Linda Newton is the deputy chief of staff for C4I, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
U.S. forces may be on the verge of a new era of connectivity, information sharing and individual empowerment-if immediate needs are addressed, both programmatically and technologically. That was the message delivered by Linda Newton, deputy chief of staff for C4I, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Newton outlined two scenarios-near future and distant future-in which effective networking and new information technologies empower individuals regardless of location.
Within five years, wireless devices may give warfighters the upper hand in the Global War on Terrorism. Biometric personal digital assistants would share situational awareness, and weapons would be network-centric enabled. Supply inventories in mobile forces would be inventoried constantly and resupplied on time to a force's exact location.
In 12 years, an individual network officer in a remote site on a faraway continent may receive an automatic network alarm that would allow that person to understand the network crisis immediately and remedy it from that site using a voice operated system.
These scenarios will require several advances, including a seamless network-a requirement stated by nearly every panelist and speaker at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2008-along with proactive network security, advanced network management and a single common operational picture for all forces, Newton said. The toughest problem may be unity of command, she added.