely with the Soldiers for the duration of the CWID event.
"Our operators trained the Soldiers, assisted them during the event, and in some cases, did the actual operating," said Matt Meverden, CTSF Defense Information Systems Agency, DISA, liaison officer. It was the expertise of the CTSF's operators, moreover, the depth of expertise the CTSF was able to bring to the CWID event, that got the facility involved, Robinson reiterated.
"The reputation we built with our Coalition Interoperability, Assurance and Validation, CIAV/Afghan Mission Network, AMN, lab had CWID knocking at our door," McMaster added.
For more than a year, the CTSF has been working software system interoperability issues with coalition partners in Europe and NATO in an effort to make the digital battlefield in Afghanistan visible to elements of all of the friendly forces engaged in the war there.
CWID used that experience, as well as the CIAV network available at the CTSF to conduct what a CWID spokesperson described as "technology trials" in operationally realistic scenarios.
"The ability to share a common classified network across coalition lines provides commanders a more precise operational picture, enabling timely decision-making," said McMaster. "That is one of the aspects of our CIAV facility that the CWID people found quite valuable. It is also a value we are proving and expanding for the Warfighter."
Not only was the CTSF able to conduct software trials with the participating facilities in Canada and Poland, but in Germany, France, and the Netherlands as well in an attempt to meet CWID's goal of defining an expanded command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, C4ISR, baseline of
Event organizers said its results will ultimately "positively impact Warfighters in Afghanistan as well as homeland security-homeland defense forces, and emergency responders."
A final assessment of the CWID activities will be published fall 2011, said Robinson.
"It should provide quality assessment data to support coalition, combatant command, service and agency acquisition processes," she said.