Bold Quest Promotes Coalition Interoperability
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2013 - Representatives from every U.S. military service and 11 other nations are taking part in a coalition capability demonstration designed to increase combat effectiveness and interoperability while minimizing the risk of fratricide.
Bold Quest 13.2, officially kicked off Sept. 2 at Camp Atterbury, Ind., with testing commencing earlier this week.
The Joint Staff-sponsored exercise includes about 800 participants from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command, as well as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, John Miller, joint operational manager for the exercise, told reporters yesterday.
In addition, members of NATO's Airborne Early Warning and Control program are taking part in the demonstration.
Bold Quest 13.2 is the latest in a unique problem-solving cooperative aimed at promoting interoperability and testing out systems and concepts to support the future force, Joint Force 2020. Warfighters, developers and analysts are working together at Camp Atterbury's Muscatuck Urban Training Complex, where they are testing not only their different technologies, but also their tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure they're interoperable, Miller explained.
Among the technologies being demonstrated are radios, tactical data links and network equipment used to support joint forces, joint terminal attack control, personnel recovery and other missions.
The demonstration provides a forum for participants to assess the integration of joint fires, maneuver and cyber in a live-virtual environment, Miller said. The lessons, he told reporters via teleconference, will help to enhance combat effectiveness, reduce fratricide and improve situational awareness.
"Our primary objective in Bold Quest 13.2 is to assess the interoperability and integration of integrated systems, both lethal and nonlethal," he said. "Bold Quest remains focused on the need to develop and assess tools that make warfighters more effective in engaging their targets within a coalition context."
The premise, Miller said, is that coalition members that operate together need to develop and test their capabilities together before they employ them in combat.
Bold Quest 13.2 is the eighth in the Bold Quest series, created in 2003 to provide realistic conditions for the services and international partners to test their combat identification systems and the techniques and procedures they use to engage them, he said.
Historically, Bold Quest has focused on ground-to-ground and air-to-ground initiatives. But Bold Quest 13.1, conducted in June, represented a new step in the demonstration's 10-year evolution. It focused for the first time on the air-to-air and surface-to-air combat domains, an effort to address gaps that could impact future operations, Miller said.
Miller said enthusiasm for the exercise, particularly during a period of budgetary constraints, reflects the effectiveness of Bold Quest as a collaborative technological test bed that informs all participating nations' acquisition processes.
"An event like this enables U.S. and coalition partners to collectively assess solutions and share information," he said. And because every service and participating nation brings its own aircraft, ground units, systems and other technologies to the exercise, they share the cost of the demonstration.
After Bold Quest 13.2 concludes Sept. 24, analysts will collect technical data on the systems and feedback from service members using them and compile it in a report to be released later this year.