Diverse groups face similar issues of interoperability, technology and architecture.
Interoperability between service, state and federal agencies and coalition forces is vital to securing the Asia-Pacific region. Equally important is the implementation of information assurance measures to get information to the right place at the right time. And, a streamlined acquisition process is needed that delivers joint systems that adhere to standards and policy.
These three subjects—interoperability, information assurance and smart acquisition—were the dominant topics during TechNet Asia-Pacific 2002, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, in November. More than 3,000 representatives of the U.S. Defense Department, government and industry attended the 17th annual conference and exposition, which focused on the theme “Uniting and Securing the Pacific Through Technology.”
Adm. Thomas B. Fargo, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACCOM), set the tone for the three-day event with a challenge to industry to provide command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) tools that would allow him to do more with fewer people. “Help me to minimize the footprint without affecting our forward presence in Korea,” he stated.
More work is needed in the field of secure wireless technology. That message was received loud and clear by all who attended the technical briefing “Guerilla Wireless: Attack and Counter-Attack Strategies.” Brian Chee, associate director, Advanced Network Computing Laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa, warned that under most circumstances, once one passes the wireless access point, then that person is into the wireless local area network. Wireless technology is growing by leaps and bounds but is not a replacement for wired connections. Chee concluded with the recommendation to conduct a self-audit now and implement policy to mitigate risk. He also recommended a layered approach to securing the network.
“I need command and control on the move with en-route planning capability,” stated Maj. Gen. Eric T. Olson, USA, commanding general, 25th Infantry Division. Speaking at the keynote luncheon, Gen. Olson called for technical solutions in logistics to bring just enough to the right place at the right time. He emphasized that too much is not good. Today’s command posts are so large that they present a vulnerability, he warned. “The technology is great, but you need to get them to me smaller and more efficient,” he declared. Gen. Olson also expressed a need for more simulation training and a desire to bring the common operational picture out to the battlefield where the commander wants to be.
“We are our own worst enemy,” stated Maj. Gen. John A. Bradley, USAFR, deputy commander, Joint Task Force for Computer Network Operations. About 85 percent of network intrusion attempts are preventable. Organizations need to understand that within 23 minutes of adding a new computer to a network, it has been scanned. He said that the way ahead is configuration management with tools such as a scanner that could detect the need for a new patch and automatically install it. Gen. Bradley also called for improvements in wireless network security. “We need something with strong authentication, sound encryption and a range of around 300 meters in heavy vegetation,” he explained.
Panel moderator, Maj. Gen. Eugene C. Renzi, USA (Ret.), president, ManTech International Telecommunications and Information Systems Corporation, agreed and added that during the Vietnam conflict, U.S. forces were concerned only about jamming, not realizing the enemy was taking information from the airwaves. Brig. Gen. John R. Thomas, USMC, director for command, control, communications, and computers (C4), Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps, noted that too much time is spent pushing systems out to users. The acquisition process needs to be changed while ensuring that the systems are interoperable and seamless and feature plug-and-play modules. Gen. Thomas criticized leaders for not adhering to current standards and policies that address interoperability, thus compounding the problem. “To achieve ship-to-garrison plug and play, the Navy and Marines must have a combined architecture, and fielding must be synchronized,” Gen. Thomas concluded.
Rear Adm. Charles L. Munns, USN, director, Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), discussed how NMCI is adding additional security to U.S. Navy networks. The Navy is moving from the “wild wild west” to a planned community complete with rules, fences and guards as it migrates to NMCI, he stated.
Col. Thomas R. Logeman, USA, deputy director for C4 systems, J-62, commander, USPACOM, focused on multinational operations and the re-designed Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID). JWID 03 will concentrate on coalition operations testing, and its goals are to expand the coalition network, improve coalition interoperability and move toward development of real-time language translation tools.
Col. John R. Thomas, USA (Ret.), director, strategic programs–army, EMC Corporation, addressed the importance of integrating a disaster recovery solution into the enterprise. He cited alarming statistics that 43 percent of companies experiencing a major disaster never reopen, while an additional 29 percent close within two years and 50 percent that do not recover data within 10 business days never fully recover.
