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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

18 Sep 07. Lt. Gen. Carl O’Berry, USAF (Retd.), NCOIC Founding Chairamna, Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege, Jr., USAF (Ret.), NCOIC Executive Chairman and Ken Cureton NCOIC Systems Engineering and Integration Functional Team Head, gave an upbeat briefing to journalists on Tuesday Septmebr 18th.

The Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) was formed in August 2004 to support those who design and deliver systems for warriors, first-responders, and others as they seek to maximize information age capabilities. The NCOIC’s products will continuously enhance systems and services’ interoperability and operational resilience, and will reduce the cost of developing new capabilities, even as they become more prolific. For the procuring agencies, this will result in lower integration and administrative costs in the deployment of distributed systems that can interoperate easily, cost effectively and securely. The three year-old consortium now has 98 members and is now working with NATO, EU, DoD, FAA, DHS, DISA, SPAWAR, JFCOM and the Red Cross, Asia is the next target.

Through close collaboration with government and industry players, the NCOIC will act as a resource for scientists, engineers and software developers working on the transformation to network centric operations. The primary goals of the NCOIC are to adopt common open standards, share best practices and processes and encourage collaboration, enabling the industry to develop compatible products that will help customers achieve greater efficiency.

Ultimately, a worldwide reference on NCO capabilities must be formed. The NCOIC consists of a complex system of interlinking working groups established from the participants of the member companies. The NCOIC works closely with international bodies, such as NATO, the European Union, and others to ensure that the goal of global interoperability is achieved.

The NCOIC is a unique collaboration of premier leaders in the aerospace, defense, information technology, large-scale integrator and services industries. The Consortium works in tandem with customers from around the world, each with a specific mission, to provide a set of tools that enable the development of network centric capabilities and products.

General O’Berry gave an introduction to the functions and aspirations of the NCOIC, “As technology advances at an astounding rate, access to information is no longer an option — it’s an expectation. The deciding factor in any military conflict is not the weaponry, it is the network. The missing link in today’s disaster recovery efforts is a working network. And the key to emergency response is accurate information that enables first-responders to know what happened, who’s responded, and what is still required. From the warrior to emergency personnel to the modern day consumer, access to all information, without regard to hardware, software, or location of the user, is no longer attractive, it is imperative. From 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina and Operation Iraqi Freedom, access to information, or lack thereof, has been the determinant of life or death,” O’Berry said.

“The key to the success of the Network is to bring the power of technology to bear, particularly COTS technology and deploy it to military usage using Common Standards of protocols. We don’t have enough bandwidth to connect everyone so we must find ways to reuse bandwidth and compress data and images. The questions remain the same for every user, ‘Where am I? Where are my friends? What is the weather? When will I arrive?,’ all of these questions apply to civil and military users and thus the network must be seamless to enable instant communication between all users whether it be disaster relief, fire or military operations.”

“The aim is to improve situational awareness, increased mission effectiveness, and the ability to work across se

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