NATO is innovating so that the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX) 2020 can take place this year, despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

This year 19 Nations plan to participate in the exercise, and two additional Nations will be observing. The exercise, which is focused on testing and improving interoperability, will test about 160 capabilities, including two that are particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19.

Many aspects of CWIX 2020 are being done for the first time. These include planning the event virtually, and testing the applications virtually from the Nations themselves, instead of coming together in one central location. The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is working hand in hand with Allied Command Transformation and the Joint Force Training Centre to plan the event. The Agency is also providing subject matter experts who will be conducting capability testing.

Three conference rooms in the Agency's new facilities in The Hague, Netherlands, have been repurposed for the exercise. This will allow Agency experts to participate while social distancing.

The exercise will include online opening and closing ceremonies.

“When NATO Nations and Partners work together in a mission or exercise, one of the keys to success is interoperability,” said Alberto Perez-Veiga, Service Delivery Manager for Command and Control Services at the NCI Agency. “CWIX brings together every year hundreds of experts from across the coalition to ensure that different technologies, processes and personnel can work together in an effective manner.”

A key enabler in this exercise is the Combined Federated Battle Labs Network (CFBLNet). The network is used for research, development, trials, assessment, exercise and pre-deployment training. Established in 2001, it has currently 37 members and it has been for years the backbone of the testing activities on a classified level during CWIX.

CWIX participants will connect to the network from their own countries. NCI Agency will connect from The Hague and Bydgoszcz, Poland, to deliver the necessary services, as well as several NATO capabilities being tested during the exercise.

The exercise will test about 160 capabilities, including NATO Medical Communication and Information Capability; Data-centric Information Services Gateway (DISG); and NATO Core Data Framework (NCDF).