Profiles in Excellence: Successful Mission Execution Through Interoperability

Director’s Award & Outstanding Testing Professional of the Year

Although DISA’s reputation is for technology, there is nothing technical about its mission: to provide unparalleled excellence in support of the warfighter. Twenty eight awards were recently presented at the 2012 DISA Annual Awards Ceremony to honor the work of DISA’s innovators.

The winners of this year’s awards leverage their skills as collaborators as well as their technical their collaborative and technical expertise to fundamentally change the way DISA supports the mission.

Successful Mission Execution through Interoperability
Director’s Award & Outstanding Testing Professional of the Year
Jeff Phipps and the Coalition Interoperability Assurance and Validation (CIAV) Team (JITC)

PhippsGetting technology to work together for successful mission execution is never easy. It’s a challenge both within the services and across the department. That challenge is often multiplied across coalition partners, which is why former Commander, International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) called for one network to meet the needs of coalition information sharing in Afghanistan. Jeff Phipps led DISA’s Coalition Interoperability Assurance and Validation (CIAV) Team to help make it a reality.

“We really saw an interoperability train wreck approaching,” Phipps said. The CIAV created and implemented a standardized mission based methodology for validation and testing within that environment to ensure seamless data-sharing capabilities across the coalition – something that had never been done before.

To do so, the CIAV team had to pull together 10 nations and NATO to identify the mission execution requirements and not only get the technology to work together, but also, and perhaps even more critically, their technology managers. Phipps said the key was to ensure that partners had strong leadership and were completely motivated by a single driving issue: the interoperability of their force elements on the battlefield. “The work we do saves lives and makes our forces more effective,” Phipps said. “We have a good cause and all of our coalition partners are passionate about it.”

“We really saw an interoperability train wreck approaching.”
Jeff Phipps, US Chairman of Coalition Interoperability Assurance and Validation (CIAV) Team (JITC), Defense Information Systems Agency

That passion was essential to empowering the CIAV Working Group and ensuring that the Afghanistan Mission Network’s (AMN) governance construct worked correctly. After all, if one capability used by the U.S. military was not interoperable with a critical capability used by a coalition partner, how would the conflict be resolved? The governance construct disentangled issues like this with tact and objectivity. “To date, we haven’t had a lot of conflict and normally if we do have conflict it’s worked out at very low levels,” Phipps explained.

Multiple systems have now been successfully modified to meet coalition requirements, improving the ability of the entire coalition to effectively conduct combat operations. What’s more, it’s served as a model for future networks. “Ninety-nine percent of the time we’re going to fight a coalition battle,” Phipps said. “We have to be interoperable with our partners.” AMN has fundamentally changed the nature of collaboration on the battlefield. Phipps, who received the Director’s Award for his efforts, is dedicated to ensuring that the work he and his team did matures into an enduring capability – “so we’re ready to fight on day one during the next engagement.”

About this Report

This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors are not guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Government Information Group Content Solutions, please email us at [email protected]