An international consortium of 28 defense-oriented companies hopes to develop standards for a network-centric framework that allows a variety of communications and information systems and sensors to interact on a global scale.
The nonprofit Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC), formally unveiled Tuesday, envisions an infrastructure that offers improved communications, interoperability and IT systems for the military.
The consortium plans to recommend the underlying standards and architectural approach that systems and platform developers can follow to enable any platform, system or application to work in a global network environment.
"The importance of this consortium lies in its ability to provide a unified approach that integrates everything through the last mile," Paul Kaminski, chairman of the NCOIC Advisory Council, said in a statement. "We've seen the power of the network grow by quantum leaps in the last decade, but we've been impeded by the lack of a common approach that enables our systems to network together as one. The deliverables and procedures from this consortium will provide tremendous capability enhancements to the (U.S.) Department of Defense, to other government agencies and to our allies."
Kaminski is a former undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and technology.
"Today marks the beginning of an unprecedented collaboration," Carl O'Berry, chairman of the executive council of the NCOIC, said in a statement. "We've assembled the brightest minds from some of the most innovative companies in the world to bring their insight, technology and customer requirements forward. I believe that we are on the cusp of profoundly changing the way we use network technology today, in both the military and commercial marketplaces."
The move follows customer requests that industry assume a more prominent role in achieving network-centric capabilities.
Founding members of the NCOIC include BAE Systems, The Boeing Co, Carrillo Business Technologies, Cisco Systems, EMC, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, General Dynamics, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell International, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Oracle, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins, Smiths Aerospace and Sun Microsystems. The San Francisco-based Open Group, a vendor-neutral standards organization, is acting as the management company for the NCOIC.
A spokeswoman for the group couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement of the new consortium comes one week after Boeing and IBM created an alliance to better position themselves to win future U.S. government IT contracts in the estimated US$200 billion market for ground- and space-based systems.