The C4 organisation in Finland made Bold Quest happen
The Combined Joint C4 Task Force operating under the Finnish Defence Forces C5 Agency has enabled the execution of the Bold Quest 19.1 event and provided the necessary support for the testing activities in cooperation with other participating nations. Experts in the C4 branch have been given new types of challenges and an opportunity to improve their know-how.
The Bold Quest 19.1 C4 organisation, the Combined Joint C4 Task Force, has built the infrastructure and facilities for the event’s command locations in Sodankylä, Rissala and Riihimäki. The work was done with the host-country support provided by the brigade-level units of the respective locations. In total, expressed in numbers, the building and support tasks were carried out for the needs of 14 countries and 2 200 users. The scope of the C4 system support task is best expressed by the fact that during the three-week building phase, command facilities were set up at the command locations with the installation of 350 work stations, 250 IP phones and about 200 network devices, and the laying of 35 km of optical fibre connections.
To enable the event, the Defence Forces C5 Agency has set up an encrypted connection and access network covering approximately ten locations across the territory. The network was set up on Suomen Turvallisuusverkko’s grid to which also the exercise detachments operating abroad have been connected.
The goals of the event include testing the technical interoperability of command and control systems. The systems and connections set up for the event were tested in two phases. In phase 1, the operation of the services produced multinationally underwent technical testing across national operating environments. Such multinationally produced and used services include, for example, email, video conferencing services and sharing of data and files. In phase 2, the testing came to include service users and the ISR and joint fires systems.
Bold Quest 19.1. has also provided Finland with an opportunity to develop its national cyber defence capability. The task of a cyber unit composed of Defence Forces’ salaried personnel and reservists has involved the monitoring of the BQ Mission Network and its security.
Bold Quest provided new challenges for C4 experts
The C4 branch experts who were involved with the exercise have learned a great deal or been able to deepen their know-how.
Henri Takkinen has participated in the exercise as an information network expert. His duties have included, for example, setting up fibre and copper cable connections, installing devices, server software and operating systems and testing the different functional areas made up.
In terms of learning, Takkinen thinks that the greatest thing has been to be able to delve into service production.
"I think it is extremely important to understand the whole picture of what it actually takes to produce a service for a user without compromising information security. I think that having been involved with the exercise has boosted my skills, so I will be better and faster, for example, at solving failure situations in my normal daily work", Takkinen says.
With his team, Jani Sinimaa who is in charge of audio and video services has planned, coordinated and provided instructions for the use of voice services in the exercise.
"An opportunity for networking and a spirit of "building this together" are among the best outcomes of the exercise".
Instructions as specific as possible have been given to make work in the field easier and faster. With regard to time schedules, this has been challenging at times, because the systems operated are new to all the parties involved, Sinimaa says.