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06/14/2005

“Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration 2005” (CWID) Features “Incident Commanders’ Radio Interface” in Interoperability Trials

C-AT’s Radio Interoperability Equipment will Bridge Voice Communications for Defense, Homeland Security, and Antiterrorism Participants

Reston, Virginia – CWID 2005, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s annual proving ground for technologies that enhance interoperability amongst U.S. war-fighters, anti-terrorism forces, and international coalition partners, has chosen the “Incident Commanders’ Radio Interface” (ICRI TM) for its month-long Interoperability Trials.

The trials assessment, taking place June 13 – June 24, 2005, will evaluate hardware and software that improve information exchange across joint operation participants, which includes all branches of the U.S. military, the Department of Homeland Security, NATO nations, and international partners Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The ICRI creates voice interoperability amongst incompatible radio and communications equipment, and was selected by CWID’s Senior Management Group for enhancing “Situational Awareness,” a key objective for participating in the exercise.

The trials will be conducted in a simulated operational environment, with the ICRI providing cross-band, cross-platform voice interoperability that links dissimilar military and public safety radios, cellular, direct-connect, and land-line phones. The portable ICRI, measuring just 10”x 7”x 3”, can be set up in less than five minutes, without special training, or computer interfaces. It will be deployed in 18 “scenarios”, which include:

  • A hazardous materials train derailment occurs in Denver, Colorado, where on-scene command needs to coordinate efforts of responding agencies that arrive with different communications equipment, and without spare radios to provide to other responders. Using the ICRI, commanders will establish contact with each other and with first-responders.
  • Terrorists damage the 14th Street and Wilson Bridges (D.C.), blocking traffic and preventing Haz-Mat and Urban Search & Rescue vehicles from reaching locations. A portable ICRI used by the D.C. Fire Department Chief connects federal and D.C. public safety response agencies and on-scene eye-witnesses using Nextel phones with the National Capital Emergency Operations Center.
  • A radiological agent is detected in the Lincoln Tunnel (NY), where radio communications are not possible due to distance. Responders entering the tunnel with a cable-extended ICRI connected to two trunked radios with talk-around, gain reach-back to command through NORTHCOM TACSAT (tactical satellite).
  • A plane crash causes the Northeast power grid to collapse. An ad hoc search and rescue effort is begun immediately with volunteer search and rescue, local police, and military personnel from a local base. Although each agency arrives with different radio equipment, military and civilian radios are set to separate talk groups on the same ICRI, allowing commanders to maintain contact with each other and first-responders. Due to the power outage, interoperability without an external power source is required, relying on the ICRI’s for 30 hours of operation using just 8 “AA” batteries.
  • A Special Operations (SOF) Recon team, using military radios equipped with Type 1 encryption, establish a radio communications link with a local militia using the ICRI. The radio connection between the SOF team leader and commanders several kilometers away at the Tactical Operations Center is poor due to large buildings. The portable ICRI is placed at a high point to serve as a repeater, and as a connection, bridging incompatible SOF/local militia radios.
Overseen by U.S. Joint Forces Command, the Interoperability Trials are designed to test for the exchange of critical information for command, control, communications, and computers, and are deemed successful when one system sends information to another and both parties can effectively transmit and communicate. The goal of CWID is to acquire and make operational within 6-12 months those solutions that are successful in the exercise.

NORTHCOM, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, CO, is the host combatant. It will be the primary site and will work with coalition partners running their own interoperability trials and assessments. Additional U.S. sites include the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, VA, the U.S. Navy at SPAWAR Systems Center, San Diego, CA, and EUCOM, Lillehammer, Norway.

Other key participants include:The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in Arlington, VA, is the lead agency. The Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) conducts both initial interoperability technical reviews and interoperability technical assessments on the interoperability trials. Additional information on CWID can be found at www.cwid.js.mil


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