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NATO’s Interoperability Challenge: is FMN on its own?

From the early days of the NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence, now 15 years ago, its members have been involved in NATO’s interoperability challenges. These challenges refer to the ability to act together in multinational formations and with multiple actors in a coherent, effective and efficient way in order to achieve the mandated mission. The NATO C2COE considers Federated Mission Networking, abbreviated as FMN, one of the main initiatives to address this. This initiative is needed more than ever. War in Europe is nearby and readiness is being tested. The enduring interoperability challenges FMN addresses have to be solved as they endanger the lives of our airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines. FMN should also be one of the cornerstones of the developing Multi Domain Operations Concept.

FMN seminars are a valuable forum to discuss the FMN idea and foster its continued implementation with high-level decision makers, military leaders and subject matter specialists. The fourth FMN Seminar, co-hosted by Germany and the United States, was held in Garmisch- Partenkirchen from 16 till 18 May. The audience consisted of 35 senior officials and flag-officers and more than 200 other attendees. Then still an active marine officer, I was invited to act as a guest speaker on the first day. As a long-time follower of FMN, I provided a 45-minute-long briefing which was intended to feed the discussions in the sessions on the following days. Based on the feedback from the organizers, their intent was fully achieved. This article reflects in general the briefing as provided. Previously I shared my thoughts on the topic in our Centre’s 2018 Annual Overview and in one of our NATO C2COE’s podcasts.

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