Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

Op.Ed By Lenny “Rainbow” Ace

STM Selected to Develop Critical Software System

A Turkish defense company, STM Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş, has been selected to develop a critical software system that will be used in intelligence flows across all NATO facilities worldwide.
Turkey’s selection as the developer of a critical software system for NATO’s intelligence flows raises questions about the country’s role within the alliance.

The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) was responsible for the decision to award STM the contracts. The NCI Agency handles all the acquisition, deployment, and maintenance of communications and information systems for the alliance’s decision-makers and commanders. The two contracts were signed by STM and the NCI Agency after pre-award negotiations for the projects named Intelligence Functional Services (INTEL-FS 2) – Spiral 2 and BMD functions in INTEL-FS Backend Services (I2BE) and User Applications (I2UA).

Turkey’s Role within the Alliance

The selection of STM has raised concerns about the potential implications of having a Turkish company develop such a critical software system. Turkey is a member of NATO, but it seems to have privileged relations with Russia and other opponents of the alliance, and its interests do not always converge with those of other NATO members. For example, in Africa, Turkish mercenaries, along with Wagner’s Russians, often pursue interests that are diametrically opposed to those of other NATO members.

This raises questions about the compatibility of Turkey’s interests with those of the other NATO members and the potential risks of sensitive information being shared with countries that have opposing interests to the alliance. The decision to award STM these contracts highlights the challenges NATO faces in balancing the interests of its member countries and ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive information within the alliance.

CAATSA Sanctions: Potential Impact on Transactions with Russian Defense and Intelligence Sectors

One of the main considerations is the potential impact of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions, which target countries that have significant transactions with Russian defense and intelligence sectors.

Another consideration is the risk of a “home-grown big brother” scenario, where the Turkish government has access to sensitive information flows within NATO facilities. This raises questions about data privacy and security within the alliance and the potential for the information to be used for political purposes.

Conclusion: Could a More Trusted Economic Operator Have Developed the Technology?
Major Challenge for Alliance

Finally, it is worth asking whether there was no economic operator from a “more trusted” country that could have developed this technology.

Overall, the selection of STM for the development of this critical software system marks a major milestone for the Turkish defense industry and highlights the country’s capabilities in the field of software development. However, it also poses a major challenge for NATO in balancing Turkey’s weight and position within the alliance. With Turkey’s interests not always aligning with those of other NATO members, the alliance must navigate a delicate balance in ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive information while also taking into consideration the interests of its member countries.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author.
They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the AMeAR|News, R2iNTEL or its members.

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