NATO earmarks €2 billion investment in comms

04 March 2013 | Kavit Majithia


NATO, the global security and defence alliance, has told Capacity it has earmarked approximately €2 billion for communications contracts.

Potential tie-ups between the alliance and a range of undisclosed operators, ISPs and technology companies are likely to be inked in the next 18 months.

The alliance is significantly ramping up its interests in cyber security and radio communications after launching a new information agency in July last year.

Last month, the agency struck a deal with US network provider Level 3 to connect a range of its monitoring facilities and enable real-time display, including the observation of commercial airspace activities. The deal allows airspace transparency between NATO and Russia.

Michal Olejarnik, communications manager for Nato Communications & Information Agency, commented on the agency’s increased focus “on providing all telecoms and information technology, ranging from cyber defence to missile defence”.

He told Capacity: “NATO as an alliance is there to connect nations together. An essential part of that is increasing our partnership base with companies like Level 3. Even with defence projects for example, the communication element is essential and 50% of what NATO accounts for defence and communications initiatives.”

NATO’s airspace project was set up to counter issues such as the September 11 scenario, and its partnership with Level 3 will work to address the high intensity of traffic between the Russian and NATO airspace.

“Real-time communications is essential because the whole point of a system is to respond on a minute-by-minute basis after a hijacking for example,” said Olejarnik.

“The contract we are discussing provides a further connection to traffic control systems in Turkey, Poland and Norway.” NATO has already invited potential partners to submit proposals to bid for its newly issued contracts, which include initiatives in cyber defence, satellite communications, value-added services and missile defence.