Using Interoperability as an Effective Enabler of National Power

  • September 01, 2014
  • Mr. Jerome Jastrab

When conducting alliance or coalition operations, every nation sees interoperability as a desired force multiplier which enables economy of effort. Interoperability is also seen as a means to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of military and interagency operations in pursuit of national interests. However, there is not a common definition and understanding of the word itself, and there are many challenges. Additionally, interoperability occurs at the strategic, operational, and tactical level and covers the technical, doctrinal and human dimensions. Considering this multi-dimensional scope and the temporal nature of gains, a complete and absolute state of interoperability is not achievable. Therefore, in an environment of constrained resources, the Department of Defense must reconsider its approach. This paper recommends Department of Defense adopt an integrated team approach to interoperability and prioritize its efforts and resources on US allies and friendly nations with shared national interests. Subsequently, key staff leads and combatant commanders must play a much greater role in determining interoperability goals and objectives, and optimizing the results for the resources invested.