IBM and Finnish Defense Forces Enlist SOA to Deliver the Future of Integrated Command and Control
ARMONK, NY .-IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it will team with the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) to develop a new industry framework for the defense and security industries which will help military and security organizations better integrate their command, control, communications and computing (C4) systems across different service branches.
This framework, which will address government network centric operations (NCO), will be powered by a service oriented architecture (SOA) that fully exploits the capabilities of Information on Demand to develop a more efficient use of existing operational resources based on real time information and the sharing of information across organizations thus ensuring flexible and interoperable, effect-based operations.
The FDF anticipates that the framework approach will make its C4 systems more flexible and adaptable by essentially disaggregating them, thus breaking down the organizational silos that have traditionally kept them apart. This will enable the FDF to abstract specific command and control applications into business services that can be rapidly reassembled and reused to address the specific needs of a campaign or operation as well as address the normal evolution of their “steady state” requirements. Most importantly, these reconstituted composite business services will be accessed by all branches in a network centric fashion, increasing agility, efficiency and interoperability.
In 2003, the FDF had C4 systems and sets of business processes that were each developed to support only one branch of the military. The FDF embarked on an ambitious plan called the Finnish Networked Enabled Defense (FiNED) program to transform Finland’s homeland security and crisis management organizations and infrastructure by employing SOA-based, network-enabled capabilities.
“We face the same challenge as most of today’s militaries; most of our current C4 systems are stove-piped systems to support Army, Navy or Air Force operations. We cannot afford to develop future systems on top of old systems by patching and bridging gaps and trying to maintain old technology. Technical, data, and application integration can take us only so far,” said Major General Markku Koli, FDF Chief of Operations and Chairman of the Network Centric Operations (NCO) Center of Excellence (CoE). “We have concluded that integration is the key in developing critical, mission-specific platforms and once you have the knowledge, skill sets, processes and partnerships you will see a rapid rise in adaptation and innovation.”
In 2005, FDF selected IBM as their technology partner and integrator to develop SOA-based solutions for the FiNED program. They expanded the relationship to include the European NCO CoE which opened in January 2006. The NCO CoE is now a focal point for developing and enhancing both military and civilian NCO practices, processes, and technologies.
Based on the success of this partnership, the FDF will now expand its relationship with IBM to help develop the government NCO framework. The new framework will support follow on phases of the FiNED program, and will incorporate elements from across the IBM software portfolio.
“Defining and developing these SOA-based frameworks in the market in collaboration with our clients and partners allows us to produce powerful, specialized offerings that are unmatched in the industry and that deliver tangible business results to our clients,” said John Soyring, vice president, IBM Solutions and Software. “The success of IBM’s industry frameworks clearly illustrates the importance of this industry specialization. Our top priority with the government NCO framework is to deliver greater value to our defense and security clients by combining the agility of an SOA environment with a proven and integrated industry framework focused on mission specific capabilities.”
At the core of the government NCO framework will be a pre-configured, pre-integrated set of software, hardware, documentation and best practices designed to deliver messaging, mediation, discovery, collaboration and enterprise service management. In addition to extracting value from existing enterprise applications, the new, open framework will take advantage of SOA to rapidly develop and deploy new, reusable services, integrate multiple enterprise systems and support industry business partner content, services and applications.
The framework will also feature industry specific components, templates and patterns to improve the integration of business processes. The NCO framework will be designed to address industry specific requirements such as security, high availability and interoperability required by the Ministries and Departments of Defense, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Defense Agency (EDA).
To truly gain value from business processes supported by SOA, defense and security clients need to ensure the same kind of integrity and scalability in their transactions, information, and interactions that they would expect from processes supported by traditional, tightly coupled systems. IBM has built this caliber of process integrity into the core of its SOA and business process management offerings, allowing defense and security clients to conduct reliable transactions in a secure, scalable SOA environment with seamless integration at every level.
IBM’s industry frameworks enable clients to improve time-to-value for critical projects by building on their existing infrastructures through standards-based, proven, industry-specific expertise. As a result of this integrated framework environment, defense and security clients will be able to drive innovation through best practices that are shared among an established ecosystem of SOA-validated IBM Business Partners.
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