A new consortium, the International Technology Alliance, has been tapped to by both the United States Army Research Laboratory and United Kingdom Ministry of Defense to conduct a study to explore RFID and secure wireless technology that will support future collation operations.
The study, which could play out over a 10-year period and cost about $135.8 million—looks to better enable coalition forces to quickly gather, interpret and share battlefield information to coordinate actions, according to a Sept. 18 statement from IBM.
The goal of ITA, according to U.S. Army Chief Scientist Thomas Killion, is to focus innovation on the scientific enablers of net-centric warfare.
The group—led by IBM but including 25 trans-continental partners—brings together industry and academic groups in four areas of research: network theory; security across a system of systems; RFID information collection and processing; and distributed coalition planning and decision making.
The companies involved in the ITA consortium include IBM, BBN Technologies, the Boeing Company, Honeywell.
Applied Research Associates from the U.S. Companies based in the United Kingdom include IBM (again) LogicaCMG, Roke Manor Research and Systems Engineering and Assessment.
Participants from the U.S. academia field are Carnegie Mellon University, City University of New York, Columbia University, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Pennsylvania State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Consortium participants from the U.K,s world of academia include the University of Aberdeen, University of Cambridge, University of Cranfield, Imperial College of London, Royal Holloway, Bedford New College, University of Southampton, and University of York.
Governmental agencies from both sides of the pond include the U.S Army Research Laboratory and the U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory.
“[The alliance] will build a base of shared fundamental knowledge that will help to facilitate future coalition operations,” said Killion.
“Its clearly 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.”
This is not the first time U.S. and U.K. coalition forces have worked together on technology-based battlefield initiatives.
Back in 1994 the U.S. Department of Defense signed a contract with Savi Technology to build and maintain its In-Transit Visibility network—now the worlds largest RFID cargo track and trace system that stretches across 45 countries and 2000 locations.
In 2001, NATO became involved in modernizing its supply chain by building out its own ITV, and hooking into the U.S. network, as did the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense.
The fundamental research component of the consortium is funded by the Ministry of Defense, the U.S. Army and some of the Consortium members; separately funded “technology transition awards” will allow each member of the group to move fast on research results, IBM said.