The use of information technologies has increased faster than the ability of their users to recognize the technologies' key issues, according to many international commercial and government experts. Interoperability, availability and security all are growing in importance as information technologies become increasingly indispensable in more aspects of society.
The fast pace of change occurring in technology and business today has prompted industry and government agencies to explore innovative approaches to conducting business. While old paradigms are not being discarded, they are being reviewed to determine their effectiveness. Organizations that are willing to venture into uncharted waters are encountering successes and obstacles, but regardless of the outcome, they have learned lessons that both they and others can incorporate into future endeavors.
The Allied Forces Central Europe Command, once a bastion of Western Europe's defensive line, is reinventing itself to serve as a key element in alliance operations outside its area of responsibility. It is consolidating with another regional command, incorporating two of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's newest members into its structure, and preparing to serve as a parent headquarters to other alliance commands.
Defense electronics contractors are going commercial in a bid to equip the United Kingdom with a rapidly deployable battlefield communications network. The country's Ministry of Defence is seeking a commercial off-the-shelf solution that is low-risk, easy to enhance and ready for deployment in about two years.
The United Kingdom is implementing acquisition reforms designed to produce less costly military systems faster and more effectively. These choice program innovations are being applied across the entire spectrum of defense purchases as the country revamps its procurement process for changing missions in a changing time.
Germany has accelerated a longtime move toward acquisition reform by consolidating diverse activities in its main procurement agency. These changes have been driven largely by Germany's new security mission and by the need to incorporate substantial amounts of high technology into hardware and doctrine.
Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, other barriers are crumbling within the German defense community. The private sector is playing a key role in convincing the military to abandon its old ways of doing business and adapt to the dynamism of the information age.
A U.S.-German security education institution is seizing on discussion animated by international differences to build closer ties among North American, European and Central Asian nations. Military and government participants are encouraged to explore new ideas and approaches, rather than follow the lead of existing institutions and methodologies.
Moving rapidly to gain information dominance on the battlefield, the U.S. Army will fully equip and deploy a digitized division by next year. This continuing quest for information dominance and situational awareness also calls for outfitting a fully digitized Army corps by 2004.
A British firm is embracing the military's trend toward using commercial electronics by developing a growing range of ruggedized products and systems. The focus of this longtime battlefield platform equipment provider has shifted from ruggedizing specific commercial hardware to providing complete off-the-shelf technology systems that are suited for military environments.