A World Wide Web-based document coordination tool developed for the U.S. Army has become available for the entire federal government. The system enables multiple users to review a directive or regulation posted on a Web or intranet site and enter their comments. The recorded information is then used to modify the document efficiently as it moves toward completion.
Profound Internet growth and the changes it generates in the economy and society is a double-edged sword. Electronic commerce benefits are fundamentally altering the way people produce, consume and communicate. Yet, risks and vulnerabilities are inherent network byproducts. Growing electronic threats mandate risk management, customer confidence and at least some level of information protection.
The path to Western alliance membership will be paved with silicon if the modernization plan for a former Warsaw Pact nation is successful. The Republic of Bulgaria is looking toward building its revamped military around advanced information systems assembled through U.S. guidance and commercial partnerships.
A new method of delivering software promises to reduce the cost and time required for infrastructure setup, software installation, maintenance and support. Known as the application service provider model, the approach reduces the burden on internal information systems resources and enables a predictable cost model for running programs.
The adoption of networked systems and the prevalence of Internet use have created the potential for unauthorized access to critical data. U.S. Defense Department officials believe that uncontrolled Internet connections pose a significant and unacceptable threat to all of their information systems and operations. Ensuring secure transmissions and the authenticity of data while allowing users to connect from remote locations requires high levels of security.
The new network-centric U.S. Navy, flush with advanced information technologies, can expect greater challenges as it is tasked with more diverse and widespread operations well into the 21st century. Both the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps will be dealing with major operational issues involving a longer military reach amid greater geopolitical tension and more complex coalition operations. And, both services will be relying on as yet unfielded technologies to fulfill their missions.
The future of telecommunications is being shaped by new usage trends driven by emerging technologies. These trends long have molded both military and civilian requirements.
Telecommunication technologies allow people to reach out and touch someone in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. No longer restricted to voice-only transmissions, consumers are using the metal and fiber veins that run throughout the world to send data, images and even multimedia presentations worldwide. Companies that develop the technology and services that facilitate these connections are watching opportunities blossom. More importantly, they are fighting hard to stay ahead of a game in which ignoring a chance to provide in-demand services means handing your competitor the advantage.
As militaries, governments and businesses continue to struggle with the obstacles posed by bandwidth limitations, scientists in industry and research laboratories are improving compression technologies to allow high-quality images and text to be sent to the desktop-or palmtop-with phenomenal speed. The proposition is simple: Until scientists design a way to make the communications pipelines larger, engineers must make the volume of data smaller.
Powerful forces of private-sector competition and an onslaught of technical advances are propelling the United States into a telecommunications renaissance era. In every sector-wireless, wireline, local and long distance, video and Internet-more services are being delivered at lower prices and higher bandwidth.