From Data to Decision:
Technical, Operational and Human Challenges for C2

(Webex conference)

 

To maintain their operational superiority in contested physical, cyber and electromagnetic environments, the military have engaged in deep digital transformation processes. Data is the lifeblood of efficient decision-making in modern warfare: processed into  valuable information, it enables military commanders to take faster and enlightened decisions, leveraging a constantly updated vision of the battlefield. But a number of technical, operational and human challenges still face the use of data in Command and Control (C2) systems at the collection, processing, storage and transmission stages.

 

For its 4th edition, the Vauban Sessions will convene representatives from Armed Forces, NATO, the European Union, Ministries of Defence, and defence industries to discuss the importance of data in decision-making, its challenges, key enablers and likely evolutions. 

Tuesday 18th January 2022

Welcome address (10:30 - 11:00 AM)

 

Speakers

  • General (Ret.) Jean-Paul Paloméros, Senior Advisor, CEIS-Avisa Partners, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

  • Lieutenant General Pierre Gillet, Commander of the Rapid Reaction Corps - France (CRR-FR)

  • Lieutenant General Vincent Guionie, Commander of the Land Forces - France 

Session I - Data: fuelling 21st century command (11:00 - 12:45 PM)

Digital transformation has massively increased the amount of data collected from the battlefield, greatly improving commanders’ situational awareness and generating a significant operational advantage. Once processed into information, data can support C2 systems at different levels of the OODA loop, including threat anticipation, strategic environment analysis, manoeuvre planning and operation execution. Data-driven tools can represent a significant force multiplier, complementing human cognitive capacities  and shortening decision-making times. Armed Forces however face key technical, operational and human challenges to fully optimise the use of data in Command & Control. 

This session will tackle questions such as:

  • What is the difference between data and information in a military setting? 

  • What are the key technical, operational and human challenges to an optimised use of data in military C2?

  • How have military actors tackled these challenges, and how far can technology provide solutions?

Speakers

  • Lieutenant General Pierre Gillet, Commander of the Rapid Reaction Corps - France (CRR-FR)

  • Lieutenant General Vincent Guionie, Commander of the Land Forces - France 

  • Lieutenant-General Guglielmo Luigi Miglietta, Commander of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA)

  • Engineer-General (First Class) Nicolas Fournier Director General for Digital, Information and Communication Systems of the French Ministry of Defence.

  • James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges - NATO 

  • Mr. Bernard Clermont, Head of institutional relations and Programs Europe & NATO, John Cockerill

Wednesday 19th January 2022

Session II - An efficient and resilient C2: the role of communication and information systems and use of Cloud computing (10:00 - 12:30 PM)

 

Communication and information systems (CIS) are key to enabling the flow of raw and processed data, ensuring the smooth running of operations. Powerful, secure and resilient networks have become essential to the digital transformation of Armed forces, placing electronic warfare and cyber defence at the core of collaborative combat as a result. On the other hand, Cloud computing has become a crucial technology for the of Armed Forces, providing the military with access to a wider set of applications (analytics, intelligence) and functionalities (server storage, databases, networking) and improving the security of data, application and IT infrastructure. Ultimately, defence clouds aim to give soldiers the possibility to access information and communicate anywhere, at any time, and at decisive moments. In a cyber contested environment, the military must control their own networks through the development of softwares, mission command systems and applications. This process can be expensive and slow, and constantly evolving communication systems require prospective thinking on those elements which will need to be updated when designing the solution. The session will tackle the following questions: 

 

  • How can Armed Forces meet the needs of communication and computing to win future wars? 

  • What are the technical prerequisites for efficient and resilient CIS for C2 systems?

  • How can edge computing technologies support the organisation and conduct of operations? 

  • How can military chiefs and staff cope with the increase pace of information sharing?

Speakers:

  • Engineer-General (Second Class) Dominique Luzeaux, Director of the French Defence Digital Agency 

  • Marcel Scherrenburg, Command & Control expert in the NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (NATO C2COE)

  • Brigadier General Philippe Barthélémy, Deputy Head of the "Digital Strategy of the Armies" Division - (French Joint Staff)

  • Joe Baguley, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer EMEA - VMware

  • Brigadier General Séan White, Director  of Communications/ Information Systems & Cyber Defence - European Union Military Staff (EUMS)

  • Dr. Panagiotis Kikiras, Head of Unit Research and Technology, European Defence Agency

Session III - Decision support systems for C2: the way forward (16:00 - 18.00 PM)

Augmented C2 systems will keep increasing their speed of information analysis, enabling faster decision-making and an operational upper hand. Decision Support Systems (DSS) - computing programmes using collected and processes data to propose analysis and courses of actions - can be decisive factors on the battlefield if they properly reflect the complexity of operational realities. In addition, these tools must be technologically mature to ensure total reliability when deployed. To avoid any unknowns or biases, military commanders must be trained in and knowledgeable about the factors which feed the analysis, and the potential risks involved. As far as innovation in augmented intelligence is today driven by the civilian sector, Armed Forces must reflect on how they can turn techniques and concepts into military applications and use them to best advantage. 

This fourth session will tackle question such as: 

  • When and where are DSS the most beneficial to C2 systems?

  • What are the conditions to optimise their use for military leaders?

  • What are their limits for C2? 

Speakers:

  • Paul-Henry Cournède, Dean of Research, CentraleSupélec, Université de Paris-Saclay

  • Brigadier General Claude Chary, General Officer of the French Land Forces in charge of the digital and the coordination of innovation 

  • Colonel Michael Alcantara, Policy Officer Defence, Directorate General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS), European Commission

  • Camille Grand, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, NATO