TechNet International 2000, which was held June 20 through June 22 at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center, represented an event in transition. For this year's event, AFCEA International's 54th annual convention and exposition, we chose to return to our Defense Department core specialties. At the same time, we introduced a number of exciting new features that produced favorable results and bode well for the future.
The spread of information and networking technology into virtually all corners of the globe is spawning new opportunities for criminals and terrorists to wreak havoc through the Internet. The dichotomy of system complexity and ease of individual use has created a target-rich environment across the entire realm of cyberspace.
Protecting the average business computer from a barrage of malicious network intrusions is high on the priority list of many of today's World Wide Web-based organizations. In a move to step up research in network security technology, the U.S. Navy is contracting out a three-year effort to pursue security systems development.
Threats to government and private sector computer systems continue to evolve in new and unexpected ways. These challenges come from a variety of groups such as hackers, terrorists and, increasingly, radical political and social activists.
In the electronic ecosystem that is the modern-day battlespace, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command interweaves the biological community with an abiotic environment. This unique role that the command has played during the last decade is part of the evolution of fighting forces. Its contributions to the inner workings of oftentimes dangerous environments continues as part of the revolution in the way warfighters and commanders carry out their duties. This transformation is far from over.
The battlefield is emerging as a conglomeration of information systems that talk to each other, create a total picture and deliver pieces of a complex puzzle into a comprehensive knowledge base for mission commanders. Operations can vary from conflict to peacekeeping to humanitarian aid, but the requirements are the same-acquire as much information about the situation as possible so the best decisions can be made.
En route airborne personnel soon may be able to send and receive vital information about the changing state of an operational landscape. A U.S. Army program aims to empower these forces to work with their home command to replan their mission if necessary.
Weapons-of-mass-destruction civil support teams, organized and trained to respond to domestic terrorist threats, will employ a leading-edge technology package that enables members to communicate under extremely unpredictable conditions. The groups are part of the U.S. Army National Guard and currently are in place in 10 states with 17 additional teams scheduled to form later this fiscal year.
Through the use of global positioning system technologies, today's commanders can keep track of man and machine in the battlespace. But in the not-too-distant future, these same decision makers will locate their personnel in physiological space and know how a soldier's physical condition could affect productivity, performance and ultimately the mission.
Researchers are testing a prototype computer interface that allows users to interact with a virtual reality world through brain impulses. If successful, this proof-of-concept device could greatly increase the mobility and independence of people who are paralyzed or have similar conditions.