Concise and accurate interface standards are critical to the achievement of interoperability and must reflect the data exchange capabilities required by policy and doctrine.
Inevitably all interface standards will require modification as policy, doctrine, and capabilities change in response to new operational circumstances and advances in technology. The standards are very complex and change must be carried out in a controlled manner to ensure that they remain complete, correct, and consistent.
The USA has always been at the forefront of the development of Tactical Data Link (TDL) capability. Many of the TDLs developed by the USA have been made available to NATO where they are subject to established and agreed management processes that ensure the standards reflect agreed NATO interoperability needs. NATO TDL standards agreements are controlled and managed by the NATO TDL Capability Team (CaT).
Some members of the international community have been given access to USA TDL standards that remain under the control of the USA and participation in the management processes by international users is often not available. However, it may be possible to influence the development of these standards by request that changes be made.
Established management processes exist for most Tactical Data Link (TDL) standards (e.g. the processes controlled by the NATO TDL Capability Team (CaT)). However, traditional standards management methods rely on personal knowledge and resource-intensive practices and thus result in expensive, nodal systems.
We provide extensive assistance in standards management. The following are examples of work we have conducted for the UK MOD:
•Creation and maintenance of the UK VMF standards suite, itself based on USA-controlled TDL standards.
•Observed and participated in the configuration management processes for the VMF capability.
•Maintained the TDL CaT standards for which the UK is custodian.
•Assisted in the development of UK national TDL configuration management processes.
•Ongoing active participation in the UK multi-link configuration management process as platform technical support.
Our experience in configuration management systems at the national and international level, combined with our SPIRIT tool, has enabled us to automate the TDL configuration management process, reducing both cost and risk as compared with existing manual methods.