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Cooperation is critical to the success of modern defense organizations. Even today, operations require a high degree of coordination across allied nations and their defense forces. As global threats evolve, the need for an integrated and coordinated response becomes increasingly vital. What helps ensure successful international cooperation? Interoperability. The ability to maneuver multinational tactical forces in a way that helps them achieve their objectives is crucial—and much of that relies on how fighting forces share intelligence, weaponry, and logistics support.

Technology advances that have improved the interoperability of forces in a conflict will be the focus of several upcoming discussions. We hope you will join us for the webinar, Enabling Interoperability in the Future Operating Environment. Set for April 28, 2022, at 4:00 PM Pacic Time, the event will show organizations that are interoperable can respond with agility, leveraging technology to collect, analyze, and disseminate massive amounts of data.  

Following that, our Defense and Intelligence team will be at June’s Eurosatory 2022 event to discuss ways in which we are working with militaries and other security forces to improve operations and protect national security. Since 1967, Eurosatory has brought together exhibitors and visitors from around the world and is a major forum for discussions about the evolution of defense and security issues. We encourage you to register now for this important and strikingly relevant event. Our commitment to this is based on five principles:

  1. Delivering a trusted and secure digital backbone built on secure cloud-enabled capabilities.
  2. Empower personnel and modernize facilities to better meet the needs of warfighters and their families.
  3. Transform the capability lifecycle to support the defense industrial base.
  4. Optimize decision advantages with data and AI that support readiness and mission effectiveness.
  5. Enhance interoperability to ensure secure data-sharing with partners and allies.

Enhance interoperability with collaboration

The key context is that today’s defense challenges exist at a scale, scope, and complexity that no military can meet alone. In addition, the pace of change is such that defense organizations—particularly those of the middle powers—are having to decide how they balance their investment in mass against the need to modernize.

This is driving closer ties and new relationships, such as the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) partnership of 2021, designed to strengthen credible deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and to assist in that mass versus modernization issue, through sharing of innovation and technology.

And it’s important to note that this alliance adds to, rather than sidelines, other agreements with a regional focus, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue involving India, the United States, Japan, and Australia. These new alliances drive a need for improved interoperability so that alliance members can respond quickly and effectively to regional instabilities, traditional warfare, cyber warfare, or warfare in space. Meanwhile older associations, such as the Five Eyes intelligence partnership involving the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia are being reinvigorated with additional requirements for interoperability at scale.

For instance, Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan dramatically shifts the focus of the Australian defense forces from largely defensive operations to one that is capable of deterrent, offensive operations. The revised plan acknowledges that regional coalitions will play an important role in any future conflicts, meaning that Australian forces will need to be ready to quickly share data and planning to better coordinate responses.

Similarly, the United States military is taking a fresh look at its strategic thinking, with a new commitment to empowering allies, integrating supply chains, and planning across military commands.

Our own contribution to this shift will be to leverage our heavy investment across multiple nations, as well as our team’s deep experience within defense and intelligence organizations. This gives us great insight into the benefits of interoperability, as well as how data can improve mission planning, logistical structures, and military training.

Technology for space

We’re also taking a hard look at the role space will play. Microsoft Azure Space was created to be the space-based platform of choice for the growing needs of the space community. We’re using it to give new power to cloud computing, create a thriving ecosystem of satellite providers, and discover new technologies to help the space community create new capabilities.

The creation of powerful space-based 5G networks will allow us to distribute data securely across a battlefield and link force headquarters to the combat edge via satellite. Tools such as the Microsoft Azure Stack Edge can analyze that data, then use today’s interoperability standards to knit together the space-based assets of allies.

Our upcoming webinar, Enabling Interoperability in the Future Operating Environment, and Eurosatory 2022 could not be more relevant or important. We’re looking forward to connecting with existing partners—and making new ones—during these valuable activities.