Auteur : Maximilian Voß; photos: Michael Gundelach, Laura Clayborn
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Today, the Commandant of the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr, Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, and the BWI IT regions manager, Dr. Adrian Overberg, signed a concept on the further development of the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie in Hamburg. This concept covers many aspects: First of all, it includes the results of a report on all IT systems currently used at the institution. Furthermore, it describes specific solutions tailored to the needs of the Führungsakademie and lays out the path towards possible adaptations of the BWI IT services. As Stawitzki puts it: "Now we are gathering at the starting line to embark on this journey together." The signing of the concept symbolizes the kick-off for the next stage of the project. Based on this document, the next step is to get down to detailed planning: How can our partners achieve their goals? How can they continue to adapt the capabilities required by the Führungsakademie to the challenges of the future?
Objective: To become the avant-garde of the Bundeswehr
During her visit to the Führungsakademie in November, the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, stated: "I want the Führungsakademie to evolve further." She added: "Among other things, good teaching is a question of technology." For this reason, the Führungsakademie should be the avant-garde of the Bundeswehr in terms of digitalization, e-learning and correspondence courses. "And if there are any obstacles in terms of technical or structural infrastructure, well, they are there to be overcome," the Minister demanded. Even before that, the German Joint Support Service Headquarters had initiated a further development program for the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie, triggering the local IT team to prepare a concept for a sustainable solution.
A special status
At present, the Führungsakademie with its own individual IT landscape enjoys a special status among the German armed forces. Within the Bundeswehr, the institution is an "IT island" that is not yet fully serviced by the Bundeswehr Information Technology (BWI) network, the Bundeswehr's central IT service provider. Due to its special status as an international military teaching institution, the Führungsakademie so far has been operating an independent IT network. The entire IT equipment is managed by highly qualified IT personnel. These IT experts are also responsible for user support and for managing the IT services for the whole facility. In due course, additional IT services from the HERKULES project providing the entire office communication for the Bundeswehr are to be used at the Führungsakademie. To this end, in cooperation with the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support and with the BWI IT, the local IT experts have conducted a comprehensive inventory of the existing IT systems.
New solutions – not only in Hamburg
Moreover, with the Interoperable Cloud Computing (IOCC) study, the BWI has been tasked to evaluate the possibilities arising from cloud computing with regard to potential applications in the armed forces. IOCC would allow military and civilian employees to access and work with data and programs from any location. The further development of the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie provides a good opportunity to try out the use of cloud computing in this environment. This way, the Führungsakademie could become a cloud computing pioneer in the German armed forces and maybe also an example for other Bundeswehr agencies, able to provide them with advice and support in similar projects together with the BWI IT. Before that, however, the necessary technical, economic and organizational prerequisites must be created.
The jointly prepared concept takes into account the particular conditions required by the teaching activities conducted at the Führungsakademie and aims at preparing the entire IT landscape for the challenges of the future. Networking is a key aspect in this context – networking beyond national borders with other armed forces and allies. "Certain things at the Führungsakademie are simply different. Training senior national and international officers makes special demands on us that cannot be compared with other Bundeswehr schools and training institutions," Stawitzki explained. "Therefore, we must identify what exactly the IT user needs."
A clear objective in mind
The aim pursued by further developing the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie is to provide all its members with IT services such as telephones, computers and servers in accordance with their missions and requirements. The provided equipment is to be up-to-date and sufficiently high-performing to comply with the requirements derived from the IT strategy of the Federal Ministry of Defence and its agenda "The Bundeswehr Leads the Way – An Active, Attractive Alternative".
Prepared for everything
At the same time, a risk management system is to be implemented to a necessary degree in order to guarantee IT security without sacrificing flexibility with regard to the provision of IT services. In different workshops, representatives of the parties involved will work towards drawing up a plan on how to put all of this into practice. Rear Admiral Stawitzki urges: "We must link up more closely and lend an ear to each other's concerns. This is the only way we can succeed in identifying the requirements of the future and provide the necessary resources such as material, personnel and training to meet them in a sustainable manner."