Combined Force Interoperability through Security Cooperation

Friday March 17, 2006

What is it? Security cooperation programs improve U.S. landpower capabilities and strategic responsiveness by enhancing the ability of both the U.S. and our allies/coalition partners to operate effectively across a range of military missions. A key tool for this initiative is international cooperative research development and acquisition (RDA), which seeks to improve U.S. and allied capabilities by enhancing interoperability and leveraging foreign technologies for U.S. Army systems. A second tool, security assistance, in the form of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and review of commercial munitions licenses, enhances interoperability by making U.S. Army equipment and technologies available to our Allies and coalition partners for use in the Global War on Terrorism.

What has the Army Done? During 2005, the Army initiated or expanded its international cooperative RDA efforts, largely focused on improving command, control and communications (C3) interoperability. These effortsincluded the Multilateral Interoperability Program, the Coalition Combat Identification demonstration, and bilateral tactical communications interoperability efforts with Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK). To enhance C3 interoperability on the Future Combat System (FCS) program, the Army established a Land Battlespace Memorandum of Understanding with the UK. As part of its security assistance activities, the Army managed a multibillion dollar FMS program and processed approximately 5000 commercial export licenses for Army managed systems and technology. To support the latter mission, the Army has fielded a web-based training program that enhances Army acquisition personnel understanding of and compliance with arms export control regulations. The Army supplemented these activities by providing critical war fighting enablers to coalition partners in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Articles included small arms, Javelin Close Combat Missile Systems, night vision devices, and communications systems.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? Future efforts under this initiative include expanding the scope of current FCS cooperation with the UK and extending FCS-related interoperability activities to other major allies such as Australia and Singapore. The Army will also expand Soldier-system related cooperation with Australia and continue multilateral interoperability cooperation with other major allies, including the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Army is taking the lead on several aspects of the Alliance's Defense Against Terrorism Initiative. To ensure broader understanding and proper application of arms export control policies, the Army is planning to expand the web-based export control training program to additional Army organizations involved in the export of defense goods, services and technologies.

Why is this important to the Army? This initiativehelps ensure that our Allies and coalition partners can continue to fight side-by-side with the U.S. Army in the GWOT today and in the fully network-enabled environment of the future. It also demonstrates Army support for key Department of Defense Security Cooperation themes by demonstrating resolve to fulfill our Alliance and other defense commitments and fostering defense transformation with advanced defense establishments. Through this initiative, the Army will enhance the warfighting capabilities of our allies and coalition partners while protecting critical U.S. Army systems and technologies against unintended proliferation.


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