IBM to lead U.S., U.K. military technology consortium

International Technology Alliance in Network and Information Sciences

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The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.K. Ministry of Defence have selected IBM to lead an international consortium researching advanced technology information and communications areas. The group aims to develop and field new capabilities for American/British coalition operations.

The new project, called the International Technology Alliance (ITA), brings together 25 government, industry and academic partners from both sides of the Atlantic to collaborate on wireless network theory, security across systems, sensor information processing, and distributed coalition planning and decision-making. The program will span 10 years and could spend as much as $138.5 million.

ITA’s goal is to field technologies that will expand the technological capabilities of the U.S. Army and U.K. Armed Forces to give them an information advantage in humanitarian relief, civilian and insurgent control, and military operations, according to a statement.

ITA also represents a unique alliance between the countries for future combined operations, said Thomas Killion, the Army’s chief scientist. “It is really as much about partnering with our closest ally as it is about addressing critical research challenges in network and information sciences that will enable us to foster next-generation tactical mobile networks,” he said.

Sir Roy Anderson, the ministry’s chief scientific adviser, said the program “will help to break down barriers to cooperation in U.K./U.S. defense technology sharing.”

ITA is also innovative in the way it brings together interested parties, said Dinesh Verma, an IBM researcher and ITA program manager. “This program is really all about collaboration,” he said. By cutting across the technology areas of many defense companies and universities, the program will spur innovation and new ideas, he added.

Researchers will work together on projects to produce publications, develop technologies and create ideas. They will share the results among all consortium members, Verma said. Notably, researchers will perform each task collaboratively at different organizations, he added.

IBM will manage the project, perform administration, distribute funds and contribute to the research. The company will also facilitate collaboration through the use of systems such as Lotus Sametime, Verma said.

U.S. industry participants also include BBN Technologies, Boeing, Honeywell International and Applied Research Associates. U.K. participants are LogicaCMG, Roke Manor Research, and Systems Engineering and Assessment.

The government participants are the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

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