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Activity title

Defence Implications of Cloud Computing at Tactical Edge

Activity Reference



Information Systems Technology

Security Classification



Awaiting Publication

Activity type


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Architecture, Cloud Computing, Communications, Policy, Security, Tactical


Vast amount of data are now exchanged and processed daily over the Internet/Cloud. As the civilian sector is reaping immense benefits from this paradigm, the military must continue to exploit the opportunities it presents and investigate its challenges. More than ever this capability needs to be brought to the tactical edge to support commanders who face increasingly complex scenarios. Of particular interest are advances in mobile technology and cloud computing which offer real opportunities to bridge the strategic to tactical edge down to the soldier. Several challenges exist as we consider the divide between mobile capability and cloud capabilities along the compute, memory, storage and latency axes, as well as the challenges of novel architectural concepts.


Over the last few years, several militaries have explored or exploited the use of cloud computing services at the tactical edge. This activity will bring specialists from a number of relevant areas to share their experience and vision. The intent is to inform nations and NATO about recent advances/experiences and identify S&T challenges that should be undertaken by nations or NATO.


- Functionality - Operators need to envision applications to support commanders and soldiers. From strategic to tactical HQs with consideration given to the requirement for interconnectivity and mobility. - Architecture - Addressing software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service, whether in a public, private or hybrid network. - Communications - Addressing how evolving comms can best support cloud features in a challenging tactical environment where reliability and location-sensitivity impact data rate/latency/storage. - Security - Addressing requirements for multi-level security as well as interdependencies between nodes, whether an individual, a sensor or a compute node. - Policy - Addressing legal issues on the use of private/public clouds, data sharing and interoperability, as well as time criticalness associated with decision making as more automation is considered. - Technology barriers & breakthroughs - What to expect in 2020 or 2040 in terms of compute-capability (near infinite in the cloud), storage-capability (with big data apps), communication-capability (ubiquitous), power requirements (and the capacity of a soldier/squad/vehicle/camp), human interfaces and the augmentation of cognitive abilities, etc.

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