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NATO ACT Office to do Crisis Communications out of ODU's Innovation Research Park

Maj. Gen. Kjell-Ove Skare, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and Old Dominion University acting President John R. Broderick cut the ribbon Thursday, Feb. 26, to open a new office designed to facilitate information sharing during times of crisis.

The Civil-Military Fusion Center and Civil-Military Overview (CFC/CMO), an office under the control of NATO's Allied Command Transformation headquarters, chose to locate in Old Dominion's Innovation Research Park (IRP) to foster collaboration with students in the Graduate Program in International Studies, further building upon the decade-long relationship between the university and NATO.

"Old Dominion University has enjoyed much collaboration with NATO ACT," said Broderick. "From NATO scholarships for Allied staff and family members, to our recently expanded ties in modeling and simulation, and now the opportunity to bring our students into the work of the fusion center represents another step forward in this important relationship."

The CFC/CMO "fusion center" is an effort to create an environment where information can flow freely between civilian and military personnel engaged in complex crises. As the concept of "need to know" expands into "need to share," this will promote enhanced information flow and reduce conflicts for crisis responders.

At Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, Maj. Gen. Skare said military and civilian collaboration is a priority for NATO.

"Facilitating cooperation between civilian and military groups is really how today's complex problems have to be solved," Skare said.

"It's one of the high priorities for ACT. We will continue to spend resources to make it happen."

Skare is off to Kabul next week to talk with NATO commanders in Afghanistan about making use of civilian resources such as CFC/CMO.

Its location on the ODU campus offers a new opportunity for collaboration, and relationships with the university's faculty and students in international studies and related disciplines.

"The CFC/CMO office's presence in Innovation Research Park @ ODU realizes the vision we had for IRP," said Thomas Osha, IRP president and CEO. "Bringing a world-renowned organization like NATO into collaboration with a forward-focused university like ODU, supported by the services and amenities of IRP, provides value and opportunity for all involved."

"It certainly is a win-win situation for both the Allied Command Transformation and Old Dominion," said Broderick.

The core staff of the center includes military officers, as well as former members of the United Nations and employees from reputable international and nongovernmental organizations such as Global Reach, the Pearson Peacekeeping Center and the International Organization for Migration.

To start, the office will have about eight employees. Once it is running at full capacity, organizers expect the staff to number close to 20, most of whom will be nonmilitary personnel.

This article was posted on: March 2, 2009

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