Army lab hosts capstone event to celebrate successful alliance with UK partners

March 31, 2016

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

ADELPHI, Md. (March 30, 2016) -- The U.S. Army Research Laboratory recently hosted a capstone event that concluded the Network and Information Sciences International Technology Alliance, a landmark collaboration initiated by ARL and the U.K. Ministry of Defence in 2006.

This basic science program is one of the first examples of a U.S. and U.K collaborative research program under the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding established by the countries' governments to facilitate co-operation on defense research.

The collaboration, led by IBM Research out of the U.S. and IBM Emerging Technology based in the U.K., includes ARL, the U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and 24 premiere academic and industrial organizations from both countries that have deep expertise in the field of network and information sciences.

These organizations and universities include, but are not limited to, Imperial College, the Universities of Cambridge, Cardiff, Maryland, Massachusetts and California, Los Angeles, Honeywell and Roke Manor Research.

The NIS ITA was initiated with the strategic goal of producing fundamental advances in network and information sciences to enhance decision making for coalition operations. The emphasis was on research to enable rapid formation of ad hoc teams in a coalition environment, which can communicate and share assets and information securely and make knowledgeable decisions.

The goals of the NIS ITA included: to make advances in the fundamental science of coalition network and information science; to promote collaboration among U.S. and U.K. researchers across organizations and scientific disciplines; and to transition the outcomes for military and commercial exploitation.

"This landmark alliance has established a framework for international research collaboration through combining government, industry and academic communities," said Dr. John M. Pellegrino, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Strategic Integration), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy, & Environment), and former director, Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, and chief information officer for ARL.

"While other organizations have been very successful with collaborative endeavors leading to research and transition of science and technology, they do not compare to the depth and extent of the collaborative personal and technical bonds that have been made through the NIS ITA," Pellegrino said. "These bonds have led to not only new technical achievements, but new areas of research as well."

Taking into consideration the changing nature of military operations and the central role played by information, as well as the large, complex and interacting social and communication networks in operation today, the NIS ITA has made many advances in the state-of-the-art of coalition network and information science.

Researchers have broken new ground in the areas of network theory, security, distributed information processing and decision making, which are all vital to coalition military operations.

Pellegrino said that the technical achievements made possible by the NIS ITA have made a huge impact on the technical community. This is due in great part to the various viewpoints of the researchers, their dedication and desire to make something happen, and the excitement generated as the science and technology was developed and the new ways in which it could be exploited were discovered.

As the NIS ITA comes to a close, it is widely acknowledged that the relationships formed and the scientific advancements made will endure.

"Research, as it always does, gives us wonderful accomplishments and points to new directions," Pellegrino said. "The collaborations and relationships among the researchers will endure, as new ideas and new proposals are generated, as the science and technology develops. These things together will help us establish future collaborative programs."

Pellegrino added that the program has amplified the human connection, all while making great strides for our men and women in uniform.

"I have personally found this program to be rewarding, having watched the relationships and science develop in addition to a better understanding being gained as it pertains to the application of the science and technology for the Army and for the Solider," Pellegrino said. "We have a greater understanding of Soldier needs and have established the relationships and scientific paths forward needed to effectively address them."

The capstone event was held in ARL's newly opened Network Science Research Laboratory, where key NIS ITA research results and transitions were demonstrated to stakeholders from across the U.S. government.

"The new NSRL was designed specifically to enhance the collaborative relationships like the ones formed through the NIS ITA," Pellegrino said. "In this widely-shared space, researchers are able to bring their ideas and experiments to the table, plugging in and sharing without having to start from scratch."

According to Pellegrino, the NSRL and NIS ITA have enhanced ARL's research programs, as well as the Open Campus initiative, as it has brought together researchers from across multiple technical lanes to share and expand their knowledge and research projects.

In all, the future of ARL's advancement in the field of network and information sciences is bright. The bonds formed between the laboratory's researchers and their partners in the U.K. have not only expanded ARL's knowledge of the field, but have further solidified ARL as a premiere laboratory that transcends geographical bounds, reaching out in knowledge gathering and sharing to ensure that our warfighters are unmatched as they continue to fight for the protection of our country and our freedom.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is the nation's premier laboratory for land forces and is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it, or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.

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Last Update / Reviewed: March 31, 2016