The U.S. Air Force is building its future around an info-centric force that must solve a myriad of problems related to networking of facilities, platforms and people. With new capabilities being tested and validated in combat operations over Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force is streaking headlong into becoming a networked force that operates around the concept of information as a constant throughout the battlespace. But, until challenges such as security, data commonality and funding are met, the future of the network-centric Air Force remains up in the air.
The final frontier is about to become home to another layer of military capabilities with the launch of TacSat-1 and lift-off of a new concept for space-based assets. The launch, which is scheduled for late this month, is the first step toward tactically exploiting space and represents a dramatic change of the entire business model for designing and purchasing space-based systems. Providing warfighters with operationally responsive satellite communications, the scheme will enable military commanders to act more quickly and effectively in battle.
Allied intelligence agencies engaged in computer-to-computer signals intelligence exploration are closely examining Internet protocol network intercepts and forensics analysis as a new weapon in the war against terrorism. Traditional signals intelligence professionals, who have shied away from this type of intelligence gathering for more than a decade, are realizing that the computer-to-computer intelligence gap can be filled. The fact that computer-to-computer signals intelligence is a weakness in current allied intelligence-gathering efforts is no secret. But after decades of denial, the intelligence community and emerging technologies are changing the old ways of looking at network surveillance.
A prototype over-the-horizon communications system and an on-the-move command post that allows commanders to conduct fully mobile operations could help the U.S. Marine Corps maintain connectivity and situational awareness on the battlefield. Developed by the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, both systems support the service's doctrine of ship-to-objective maneuver, which calls for the rapid deployment of troops and equipment from the seat to staging areas deep inside enemy territory.
Battlespace digitization was the focus of a number of leading experts as they debated the reality and trends evolving from this concept. The discussions were part of a recent international symposium in Paris presented by the AFCEA Paris Chapter and conducted under the patronage of the French Minister of Defense.
By Alan C. Wade, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Intelligence Community
Emerging technologies are essential to the Intelligence Community's ability to accomplish its international mission in the high-threat environment of the 21st century. In the global war against terrorism, the United States faces foes who are clever, patient, determined, multinational and largely invisible against the backdrop of the societies in which they operate. The nation's ability to counteract this threat demands broad connectivity, speed of action and the management of large volumes of information at levels unparalleled in history.
Over the past three years, AFCEA International has undergone several changes, both internally and externally. Some of these changes reflected the new world that we faced after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Others were a part of the internal activities that a dynamic organization undergoes to remain vibrant. The next three years hold more changes in store for the association, and they promise to be as important as those of the recent past.
Many would-be contractors sabotage their own bids with sloppy processes and mistaken notions that leave government acquisition officials no choice but to reject them for a contract award. These mistakes can run the gamut from firms' attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of government officials to honest errors that bidders do not realize are hurting their cause.
After several years of depressed revenues, the telecommunications industry is poised to recover in 2005, experts say. Rebounding from the historic lows of the past several years, the equipment manufacturing sector can expect robust growth while gains for services will remain modest. But storm clouds loom on the horizon as emerging technologies such as broadband and voice over Internet protocol threaten to radically change traditional service carrier arrangements.
A former niche technology will greatly improve how military and commercial organizations stock and track supplies and products. The system permits the identification of equipment fitted with radio frequency devices known as tags. This capability allows quartermasters to know a cargo container's contents immediately as it enters a theater of operation. Inventory information can then be fed into a database to follow incoming parts and equipment shipments, allowing commanders to react quickly to demand spikes.