2.2. Interoperability Profiles

15. Profiles define the specific use of standards at a service interoperability point (SIOP) in a given context. A SIOP is a reference point within an architecture where one or more service interfaces are physically or logically instantiated to allow systems delivering the same service using different protocols to interoperate. A SIOP serves as the focal point for service interoperability between interconnected systems, and may be logically located at any level within the components, and its detailed technical specification is contained within a service interface profile (SIP). Profiles support prerequisites for programmes or projects and enable interoperability implementation and testing.

16. Interoperability Profiles provide combinations of standards and (sub)profiles for different CIS and identify essential profile elements including:

  • Capability Requirements and other NAF architectural views

  • Characteristic protocols

  • Implementation options

  • Technical standards

  • Service Interoperability Points, and

  • The relationship with other profiles such as the system profile to which an application belongs.

17. The NISP now defines the obligation status of profiles and standards as "mandatory" or "candidate".

  • Mandatory: The application of standards or profiles is enforced for NATO common funded systems in planning, implementing and testing. Nations are required to use the NISP for developing capabilities that support NATO's missions (ie. NATO led operations, projects, programs, contracts and other related tasks). Nations are invited to do the same nationally to promote interoperabilty for federated systems and services.

  • Candidate: The application of a standard or profile shall only be used for the purpose of testing and programme / project planning. The standard or profile must have progressed to a stage in its life-cycle and is sufficiently mature and is expected to be approved by the standardization body in the foreseeable future. This implies, that from a planning perspective, the respective standard or profile is expected to become mandatory during execution of the programme. A candidate standard or profile should not stay in volume 3 for more than 3 years.

18. Profiles shall be updated if referenced standards change. Profiles are dynamic entities by nature. NATO captures this dynamic situation by updating profiles once a year in the NISP. Profile owners are responsible for the versioning of their profiles. Profile reviews are required every 2 years by their owners to ensure their accuracy and continued relevance.

19. Proposed profiles (and standards) can be accepted as candidates in order to follow their developments and to decide if they can be promoted to mandatory standards and profiles. In some cases proposed standards and profiles can be readily accepted directly as mandatory.

20. Interoperability Profiles can reference other Interoperability Profiles to allow for maximal reuse.

21. Further information and guidance on creation of profiles is available in Appendix A.