NATO Coalition Warrior Interoperability Event Held In Poland For First Time

For the first time in its history, the NATO Coalition Warrior Interoperability exploration, experimentation and examination exercise (CWIX) was held at the Joint Forces Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland from 30 May to 16 June 2011.
CWIX 2011 is the largest event JFTC has hosted to date and the intense coordination between the ACT CWIX Team, JFTC, the local NCSA team and Host Nation Poland led to a flawless execution.

During the execution period, about 900 participants representing seventeen NATO nations, three Partnership for Peace Nations, one contact nation, seven NATO Agencies and one Centre of Excellence (CoE) worked on improving the interoperability of NATO and National Command AND Control (C2) Systems. During peak days, about 650 people were present at JFTC to participate in or observe interoperability testing.
NATO CWIX 2011 attracted 104 C2 systems (an increase from 96 systems in 2010) and conducted 4316 tests over a two week period. The Coalition Information Assurance Team (CIAT) noted that there were more than 900 network hosts on the exercise network.

NATO CWIX broke ground in several areas this year. A few accomplishments in these areas are mentioned below:

  • Afghan Mission Network (AMN) related testing: One of the current AMN testing objectives is to make it possible for forces in Afghanistan to plan and do the targeting of missions without delays caused by manual transfer of data between systems. While further testing is still required, NATO CWIX successfully demonstrated that it is technically possible to exchange data between complex systems and disparate databases. The Joint Fires Focus Area significantly improved the capability to automate the one-way exchange of target data from USA systems to NATO systems. In addition to targeting, 23 AMN-related systems were tested for battle space management interoperability. All of the results will be forwarded to the appropriate working group in order to be certified and validated.
  • Cross Component Interactions: For the first time Cross Component interactions (e.g. Air Task Orders, Close Air Support etc.) were conducted to avoid the traditional Air/Land/Maritime stove piped focus.
  • Geospatial: NATO CWIX Geospatial testing continues to expand. The goal for this year was to have a single source location for all geospatial data using an enterprise service bus. This capability allows all users to access all geospatial data without having to query different national systems. This capability proved to be a big success and it showed that technically this can be done.
  • Logistics / Movement & Transportation (M&T) / Medical: For the first time, Logistics, M&T and Medical interoperability was tested at NATO CWIX from an Information/data exchange point of view. HQ SACT sponsored the involvement of NC3A developed logistics and medical prototype software tools and their availability acted as a hub around Nations and NATO could construct test cases for the exchange of data. At CIWC 2011 it was proven that automatic data transfer from 3 National Systems to the NATO Operational Logistic Chain Management prototype and then to the Joint Common Operational Picture was possible.

    NATO CWIX is crucial for NATO and Nations to test systems before deploying them in real operations and to get ready for NRF certification


Services split over push for unified medical command

The military’s top medical officers are divided over a House-passed plan to re-organize the health care system under a unified medical command. The plan, in effect, would merge commands that the Army, Navy and Air Force have run with separate staffs and resources for decades.

Two of three surgeons general oppose the move and hope senators will reject it when preparing their own version of the fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization Bill.

The plan to restructure military medicine, which the Army and Navy embraced five years ago, assumes cost savings of $460 million a year by ending duplication of effort and staff redundancies across the services.

But Lt. Gen. Charles B. Green, Air Force surgeon general, said his service opposes a unified command, in part because it doesn’t believe the restructuring will save money.

“We believe a more effective and efficient joint medical solution can be attained without the expense of establishing a unified medical command,” Green said.

The Navy no longer supports medical command consolidation, at least not now. Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr., Navy surgeon general, warned “there is currently no joint construct or doctrine to permit the seamless and safe care for our servicemembers and their families” under a unified command.

But Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, Army surgeon general and commanding general of Army Medical Command, finds “merit in considering the most effective and efficient command structures to support the strategic goals of the military health system, the services and the combatant commanders.”

Under the House bill, the unified medical command would be a major combatant command similar to Special Operations Forces Command, and reporting directly to the secretary of defense. The four-star officer selected to run it would be given authority over medical staffing, training, purchasing, operations and readiness, just as SOCOM is responsible for all aspects of combined special forces.

Medical personnel still would be trained for service-unique missions in the culture of parent services. But overall medical training, assignments, procurement and operational support would be centrally controlled.

The unified command would oversee three subordinate commands led by three-star officers. One would be responsible for all fixed military treatment facilities. A second would run all medical training and education plus research and development. The plan is silent on functions such as logistics and information technology, allowing the department to organize those as it deems fit.

A third subordinate command, called the Defense Health Agency, would assume all functions now performed by the Tricare Management Activity including the multi-billion dollar Tricare support contracts that support vast networks of civilian health care providers to deliver a triple health care option to family members and retirees.

The House directs the secretary of defense to present details for implementing these changes to defense committees by July 1, 2012.

Military Update asked each current surgeon general his views on the unified command plan the House passed.

Green said the Air Force recognizes that service and joint medical doctrine “must be improved to assure service capabilities are fully interoperable and interdependent to bolster unity of effort. The services should continue integrating common medical platforms to reduce redundancy and lower costs.”

But a unified medical command might “not achieve the intended synergy or unity of effort,” Green said.

Robinson argued the medical community “is already highly integrated” with Army, Navy and Air Force working “seamlessly to care for patients from battlefield to bedside. If we were to create a new unified command, it would require extensive study on how it would be best implemented so that we don’t jeopardize our current capability or add excessive cost to the system.”

But Schoomaker noted that “numerous” past studies have endorsed a unified medical command to improve the health of the force and to reduce redundancies. “Like all major organizational transformation efforts, however, the devil resides in the details,” he said.

“Army Medicine recognizes the merit inherent in these efforts, providing that the continuum of care remains fully integrated,” he said.

ByTom Philpott