The CFBLNet is a laboratory environment which utilizes a distributed Wide Area Network (WAN) as the vehicle to experiment with new capabilities by conducting Research and Development, Trials and Assessment (RDT&A) Initiatives. The CFBLNet consists of a distributed and integrated network architecture of Combined, Joint, and Service infrastructure components (networks, database servers, application servers, client workstations, etc.). These strings of network equipment and services are located within the confines of the various national and international battle laboratories and experimentation sites of the participants, which provide the applications, analytic tools, and communications necessary to conduct Initiatives. The participants are bound by a formal Technical Agreement (or charter) which includes:
The U.S. DoD Joint Chiefs of Staff/J6X, serving as chair in the Governance Structure and representing the United States as an independent entity.
The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency, on behalf of the NATO C3 Board, representing NATO's 29 member nations (minus the native English-speaking nations; Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States, as noted above).
The CFBLNet grew out the network designed to support the U.S. Joint Warfighter Interoperability Demonstrations (JWID), which used to build a support network for the period of the demonstrations and tear it down each year after the demonstrations. In 1999, the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) exercise used, for the first time, a permanent infrastructure that became what is now called the Combined Federated Battle Laboratories Network (CFBLNet), as established by the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Board (NC3B) in 2001.
No single nation owns the CFBLNet infrastructure; each member nation is responsible for the funding and maintenance of its own systems and CFBL network segments, which hook into the backbone at a defined Point-of-Presence (POP). All CFBLNet members must respect the sovereignty and intellectual property of the other nations. Also, each country is responsible for funding its own experiments. The US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Multi-National Information Sharing (MNIS) in Fort Meade, Maryland (US) maintains day-to-day control of the network and coordinates activities on the network.
The U.S. CFBLNet infrastructure is extensive and reaches to international demarcation points for the Southern Hemisphere and Europe. Nations and organizations within nations which are not a part of the Technical Agreement must be sponsored by a charter member to sponsor Initiatives and to connect to the CFBLNet.