Network Enabled Capability (NEC) has had many proponents over the last decade but it has also come in for its share of criticism. With UK forces engaged in classical counter insurgency (COIN) operations, which rely perhaps more on influence activities than tactical superiority, the need for expensive high-tech C4ISTAR equipment has been called into question. Despite this, a large number of the recent Urgent Operational Requirements have demanded equipment to improve force protection and communications, underlining the need for robust C4ISTAR equipment in theatre. There is therefore no doubt that this equipment remains vital to the day to day operations of our armed forces, regardless of the environment in which they take place.
The one question that lingers ominously on the NEC horizon is: "Can we afford it?" Despite assurances that NEC will not be affected by a shrinking defence budget and that inconsistencies in the EP will force cuts elsewhere, members of the community have expressed concern that the coherency of such a large project will be lost in the upcoming budget cuts.
This project will assess the health of NEC and ask whether it should continue in its current format or adapt to the new environment. A report will be published in September, ahead of the RUSI C4ISTAR conference.
For more information on how you can participate in this project, contact Elizabeth Quintana: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)207 747 4960