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Centerprise International design and deliver a low-risk deployable infrastructure for NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

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Background

Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) provides NATO with a well-manned, rapidly deployable, flexible HQ that can act as a Joint, Land or Corps HQ for operations and crisis response. Its European, multi-national ethos, combination of cultures and innovation, strong professional reputation in NATO and proven track record in interoperability are unique.  Today, the ARRC is the UK’s largest deployable Land HQ.

NATO ARRC is a highly capable operational headquarters, ready for rapid deployment worldwide within five to thirty days, with dedicated and integrated support to sustain and protect the HQ once deployed.

Challenge

NATO ARRC required a low risk, reliable IT infrastructure because the original solution wasn’t virtualised and lacked agility. In addition, the legacy equipment was no longer supported.  Collaborative infrastructures need to be developed and deployed rapidly to form a single unified and focused team from the diverse parties involved in evolving operations; this creates a significant challenge for Command and Control. Any undertaking must be co-ordinated between complex and diverse groups across divisional, service and multi-national boundaries.

Team building is often hindered by the combined weight and logistics support chain of multiple interoperating systems.  The protection of mission, group or nationally caveated material was paramount, meaning an agile approach to design and support was essential.

Why Centerprise?

As an agile, forward-thinking company, Centerprise International (CI) respond quickly to the ever-changing demands presented by the Ministry of Defence.  Having been a supplier to the MOD for nearly thirty years, CI have built a long-lasting relationship based on mutual trust and confidence, helping to deliver innovative solutions that solve mission-critical problems.

Every aspect of CI’s IT solutions is fully tested and relates back to the challenges faced by those providing defence and security services.

The solution at work

Working in collaboration with NATO ARRC and other military users to meet NATO and Mission standards, Ci designed and delivered a Point of Presence (PoP) virtualised server environment that met the evolving challenges of current and future multi-national, multi-organisational operations. It is approved to operate from both technical and security authorities at Supreme Headquarter Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and is in active use in SHAPE and mission networks. The Mission element has current approvals to operate with a number of nations and mission networks, managed by ARRC G6.

The system is adaptable by design to tether and provide similar services away from the UK-NATO domain, enabling uptake of the system separately from the NATO ARRC implementation by other organisational units. Security domains can be added or removed, expanded or reduced as required, to meet the needs of the mission.

The IT solution can support a wide range of applications centrally or locally. It creates a single low-risk infrastructure that can be deployed to all of these users, enabling complex coalitions of nations and organisations to remain focused on the mission goal. This is accomplished through a team-centric, un-encumbered, collaborative environment for Command and Control.




The system is designed with consideration to unique constraints around Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) due to the operational environment.  It can be effectively moulded to the needs of the situation or coalition, and scales to meet evolving needs. The overall hardware build is significantly smaller, lighter and more efficient than heavier, independent systems.

Multiple security domains can be created and scaled independently. Each security domain can be provisioned with a fully integrated platform with laptop, IP telephony and video teleconferencing.  They can also work with email, chat, Sharepoint and mobile services incorporating local servers to reduce or remove reliance on back-end communications.

Ci provided on-site training on the new infrastructure, as well as dedicated support staff including helpdesk facilities.

Results

Due to the efficient design of the solution, NATO ARRC have made considerable savings in both physical footprint, as well as transport weight and fuel costs.  They have also reduced their support and maintenance costs.  The scalable nature of the infrastructure means that it will have great flexibility and interoperability with future systems.

“Centerprise have been agile and flexible in their approach, providing excellent engineering design support, coupled with pragmatic and competent technical practitioners.  They have supported me superbly throughout, including their outstanding back office team.”

– Lt Col J R Knight MBE - Commanding Officer, NATO ARRCl

Further enhancements include NATO applications (Command & Control, Mapping, Logistics) hosting and Intelligence (Image Reference Library, Shared Intel Databases & Fusion, Biometrics databases) packages.

“If I were to sum up my relationship with Centerprise, it would be to say that they have truly been part of my team, from start to finish.”

– Lt Col J R Knight MBE -  Commanding Officer, NATO ARRC

Future plans

The ARRC PoP approach was also implemented for the MAGPIE and JACKDAW projects, and Ci look forward to working with Joint Force Command (JFC) as these systems converge into the New Style of IT (NSoIT) Deployed system.  Within a given deployment, the primary objective is to allow the UK to choose who they share information with (be it two or more partners at the same time), using a single system. This is known as a “Mission Configurable” Information System.

As a long-standing supplier to the MOD, Centerprise have proven time and time again that they are a partner for the long-term.



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