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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 239-00
May 10, 2000

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON MULTI-FUNCTIONAL INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS SIGNED

Jacques Gansler, under secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics today signed the Multi functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Production and Logistics Support Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Department of Defense. The MIDS program is a shared effort between the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to cooperatively develop, produce, install and maintain interoperable and secure communications equipment in air, sea, and land platforms. This memorandum initiates the domestic and international production of the MIDS Low-Volume Terminals hardware.

Gansler noted that the MIDS program is an important milestone in the Department's efforts to promote opportunities for trans-Atlantic cooperation and to achieve true interoperability and security in the battlespace environment by combining common purpose with common equipment and communications.

"In the current and likely future geopolitical situation," said Gansler, "it is hard to imagine a military situation in which we will not be acting in a multinational coalition environment. In this situation, each nation's security becomes highly dependent on the ability and willingness of its coalition partners to act in concert when threatened by hostile forces. Interoperability of equipment is absolutely essential if we are to accomplish this goal.

"We cannot fight together if we can not communicate with each other. The signing of the MIDS MOU follows almost a year-long effort by the Department to examine technical challenges faced last Spring during coalition operations in Yugoslavia. As we recently witnessed in Kosovo, our (coalition) forces were unable to communicate securely. MIDS will help correct that deficiency," said Gansler.

The National Armaments Directors of the European participant countries are expected to sign the production memorandum in the near future.