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Designing For Future Interoperability

May. 23, 2013 - 01:28PM   |  
By LAUREN BIRON   |   Comments
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ROME — Exactly what technology will be used for training in the coming years remains uncertain, but members of the military and industry alike are pushing for future tools to fit into a standardized system in an interoperable future.

“It’s very easy to talk about better, faster, cheaper, stronger,” said Capt. Andy Cree, command officer of the U.K.’s Defence Centre of Training and Support, Thursday at a panel at ITEC on the 2020 technology vision and the future of innovation.

Despite the push toward faster and cheaper, Cree noted the necessity of investing in making systems future-proof and able to integrate with other technologies that might not even exist yet. This requires a standard architecture and infrastructure that systems can conform to.

As troops move out of Afghanistan, the exact type of training needed becomes fuzzy, but the ability for systems to communicate in an increasingly networked environment becomes more crucial than ever.

Brig. Gen. Giovanni Fungo, assistant chief of staff for capability engineering and innovataion for NATO, said there are plans for a major NATO exercise in 2015 to improve interoperability and that establishing and testing interoperability in the field is a luxury that will be unavailable.

In some respects, touting interoperability seems like beating a dead horse. The topic has been discussed for years, but while some progress has been made, the industry remains far from true interoperability — both in terms of system communication and international standards for live and simulated training.

“We have a hard enough time interoperating within our own services in the U.S.,” Jeremy Lanman of the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation said at a Wednesday panel.

Industry leaders also recognize the need for interoperability. Pete Morrison, head of Bohemia Interactive Simulations, said that “everything needs to be future-proofed” and open, though he said he would be suspicious of any common architecture created by a private group rather than the government.

“Open architectures are the only way to go,” Morrison said, calling it the only way to achieve standardization.

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