In military operations, enhanced situational awareness and communication are critical factors in obtaining military sovereignty. In order to achieve this, the Federated Mission Networking Framework has been defined, outlining the governance, processes, policies and protocols to use in multinational operations for NATO organisations, Nations and Mission Partner capabilities.
Chand Svare Ghei, Chief Engineer at Airbus Secure Communications, has more than 15 years of experience with Deployable Communications and Information Systems (DCIS) and has led the delivery and creation of technology and solutions for NATO exercises and operations. An expert in the field of DCIS, hear from Chand as he discusses the objectives behind the FMN Framework and what Airbus is doing to enhance and extend mission interoperability.
What is Federated Mission Networking?
Federated Mission Networking (FMN) aims to enhance operational readiness and effectiveness, today and in the future. A key contribution to the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), which helps Allied and Partner forces to better communicate, train and operate together, FMN enables rapid instantiation of mission networks, enhancing levels of interconnectedness and interoperability. FMN aims to support C4ISR and decision-making in coalition operations through improved secure information exchange and collaboration providing the agility, flexibility and scalability needed to manage emerging requirements of any mission environment.
The FMN concept envisions a world in which the commander of an operation effectively performs end-to-end processes and shares information in a coalition environment allowing for better and quicker decisions and a more thorough situational understanding of their environment. The objective is to provide users with the same CIS system functionality in operation as they would have in an office environment, extending the interoperability to all members of an operation.
What is the future of Federated Mission Networking?
Originally based on systems and lessons learned from the Afghan Mission Network (AMN), FMN is continually evolving and is based on a rolling 10-year roadmap to envision future capabilities. Each development increment (referred to as an FMN Spiral) outlines the requirements, architecture, standards, technical instructions and specifications needed; it is currently at FMN Spiral 3. To enable interoperability in a multi-vendor, multi-network, multi-service environment, technical interface standards are critical enablers to be collectively followed and conformed to by all participating members. Since the initial concept of the FMN initiative, three intermediate milestones have been defined for the FMN capability vision. The aim of milestone one was to achieve a capability in which separate physical infrastructures exist per mission and security classification levels. Milestone two aims to achieve a capability with support for multiple security classification levels within each mission with separate physical infrastructure per mission. Milestone three then aims to achieve a capability with a single common infrastructure for all concurrently existing mission networks and their multiple levels of security classification.
How does Airbus support FMN?
Currently at Spiral 3 of the FMN Initiative, the objective focuses on the implementation of interoperability for the federated Communications and Core Services, providing multinational commanders and their staff the same functionality on operation CIS system as they would have in base environments. Including federated Command and Control and Battlespace Management for Joint, Air, Maritime and Land Command, the focus is on extending interoperability to all members of a coalition operation. Designed to and compatible with NATO’s FMN architecture, the Airbus Deployable CIS solution is a complete IT, cybersecurity, network, video and audio collaboration solution that provides capabilities to support network interconnectivity, network management and cyber defence functionality for deployed force elements. Supporting and built on the NATO C3 Taxonomy, the Airbus Deployable CIS solution is tailored to the needs of the customer, comprising modular building blocks deployed according to the Communications and Information Systems (CIS) requirements of the mission.
Enhancing the resilience of communications and information sharing, the Airbus Deployable CIS solution incorporates and holds the ability to evolve NATO deployed architecture and migrate the current operating capability and assets to be compatible with the future design, without reducing deployment capabilities or operational services. The architecture takes a layered and open standards based design, allowing for new or additional capabilities to be inserted within the solution. Due to its flexible mechanical design, the solution provides robust environmental protection with a flexible connector interface that can be changed or repaired in the field quickly, taking advantage of new technologies and improvements in size weight, power and air-conditioning. It also holds the ability for transmission elements to be remoted away from any node or command location to assist in battlefield survivability.
The Airbus Deployable CIS solution incorporates and continues to enhance numerous elements and services to ensure it supports current FMN specifications including:
- Introduction of concepts for operating a federated Mission Network Security Operations Centre and building federated CIS Security organisational structures
- Supports the ability to appropriately share information between all coalition partners, including with NGOs and local civilian agencies
- Zero-day interoperability at the technology, process and people or training levels
- Provides PCN to contribute to a common federated deploy infrastructure, appropriately sharing service and connectivity between all coalition partners, supporting end-user enclave levels
- Improving of Service Management & Control coordination across all coalition partners and Network Management & Cyber Defence capabilities within the deployed space; providing higher level of network operation and protection with end-to-end service level visibility
- Ensures ease-of-use and enables flexible employment of the system, including short-notice changes, by utilisation of automation and service planning, preparation, build configuration
- Reduces training burden and skill requirement by providing improved visibility
- Supports plug-and-play connectivity and relocation through use of advanced security mechanisms, automating authentication and authorisation of connections to the network and services
- Enables full utilisation of third-party bearers-of-opportunity by the host nation, provided by or from publically available commercial networks
- Supports use of micro-services through Application Hosting Environment based on virtual machines and container
For more information on the Airbus Deployable CIS solution, download the brochure or get in contact to find out how it can be tailored to meet your mission requirements.