Reaching out to tech firms

Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration focuses on operational IT

Each year, new network-centric technologies vying for command-level attention get a tryout at the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID), held this year from June 2 to 20. The event, directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is part trade show, part military exercise. It focuses on demonstrating information technologies that are ready for operational use in the short term.

For companies, the process starts more than a year in advance with an announcement in the Federal Business Opportunities Web site every spring. This year’s CWID featured 60 trials that ranged from a data repository to a weapons targeting and execution tool.

It’s an opportunity for businesses to receive recognition in an annual report that highlights promising information-sharing technologies. Technologies that have graduated from the CWID process include Blue Force Tracking, which pinpoints the location of friendly forces through the Global Positioning System to minimize friendly fire accidents, and the Global Command and Control System.

The Defense Department encourages small businesses to participate. “CWID provides not only outreach to small businesses but also partnership with other developers and with coalition countries’ technology discovery efforts,” said Col. Thomas Walrond, CWID Joint Management Office director.

Each year, CWID planners choose objectives for technology providers to meet. This year, they asked vendors to develop solutions that would improve joint interoperability, cybersecurity, information sharing and logistics data transmissions.

The Joint Chiefs have already announced next year’s objectives in an announcement published May 19. They include improving command, control and coordination for conventional and irregular warfare operations; improving commander-centric, network-enabled operations; enhancing battle space and situational awareness; improving logistics planning and coordination; and enhancing coalition, U.S. military, government agency and nongovernmental organization partnership-building capabilities.

Technology trial proposals are due Sept. 15.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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