Exercise tests joint warfare tech

Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration

The armed services this week will wrap up the ninth annual Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID). This is a multiservice, multinational exercise designed to test technologies and methodologies for coalition warfighting.

JWID began in 1994 as an idea to apply lessons learned from Operation Desert Storm to future combat scenarios. This year's demonstration runs June 9 through June 26, across 17 time zones at 40 sites, and involves 20 coalition, NATO and allied countries.

The exercise involves a NATO-mandated peacekeeping effort and the installation of humanitarian services on a fictitious island. Using a multitude of technologies provided by vendors, participants test software and hardware programs to determine their usability in various combat situations.

The exercise is designed to determine the best technologies for:

* Improving information sharing with other nations.

* Improving methodologies for situational awareness.

* Establishing coalition vulnerabilities.

* Evolving to a single standard for a coalition wide-area network.

* Developing a real-time, or near real-time, language translator.

* Sharing logistics information.

"JWID involves a large coalition and it's growing each year," said Navy Capt. Lyal Davidson, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (Navsea) in Dahlgren, Va. The demonstration brings the joint elements and engineering together to ensure cohesion, he said.

Although the exercise is completely virtual, commanders involved say lessons learned will provide valuable information for future combat missions and will determine where the Defense Department and allied countries should focus investment and training for new technologies.

Upon completion of the exercise, a performance assessment will determine which technologies made the greatest amount of difference.

"Getting information faster allows for more time for reaction," said Barry Dillon, head of the Theater Warfare Systems Department at Navsea. "We need joint coalition interoperability in the 21st century."

Along with the U.S. armed services, this year's JWID includes forces from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, NATO, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

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