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Conference programme released

The Ministry of Defence currently has over 230 Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) in progress - costing approximately £1.4 billion – to meet the needs of frontline forces. Many of these projects are communications or force protection-related, highlighting the vital role that C4ISTAR equipment plays in theatre. With large numbers of troops committed for the mid-term to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the importance of effective integration of these new assets and associated investment across all lines of development will prove vital to success in these theatres.

This year’s conference will look at the achievements of the last twelve months and the continuing operational requirements for C4ISTAR equipment over the next five years.

Speakers include

  • Air Vice Marshal Stu Butler RAF
    Capability Manager (Information Superiority), Ministry of Defence, UK
  • Major-General John G Rose MBE
    Director, General Intelligence Collection, Ministry of Defence, UK
  • Rear Admiral Chris Parry CBE
    Director General, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, Ministry of Defence, UK
  • Brigadier-General David A. Fraser OMM MSC MSM CD
    Commandant, Canadian Forces College and former Commander Multi National Brigade (Regional Command South), NATO
  • Brigadier-General Nickolas Justice US Army
    Program Executive Officer Command, Control and Communications Tactical, United States Army
  • Pam Price
    General Manager, The Rapid Prototyping, Development and Evaluation Program, Department of Defence, Australia
  • Lieutenant-General Andrew Figgures CBE
    Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Equipment Capability), Ministry of Defence UK will be speaking at the Conference Dinner.

C4ISTAR in Theatre

The conference will begin with a frank examination of the environment that UK troops operate in, highlighting the various ways equipment and processes are proving successful and identifying areas which require further work or investment. These presentations will be complemented by briefs given by allied commanders working alongside British forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. These speakers will draw attention to problems experienced by their own forces in the same environments and will give a view on the capabilities of and their ability to interoperate with British forces.

Enhancing Capability the ‘Soft’ Way

The introduction of Through Life Capability Management (TLCM) has re-emphasized the need for balance across all lines of development. Restrictions on funds for future programmes has forced the Ministry of Defence to question whether specific gaps in capability should be address by new equipment or whether money would be better spent through investment in other areas.

Three areas are in particular need of attention today: personnel, training and information.

With regards to personnel, there is an urgent need for specialists to operate new equipment, process large amounts of information and increase the effectiveness of influence operations in unfamiliar cultural landscapes. Budget raiding and project cost overruns have been responsible for diminished training opportunities and these opportunities have been further eroded by the high tempo of operations, particularly in the Army and Air Force. In the C4ISTAR sector where technology plays such a fundamental role, the quality of training will determine whether or not the equipment is properly employed, or is even used at all on operations. Investment in this sector is therefore key to ensuring that the millions spent on new equipment is not thrown away. Certainly, more could be done to help train forces currently on operation, whether it is through improved documentation, online training packages or deployed instructors.

This conference will examine work undertaken by the three services to bridge this gap in understanding and the steps that industry can take to help enhance the training process.

Funding and Management of Future C4ISTAR Equipment

The Chancellor’s 2007 Budget has only made provision for a 0.6 per cent rise in Defence spending, which has exacerbated an existing crisis in the EP. Despite assurances that the C4ISTAR sector is relatively safe from potential cuts, key programmes such as DABINETT have already been pared back and senior officials admit that they will need to be ‘flexible’ with existing budgets. The introduction of TLCM has offered some hope and promises to reduce some of the risk in the future delivery of projects. Careful management of UORs has also provided welcome money to help speed along some existing C4ISTAR projects and introduce new products that would otherwise have remained unfunded. The likelihood of long term operations at least in Afghanistan may provide further opportunities to bring forward programmes, however, these initiatives will have to be weighed against the future investment needed to bring these new projects into the core EP.

The formation of DE&S will have an important role in the procurement and support of future C4ISTAR equipment and is likely to influence contracting models for future projects. Also of interest to the wider community is the role that the user will play in the support of new equipment. The relationship between the user and sponsor communities, particularly in the handover period four to five years after the equipment in-service date, is currently unclear.

The conference will explain new initiatives to stabilize the EP and will also investigate how DE&S will deliver and manage new capabilities.

For enquries regarding sponsorship of this event, please contact Elizabeth Quintana.

Event manager: Rachel Bowden, +44(0) 20 7747 2648

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