Interoperability is Key to Allied Military Forces to Train as they Fight


In today’s new battlespace, it is critical for military forces to collaborate with allied forces without facing issues related to interoperability. As part of an initiative to ensure operational readiness and interoperability, the U.S. Army is partnering with NATO and other allies to ensure integration of capabilities and systems.

The first exercise took place earlier this year, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. According to Staff Sgt. Kathleen V. Polanco, soldiers from Albania, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States came together to exercise tactical interoperability and test secure communications among NATO alliance members.

According to Polanco’s post, the commander of the exercise, Czech Republic Army Brig. Gen. Karel Rehka, stressed the importance of training. “If we’re going to fight, most likely we’ll fight as an alliance, so training with multiple nations is ideal to prepare for that.”

Each military and allied force works in network environments with different standards and requirements based on their nation’s mission and capabilities. As these allies come together to train, they must have  secure communications, access to data, and be able to effectively share information .

In a recent article in SIGNAL, Mary Woods, Army deputy program executive officer for Command, Control and Communications–Tactical (PEO C3T), talks about the importance of broadening our understanding of interoperability. She says it goes beyond “networks capable of transferring data among partner nations.” True success, according to Woods, is “a byproduct of each country’s planning efforts, technical expertise and coordination behind the scenes months before any equipment ever touches the ground in an operational setting.”

This type of interoperability requires a team effort from technology developers, solutions providers, industry allies, coalition partners, and many more that enable coalition integration. It can’t be an afterthought or a part of the solution;  rather interoperability requires bigger thinking and solutions that are built with information sharing in mind from the start, for more effective mission command and control in today’s new battlespace.

The Army continues to address interoperability by holding events that bring allies and joint forces together with the goal of learning from the exercises and breaking down the walls that block essential data sharing among partners. Future warfighting exercises will be held throughout the year.