APRIL 12, 2016, BULERVILLE, Ind. – Interoperability. That is the buzzword for Bold Quest, a coalition demonstration sponsored twice yearly by the Joint Staff at the Department of Defense.
The demonstration seeks to create the means to improve communication and information sharing across a wide variety of coalition networks and resources. Deputy Director of Cyber and C4 Integration for Joint Staff Stuart Whitehead is one of the individuals in charge of ensuring that the exercise creates the atmosphere necessary to run tests.
“Depending on what the topic is, nations will make recommendations on what objectives they want to achieve during Bold Quest,” Whitehead explains. “We’ll actually design the environment to allow us to work together to solve those interoperability issues.”
During the Bold Quest Distinguished Visitor’s Day, April 6, visitors from Sweden, France, Spain, Poland and Finland, saw first-hand what Bold Quest had achieved at the Atterbury-Muscatatuck Complex. From equipment testing between air assets while still on the ground to air-to-ground communication problems, new technologies and, in some cases, old technologies used in a new way are being put into play in order to allow forces to communicate where they couldn’t before.
For the first time, Bold Quest aligned with an Indiana National Guard sponsored coalition exercise called Iron Express which allowed the seamless integration of ground troops from coalition countries with Indiana Guard Soldiers performing full-mission profiles along with air support from the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing flying A-10’s from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Using coalition-wide technology, a coalition unit making their way to an objective will have the ability to coordinate and communicate with other allied units or aircraft in the area and vice-versa. That coalition coordination could mean the difference between life and death during split-second decisions in the field for these Soldiers.
“It’s impressive to see all of the interoperability, all of the small things, to get those together,” said Lt. Gen. Anders Silwer, Chief of Swedish Armed Forces Training and Development. “When I see them working together, I know that it most likely will happen for the pilots or for the ground troops.”
Fifteen countries and NATO Headquarters participated in the Bold Quest exercise alongside Soldiers, Airmen and air assets from the Indiana National Guard, giving the Guardsmen an unparalleled chance to train alongside forces from around the world. Coupled with the one-of-a-kind training space offered at the Atterbury-Muscatatuck Complex, Bold Quest has come back to the facilities four times and wants to continue.
“The venue is excellent, the support we get here is first rate, our ability to get the air-space necessary for our actions is really the best,” Whitehead continued. “Just as our own activities continue to evolve, you do the same thing in terms of the resources and facilities here and that’s what makes us keep coming back because it’s the right place to do the things that we need to do.”