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As-Yet Undefined Technologies Will Define the Future Military

May 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Information systems will drive innovations in the force.

New information technologies may change the military to a greater degree than they have changed society at large, suggested a panel of chief technology officers (CTOs) at AFCEA’s three-day Joint Information Environment (JIE) Mission Partner Symposium being held in Baltimore May 12-14.

Patrick Burke, senior vice president and CTO for SRA International, said, “We are seeing things in the cyber market that will be revolutionary if not disruptive,” adding that the military needs to enable mobile technologies to take their place in the force. “We’re moving from exploratory technology into real operational technology. Technology is at the point where you will see real improvements in what we need to do.”

Stephen B. Alexander, senior vice president and CTO for Ciena, observed that applications-driven behavior is driving network development. Instead of adding hardware, engineers add apps to shape the network. This is leading to a major change in how engineers design, build and operate networks.

One key to success, according to Sam Ceccola, CTO for Federal HP, is to automate testing. This would include functional, performance and security testing. Alexander called for letting some people “break the current process” for innovation.

To pursue innovation, Burke suggested using social media as a collaborative tool. He noted a study that showed successful companies constantly innovated—they took advantage of their work force by treating them as customers instead of staffers. “Program managers were decision makers more than moderators,” he related.

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