U.S., NATO planning crisis management network

At a meeting this week with NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium, Defense Secretary William Cohen plans to discuss the creation of a new information-sharing network that will help NATO nations respond more effectively to crises such as the strife in Kosovo.

Cohen is on a three-nation, five-day tour of Europe that will be capped by a two-day session in Brussels beginning Thursday.

The information-sharing effort, which is still in its conceptual stage, began in May during a meeting of NATO's deputy defense ministers that focused on the lessons learned during the 78-day air war in Kosovo. The new Crisis Management Network, as it is tentatively being called, will be managed out of NATO's Partnership for Peace Information Management Systems office.

In April, the U.S. Atlantic Command sponsored the first NATO Partnership for Peace (PFP) Simulation Network Demonstration, held in conjunction with NATO's 50th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. The demonstration linked six multinational command posts through a global simulation network and involved personnel from 27 nations [FCW, May 3].

According to a spokesman for the Defense Department, the new network will focus on providing NATO PFP nations a way to organize and respond to international crises like Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. The goal, according to the Pentagon spokesman, is to enhance information sharing through the use of common databases and Internet technologies.

Cohen and other NATO defense ministers also will discuss the NATO Defense Initiative, which emphasizes high-tech research and development efforts to improve the mobility, precision engagement, logistics, and command, control, communications and intelligence capabilities of NATO nations.

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