The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar has highlighted the importance of Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies in modern-day military operations. He also noted that the ability of the NAF to harness the power of technology will determine its success in ensuring the highest levels of operational effectiveness and efficiency. According to him “a deep focus on artificial intelligence can revolutionize how we process data, analyze information, and make informed decisions in real-time, thereby giving us the edge we need to excel in theatres of operations around the country”. Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar made this assertion during the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Communications Information Systems (CIS) Conference held at NAF Headquarters today, 8 November 2023. He went on to note that for the NAF to ensure the security of its communications, it must seek out ways to improve its investment in state-of-the-art encryption and cybersecurity measures. On the theme of the Conference which is, ‘Exploiting Emerging CIS Technologies for an Agile and Resilient NAF to Effectively Meet National Security Imperatives’, the CAS noted that it aligned with his Command Philosophy, which is ‘to transform the NAF into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the airpower demands of national security in all operational environments.’ He also called for deliberations to be guided by the theme in order to come up with innovative solutions. He went on to state that positioning the NAF to meet the airpower demands of national security is critically hinged on NAF’s ability to monitor Nigeria’s airspace through the implementation of military total radar coverage of Nigeria.
Air Marshal Abubakar stressed the essential role of CIS in enabling commanders to make informed decisions, coordinate forces and ultimately achieve mission objectives. He then underlined NAF's commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements, aligning with one of the key enablers of his Command Philosophy's of "prioritizing R&D, leveraging cutting-edge technology, strategic partnerships, and lessons learned." He added that the Conference underscores the NAF's dedication to staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of modern warfare through the effective use of emerging CIS technologies. According to the CAS, the presence of experienced senior officers as resource persons underscored the conference's significance and went on to encourage participants to see the forum as an opportunity to positively impact NAF's capabilities.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Communication and Information Systems (CCIS), Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola noted that the 2-day Conference aimed at exploring innovative CIS that would enhance NAF's operational capabilities in addressing pressing national security imperatives. According to him, the theme of the Conference was carefully selected after diligent consideration of the daunting security challenges bedevilling the nation and bearing in mind that the resolution of these challenges requires innovative solutions. He went on to stress the importance of evolving novel CIS technologies in the prosecution of military operations on land, sea, air or cyberspace environments. He also added that the core derivative of the Conference was geared towards improving the capacity of CIS personnel as well as reinvigorating CIS-based procedures with a view to enhancing NAF operational effectiveness. The CCIS also listed some achievements recorded by the CIS Branch in recent times including the receipt of approval for the establishment of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems Maintenance Workshop at 441 CIS Group Kaduna as well as successfully midwifing the implementation of the NAF Digital Correspondence System in NAF headquarters for efficient handling of correspondences.
The 2-day Conference serves as a platform for CIS practitioners and stakeholders to discuss critical issues, seeking to enhance operational effectiveness and future CIS practices. Some of the stakeholders represented at the conference include the National Information Technology Development Agency, National Space Research & Development Agency, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd and Nigerian Communications Commission. Present at the Conference were branch chiefs from Defence and service headquarters, commandants of tri-service institutions and CIS professionals from all NAF units.