The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and the United States Army Research Laboratory have selected the newly formed International Technology Alliance (ITA) in Network and Information Sciences—an IBM-led consortium—to undertake a research programme exploring advanced technology for secure wireless and sensor networks to support future coalition operations, over a potential 10 year period, with a value of up to $135.8 M.

Successful future military operations will depend on the capability of coalition forces to quickly gather, interpret and share battlefield information to coordinate actions, so the research will enable interoperability and communications across disparate military units, allowing them to operate more effectively.

This Alliance represents a new way of conducting collaborative research by fostering close partnerships among government, academic and industry researchers in both countries. The ITA creates a critical mass of private sector and government researchers focused on solving military technology challenges central to future coalition military operations; enabling staff rotations among all organisations in the Alliance; and facilitating rapid and affordable transition of technologies with an innovative transition model.

The ITA brings together leading US and UK commercial and academic organisations in four interconnected areas of research: network theory; security across a system of systems; sensor information processing and delivery; and distributed coalition planning and decision making. The programme will provide open collaborative research cutting across national, institutional and technical area boundaries, and, with 25 partners, is one of the world’s largest collaborative technology programmes.