Kicking off the second day of events, Rear Adm. Ralph D. Utley, USCG, commander, 14th Coast Guard District, spoke of two U.S. Coast Guard projects designed to improve C3 along the coastline and modernize the aging fleet. Rescue 21 will replace 30-year-old technology with in-transit search plan transmission and up-to-date directional location capability. Project Deepwater will introduce three new classes of cutters, providing an improved C4 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture and common operational picture for interception operations (SIGNAL, December 2002, page 39).
“Hawaii is working to speak with one voice,” stated moderator Maj. Gen. Craig Whelden, USA, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), as he kicked off a panel discussion titled “Homeland Security: The Way Ahead.” The formation of the Department of Homeland Security is the largest government reorganization since 1947, pulling together 22 federal agencies and organizations in 50 states plus municipalities. The relationship with the Defense Department is not clearly defined, Gen. Whelden noted. William L. Carwile III, federal coordinating officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency, agreed, adding that resources are limited, and it is important to minimize duplication and overlap of mission responsibility while adding an increased focus and effectiveness.
“It’s a race against time to prepare for the next terrorist event,” stated Ed Texeira, vice director of civil defense, Hawaii. Texeira discussed his state’s three-year plan and touched on items he hoped to accomplish. These goals include updating critical infrastructure planning; identifying and protecting critical areas; providing special training and training equipment for urban search and rescue task forces; and establishing a virtual emergency response cell gaming and simulation facility.
Addressing the legal aspects of security, Elliot Enoki, first assistant U.S. attorney, Hawaii, explained that when terrorists are ready to die, traditional deterrents do not work. Civilians need to be aware and report suspicious activity to authorities to investigate.
James McDougall, deputy counterintelligence staff officer, commander, USPACOM, addressed the increased readiness for information sharing between law enforcement and military intelligence. But a balance must be struck, he noted, between intelligence sharing and the protection of the intelligence source. Kent Schneider, president, defense enterprises solutions, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, discussed industry’s trend of providing independent solutions that are not interoperable. Stating the need for clearly defined enterprise requirements, Schneider went on to say that combatant commands need the authority “with teeth” to enforce the standards.
Lt. Gen. Steven R. Polk, USAF, vice commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), emphasized the strategic importance of the Pacific Rim to the United States. The PACAF area of responsibility covers more than half the world’s surface, and 33 percent of U.S. trade is with Pacific Rim countries.
There are many seeds for instability in the region. North Korea continues to be the hot spot in the Pacific, and the United States continues to focus on it because of the size of its military force and its nuclear capability. In addition, terrorism is gaining a foothold in the Pacific, and the United States must combat this serious threat. “PACAF has joined the war on terrorism,” he assured, “and is playing an important role.”
Brig. Gen. Loyd S. Utterbaugh, USAF, deputy director of strategic plans and policy, USPACOM, moderated the “Uniting the Pacific to Maintain Security” panel. Emphasizing the need for thinking beyond the realm of military solutions, Gen. Utterbaugh noted that the mission in the Pacific goes well beyond traditional warfighting. Promoting security and peaceful development in the Pacific region is now a primary mission. As an example, he said, people in Bangladesh are doing their own humanitarian assistance training based on what they received from the United States.
To further nonmilitary solutions, USPACOM has a “toolbox” that includes seminars, exercises and humanitarian assistance. It also has communications linkages such as the Joint Task Force Wide Area Relay Network, known as JTFWARNET, which was tested in the cobra gold exercise; COWAN, a secure bilateral network; and the Asia-Pacific Area Network (APAN), which has about 71 countries using the unclassified tool to enhance work and cooperation.
