Bold Quest 19.1 will enhance operational leadership
In Western armed forces, the interoperability of command and control processes and systems making joint operations possible has long been a central requirement for all development work. But technical systems keep being developed at a rapid pace, and operational procedures have to be reassessed and fine tuned constantly. Events such as Bold Quest provide an excellent opportunity for this.
During the course of Bold Quest 19.1, the Army will conduct research relating to command and control and headquarters’ operations as a part of brigade-level units’ regular combat and live fire exercises in Sodankylä and Rovajärvi. Headquarters at different command echelon levels and command locations will be involved in these events with the participation of a high number of troops and different weapon systems. In the testing event, Finnish personnel will be working at the headquarters of the organisation’s different command echelon levels and command locations in each Service.
Common leadership norms will be observed e.g. in the planning of targeting and fires, decision making and execution. To achieve fluent cooperation with international partners, Finland's national operational procedures and systems used for the generation of situation picture for command and control and combat purposes have to be interoperable with those of the partner countries.
Crisis management operations and other forms of international cooperation provide an opportunity to test C4 systems and operational procedures with partners cost- effectively. An event such as Bold Quest helps the Army define the functions to be required of systems and ensure the interoperability of systems to be acquired or developed.
– In the testing event, we will focus on improving our own procedures and ensuring the interoperability of our C4 system with those of foreign countries today and in the future, says Major Olli Koistinen from the Army Command.
Research aims at identifying areas to be developed
Leading a military operation includes entities such as the planning and execution of the operation and monitoring and assessment of the situation. Command and control activities require the existence information networks that are sure to work, safe and interoperable, and command and control systems which generate and maintain situation picture and integrate features including reconnaissance and fires into a consistent whole.
The international, multi-echelon organisation of Bold Quest 19.1 will enable the testing and improvement of interoperability in a complex environment. Finnish systems and operational procedures will get tested as a part of the event. A corresponding multi-dimensional and full-scale package could not be carried out in a conventional exercise at home.
– Finland will be able to leverage its observations for the improvement of its operations while sharing some of its know-how with partner countries. The basic solutions of our defence system attract the interest of our international partners. Consequently, the Finnish way of executing command including the procedures involved raise interest in nations participating in Bold Quest 19.1, Koistinen explains.
Carrying out research on headquarters’ operational procedures and command and control aims at identifying areas which require adjustments to be made to the Army’s operational leadership due to the development of technical systems. The research activities will focus on situation picture, joint fires and airspace control. The availability and interoperability of the systems will be verified by real user observations.
– For example, generation of situation picture and fires will be conducted by having command locations use the systems under testing the way they would be used in a real situation, Major Koistinen explains.
Each system has its own verification plan and assessment criteria as would any new system intended to be introduced into use.
– The command locations will participate in the assessment and verification of the systems as their real users. At the same time, we will make observations regarding the potential of these systems while looking out for areas requiring improvement in the work of the command locations and echelons in the chain of command, Koistinen adds.
The testing event will be of a sufficiently long duration, which will allow for technical calibration while checking procedures and making adjustments during the event.
– There will be Finnish testers, staff officers and troops at all levels of the organisation. This will enable us to acquire observations from different perspectives for developing our own operations, Koistinen says.
Organising Bold Quest 19.1 in Finland is a project that has taken over a year with the participation of great numbers of personnel from the Finnish Defence Forces and its partners. The all-encompassing, long-haul work put into organising it and the building and maintaining of systems and information networks ensure that Finland will get the best possible benefits.
The existing infrastucture and C4 networks have been improved for the event. At the same, it has provided us with deep system technological know-how. Organising the event will continue to contribute to the improvement of our readiness and capability long after the event itself will have ended, Koistinen emphasises.