NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), with her 25 branches in Europe, North America and Asia, is part of NATO. NCI Agency provides the Alliance, and in particular NATO missions and operations, with networks, support and command and control technology.
West has been working for NATO since 1996. Most of the projects that we carry out for NATO are based on secondment, because most of these projects are confidential, and may only be carried out in the NCI Agency software lab. However, because we have the status of "NATO Cleared Facility", it sometimes happens that we carry out certain projects at our head-office in Delft.
The most recent project where West and NATO work together is the development and optimization of ANET. ANET is an open-source application that supports the mission to train, advise and support the government of Afghanistan. All contacts, communication and agreements between the parties involved are recorded and monitored in this system.
ANET (The Advisor Network) is an open source application that originally was developed by the "Defense Digital Service" and supported as a digital advisor network. The Defense Digital Service is a special unit of the American Defense, which supports NATO in optimizing their technical tools in Afghanistan. ANET supports the mission to train, advise and support the Afghan government. In ANET all contacts, communication and agreements are monitored between the advisers of the Afghan government and their contacts. For example, reports are kept and linked to the right authors, organizations and goals. This also simplifies relationship management between members of different organizations, such as NATO and the Afghan government.
The original version of ANET has been in use for a long time already. NATO provides an extensive inventory of requirements provided by users on the ground and higher level stakeholders. NATO asked West IT to contribute in this project and deliver features to further improve ANET. The overall team involved in ANET has different nationalities and expertise. West has an in-depth knowledge of the techniques that are used with ANET, so they fit in well with the work that needs to be performed.
The ANET project is one of the first projects of NATO were they choose to use for open source technology completely. The project therefore uses modern technologies such as Graphql and React for the front-end and a Java API for the back-end. The main goal of the project is to always set up a system that is as user-friendly as possible and that can withstand the many tasks and variety of users.
This project is being tackled on a large scale with the goal to further professionalize ANET. Serveral front end issues, the "look and feel" and the user-friendliness of ANET will be improved. Besides that, also the functions and reporting options will be expanded. And the new ANET will offer an extensive workflow functionality. At the back-end, the team of technical experts will focus on issues such as performance, speed and technical bugs. The user interface has already been completely renewed. The project is fully Agile (Scrum) and therefore it fits perfect with the Agile working method that we use at West.