Randall C. Cieslak, chief information officer, USPACOM, discussed how information technology (IT) makes the world microscopic. Despite the tyranny of distance the Pacific region faces, globalization through IT allows minds to be closer. IT used as a tool does much to move toward prosperity. Yet, globalization has a dark side, he noted. The IT infrastructure makes it easy to share information, and doing so may expose weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Cieslak reiterated that discretionary information sharing is the key to sharing information in a secure manner. Another issue is bandwidth. Any gains in network capacity bring profound improvements in the ability to command and control, convey knowledge and make good response decisions. The bottom line, Cieslak said, is that taking network capacity directly to the warfighter is critical, despite any challenges that may be encountered.
Stephen M. James, business development manager–U.S. Air Force, EMC Corporation, discussed maximizing information leverage. James said that today’s major challenge is to facilitate “information-centric” as the next major wave. The growth of data volume is exponential. Unlike in previous years, it is born digital now. James said that USPACOM’s IT priorities include improving network capacity to have a robust and resilient network and to have strong, agile network security enclaves.
As examples of recent trends, he explained that the largest IT costs in 1995 were centered on hardware with people as a secondary cost. Today, it’s almost reversed. Personnel considerations account for the largest piece of the budget, as hardware costs have decreased. Server consolidation is a trend that is showing many savings. It has created greater efficiencies, not only in reduced hardware, but also significantly in the personnel required to manage the systems.
Col. Lyle M. Cross, USMC, chief, C4 Operations and Plans Division, USPACOM, discussed how commercial technology was leveraged to provide C4 solutions in East Timor. He noted that “Operation Stabilize” in East Timor, led by Australian partners, was influenced by “the tyranny of distance” within the Pacific Rim area. The use of commercial technology allowed the return home of a large number of support forces and freed up operational as well as strategic resources. Col. Cross concluded that this approach in East Timor serves as a prototype for future Defense Department commercialization efforts for small operations where no Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) fixed resources are available.
Col. David P. Brostrom, USA, director of analysis and decision support, exercise simulation and knowledge production, USPACOM, explained that the Force Structure, Resources and Assessment Directorate’s, or J-8’s, mission is in support of operations and war plans. He went on to discuss the challenge to provide a realistic simulation, stating that much is lost in translation. Col. Brostrom also described the requirement for translation software. “What’s available doesn’t quite fit the bill for all our partners,” he noted.
The keynote speaker for the TechNet Asia-Pacific breakfast on day three was Brig. Gen. Jerry C. McAbee, USMC, deputy commander, Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC); commanding general, Marine Corps Base Hawaii; and deputy commander, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Gen. McAbee provided a historical review of the importance of technology and the government-industry partnership. The partnership of government, industry and research institutions was critical to U.S. success in the past, and it is critical to success now. Gen. McAbee noted that telecommunications has been vitally important to past and present U.S. military success. The telegraph was used extensively by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, USA, during the Civil War and was installed by the Army Signal Corps. Now, the DISN is vital to U.S. communications needs, and it relies extensively on commercial lines and systems. Networked information systems, relying on telecommunications and computers, provide the United States with a great advantage.
Gen. McAbee referred to the Gulf War as the first information war. Weapon systems processed information to be accurate against a static enemy. These systems will not work in the war on terrorism, where the allies are fighting a clandestine enemy. This enemy is neither static nor easily predictable, so new technology will be needed to help fight this war. The general cited knowledge systems that think ahead of the enemy. These knowledge systems will mine and process data from around the world to help combat this new threat. They will provide the United States with an intuitive understanding of the situation, and Gen. McAbee referred to them as virtual reality systems. This will be a new challenge for government and industry, he emphasized.
As moderator for the panel session titled “Security within the Pacific Rim and the Role Hawaii is Playing to Secure Pacific Rim Bases,” Col. Randy Strong, USA, joint staff officer for communications, J-6, USPACOM, provided a brief background on land mobile radio systems in the theater and discussed why the Pacific Mobile Emergency Radio System (PACMERS) is needed. Col. Strong explained that the original purpose of PACMERS was to provide an avenue for meeting the federally mandated transition to narrowband land mobile radio operation while providing an interoperable system to support joint emergency communications.
