Defence organisations concerned over inability to support disconnected operations

Line of Defence Magazine - Summer 2021/22

Disconnected operations
Disconnected operations is a nascent and growing field that is gaining more attention.

Recent research by IFS reveals growing concern among military and defence organisations around their ability to support increasing operations taking place in disconnected and limited bandwidth scenarios.

New research shows over half of respondents need better support for missions taking place in disconnected scenarios; many have concerns that software infrastructure is not keeping pace.

In mid-November, IFS, the global cloud enterprise applications company, shared research revealing that military operators and defence in-service support providers consider disconnected operations a priority to effectively assist missions that take place with minimal or no information system connectivity.

In a recent poll of military forces, in-service support providers and defence manufacturers, over two thirds agreed that the ability to operate in a disconnected, intermittent, and limited bandwidth (DIL) operational environment is essential to military operations.

When asked what aspect of disconnected operations require the most improvement, 54.5 percent of respondents highlighted the need to maintain a single version of truth and keeping an asset’s status in sync. This was followed by keeping consistent connectivity between a main operating base (MOB) and distributed forward operating bases (FOBs) at 23 percent.

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Yet the findings exposed a stark gap between the need to perform mission-critical operations in ‘dark-mode’ and the ability of existing software to facilitate asset information in disconnected settings. Around one fifth of the respondents believe their current software infrastructure is incapable of aggregating, consolidating and storing data in a disconnected setting, while also providing physical and software-based hardening against attack.

Respondents identified the three main driving forces behind the growth in disconnected operations. Unplanned connectivity interruptions ranked highest, cited by 41 percent of respondents, followed by planned instances of disconnected operations as part of the normal day-to-day business, and a shift to a more distributed operational model (both at 23 percent).

“These findings show that disconnected operations is a nascent and growing field that is gaining more attention from all types of defence organisations—from military operators through to in-service support providers and manufacturers themselves,” said Matt Medley, IFS Defence Manufacturing Industry Director.

“Re-syncing information such as engineering and maintenance data, technical records and more may sound simple, but this is a very difficult task to manage from a data architecture perspective. Supporting software must prove it is up the challenge to mitigate any outage and keep a single picture of the truth between operating bases during mission-critical disconnected operations.”

To learn more about the emerging trends in distributed operations listen to the IFS webinar at