Military and civilian command and control experts are exploring new ways to exploit one of the most powerful weapons in the U.S. Air Force arsenal-information. Processes, procedures and technologies currently under development are scheduled to be put into place later this year and in early 2001.
U.S. Air Force experts are introducing new methods of developing, deploying and exploiting information systems in the joint environment. However, instead of inventing new technologies for leap-ahead capabilities, planners now are innovating system architectures and operational methodologies to provide more efficient and effective networking and information access.
A synergistic interaction between experts, processes and technology is producing concepts of space systems for the U.S. Air Force that will effectively use current and planned assets to address future warfighters' needs. In a corporate facility dedicated to maximizing a coordinated team approach, specialists in utility, availability, cost, power, propulsion, software and payloads develop consistent point designs in as little as three days.
The U.S. Army is assessing a prototype multimedia network that will serve as a technology testbed for prospective military tactical wireless systems. Part of a joint program of the Army's Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and industry, the two-year project involves studying the best ways to apply civilian off-the-shelf hardware and software to tactical battlefield uses. Potential benefits include new types of mobile devices with minimal requirements for cables or additional attachments-greatly decreasing the amount of equipment transported or carried by Army personnel.
A growing industry and government effort to provide nationwide Internet services has created an intricate maze of accessibility, content and quality control challenges. With the number of Internet users now totaling 320 million, more than a score of browsers in use and the development of constantly changing Internet technologies, the online challenges are complex. Navigation has been difficult, errors continue to creep in, and many users are excluded from access to a large number of World Wide Web sites.
An information retrieval tool that is more powerful and accurate than standard search engines allows users to quickly retrieve information within several mouse clicks. The application combs through the "hits" produced by investigation programs to find documents based on specific word associations and creates a database from these results. By highlighting only specific paragraph-sized sections of text, the technology streamlines the research process by eliminating the task of scanning entire documents to find bits of relevant data.
The U.S. Army is tasked with a three-sided challenge as it seeks to transform its communications-electronics systems. The Army must continue to progress with far-reaching plans that will change the way it conducts military operations; it must respond to warfighters' urgent information technology needs in Afghanistan and Iraq; and it must incorporate changes inspired by lessons learned in those wars into its long-range efforts.
Disposable sensors, a single radar set that performs several tasks and electrical power devices that refuel from a diesel truck's gas tank are just some of the innovations that may reshape U.S. Army operations on the battlefield of the future. This research is altering the vision of the transformational force even as ongoing programs pick up speed, and it promises new and exciting capabilities to further extend the Army's battlefield supremacy.
Feedback from ongoing U.S. military operations in Southwest Asia is enhancing a key fire control and battle management system. Designed to help track friendly units and direct available artillery and air platforms against enemy forces, this software-based application is an important command and control asset and a major component for upcoming programs such as the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS).
Setting up and maintaining a communications network in a war zone is difficult under any circumstances, but it is especially complicated in a battlespace without defined front lines. To meet this challenge, the U.S. Army is combining military systems and commercial solutions to establish a reliable network for commanders and warfighters in operation Iraqi Freedom.