PACMERS will provide this interoperability between services, and when called on, with civilian authorities. This will be achieved through a zone-controlled approach that will allow first responders to communicate with each other seamlessly when responding to emergencies during daily operations.
Col. Mark Clapp, USMC, deputy staff officer for communications, G-6, MARFORPAC, discussed how MARFORPAC is using the secret Internet protocol router network (SIPRNET) tunneling through the nonsecure Internet protocol router network (NIPRNET) to extend access to 46 sites with the use of National Security Agency-approved Type 1 encryption devices. This is a cost-effective utilization of existing wiring infrastructure, he explained, and it expands access to a greater number of users.
Col. Clapp also discussed MARFORPAC successes and challenges as they implement public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates. They have generated more than 600 end-user PKI certificates and have issued certificates to about one-half of MARFORPAC headquarters staff. Col. Clapp expressed frustration over connectivity problems experienced with the centralized Certificate Authority (CA) located on the mainland, and he added his support to the concept of a regional CA in Hawaii.
Capt. James M. Fordice, USN, staff officer for communications, N-6, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, provided an overview of the Navy’s support to operation Enduring Freedom. Picket ships off the U.S. coast are providing improved radar coverage for anti-air defense. The Navy is protecting the transit lanes through the Strait of Malacca with the use of escort ships in cooperation with the Indian navy as well as providing air defense for Guam and Diego Garcia. Capt. Fordice then discussed coalition networks, listing e-mail, online chat, common operational picture, collaboration tools and replicated Web sites as requirements. Capt. Fordice described several current coalition network initiatives and capabilities and explained ongoing efforts to combine COWAN in the Pacific and CENTRIX in the U.S. Central Command.
Col. Monica M. Gorzelnik, USA, staff officer for communications, G-6, USARPAC, discussed the mission of the joint rear area coordinator. Hawaii coordinates security operations with base cluster commands and federal, state and local agencies in order to detect, deter or defeat threats and attacks and to conduct consequence management/military support to civil authorities in support of homeland defense of Hawaii. She explained the challenges of providing communications for a diverse group of installations and communities of interest. Progress has been made by leveraging PACMERS to interface with the Honolulu Police and APAN to share unclassified intelligence information with state and local agencies.
Col. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., USAF, director, communications and information, SC, PACAF, stated that the Air Combat Command’s global strike task force concept acknowledges that today’s warfighter is handicapped by the lack of C2 system interoperability. Baseline C2 systems require too much human intervention to massage data through all the processes involved in the “kill chain.” An interoperable enterprise storage solution will help compress the time needed for decision-quality data to flow from its collection source to the warfighter.
Col. Hawkins continued that integrated C4ISR is key to the Defense Department transformation. Achieving horizontal integration of various ISR assets is a complex task in and of itself. It is even more complicated in the Pacific theater because of the limited number of communications assets readily available across the vast expanse. The heart of the C2ISR architecture will be the joint air operations center (JAOC), which is the central point for merging time-critical information and providing direction to the warfighter. PACAF is going to stress test the JAOC during various exercises in the near future.
In the closing keynote address, Adm. Walter F. Doran, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, reflected on President Bush’s comment that “the 21st century will be the Pacific century.” Adm. Doran remarked that the president’s statement highlights that a stable, united and secure Pacific is in the United States’ and the world’s best interest. “That is one of my primary tasks, and I need the help of all of you to accomplish it,” he stated. Adm. Doran noted that communications systems today are more automated and reliable. Real-time collaboration, chat rooms, joint task force training tools and sharing of real-time targeting and intelligence data are all examples of advances in information technology that have taken the Navy into the 21st century.
Stating that bandwidth is still a challenge, the admiral pointed out that the new Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers are limited to 64 kilobits per second. Interoperability with coalition partners has had some success, but releasability restrictions make information sharing very difficult. Adm. Doran also explained the FORCENET concept. It is an architecture that is expected to integrate ships, sensors and weapons into a networked combat force. Networking legacy systems and removing systems that cannot be networked is the first step. “We all have a great challenge ahead of us,” he stated, “and I am confident that together, we will meet those challenges.”