A WAY FORWARD
The strategy for the FINDEF was first to create an enabling ICT structure that would provide leverage to process rethinking and integration. The third phase was to build new capabilities required in National Defence. The sequential strategy was based on the understanding that strongly siloed ICT structure was preventing information and processes from integration. Further, there was understanding that without platforms to develop integrated processes and shared information environments, there were no gains achieved in developing asymmetric military effects illustrated in Figure 36.
By 2008, the first phase was achieved, and the description of enabling ICT structure as part of the defence system in Finland was described as a nationally defined service platform for common and joint processes. The technical structure included core network that connected data centres providing application and content services accessed via access networks. Tactical level field networks were connected to nation level structure via connection points.
Figure 36: Simplified model for improvement strategy for the Finnish Defence Forces 2004
This writing was focusing on the first phase - transforming the ICT structure so that it would enable further proceedings in developing common and joint functions of military affairs. The transformation of ICT structure in Finnish Defence Forces 2004 – 2008 was following basic lines of evolution in using ICT to support military strategic and operational functions as pictured in the following Figure 37. The evolutionary model for ICT application includes interrelated layers of Networking, Computing, Information Security and Information Management.
On 2004, the Finnish Defence Forces were using transport networks based on Synchronous Digital Hierarchy in connecting garrisons and command posts together. Computing and communications services were provided mainly within local areas and branches in each garrison. Each garrison created a local domain that was loosely connected to other garrisons enabling data sharing. Information security was based on ownership of physical and technical domains. It was trusted since it was operated and developed under each line command: North, East, West, Air and Navy. Connecting the trusted domains to other domains was untrusted. Unstructured official and unofficial digital information were produced in files created in various formats and stored in Folders managed mainly by individuals. For sharing of information, there were some shared Folders and disks accessible to carefully defined users. Most of the files were shared by intranet electronic mailing system between individuals.
Figure 37: The journey of the FINDEF 2004 – 2008 on the roads of evolution of Military ICT usage
The transformation accelerated the ICT structure to the level where networks were specified supporting more centralised computing and multichannel access. Computing was based on virtual infrastructure providing both distribution for survivability and flexibility for new requirements. Information security was based on a trust in systems as they were more controlled, end users were separated from services, and there was a structure for defence in depth built. The file oriented information management culture was gradually moving via page sharing to more real-time sharing culture of enterprise social media.
The transformed ICT structure enabled the major change of the Command structure of the Finnish Defence Forces. There remained only three commands: Land, Maritime and Air. The National University of Defence provided a level of academic knowledge and education needed in Force Production and specialised units directly under the Defence Staff were providing unified support to all Commands.
Defence Forces had taken its first step towards process supported matrix and virtual enterprise. The step was enabled by new ICT structure dividing Military Affairs into four domains of shared information: Tactical, Operational, Support and Public. The domains are described in Figure 38.
Figure 38: Information domains of the Finnish Defence Forces 2008
Tactical domain remained further divided into Intelligence, Sensor, Fires and Land Forces deployable field networks. OPNET provided a platform for nationwide military missions at operational and tactical levels. Tactical domains were connected to OPNET providing interoperability and coordination required in joint and combined operations between Services, Allies and other Governmental Agencies. HALNET and INET were connected in a way that enabled establishing the Force Production and Support in the more cost-effective manner by using example strategic partners for Logistics and Training.
The four domains provided Information Environment to further process development in all three military areas: Force Utilization, Production and Support. The ICT infrastructure enables information flow within the Defence Force but also between its key partners. A basis for more efficient National Defence value chain illustrated in Figure 39 was created. Further papers will explain proceedings at the process level and the development of Land Forces Tactical domain on their journey towards a new strategic basis for National Defence.
Figure 39: The 2008 platform created with ICT structure for developing essential capabilities in Military Affairs of Finland
This is the final paper in the series of eight (A - H) studies describing how the ICT structure of the Finnish Defence Forces was transformed before 2008.