Soldiers in the Iraqi theater are receiving medical care from doctors thousands of miles away through telehealth programs and the use of the Internet and servers. Physicians using this capability can provide better continuity of care and better medical access, as well as reduce loss of duty time for soldiers deployed in Iraq. In addition, the telemedicine systems implemented in Iraq throughout 2004 and into 2005 have aided not only the soldiers receiving the care but also the doctors providing it. The technology not only keeps them safe from traveling through hostile environments but also allows more collaboration between other doctors in theater.
Research being conducted in the depths of the sea is revealing lessons in medicine that will help humankind in remote areas on Earth and allow future generations to travel to the far reaches of space. With capabilities provided by telecommunications, robotic and scuba equipment and an underwater habitat called Aquarius, space program personnel and medical doctors are examining the challenges of telemedicine in extreme environments. The information being gathered runs the gamut-from the unpredictable effects of the ambient atmosphere on devices to the need for improved human-machine interfaces to insights about the skills required to perform surgical procedures. And, while participants have their eyes on the skies, they readily attest that the lessons they learn undoubtedly can be applied in the battlefield to save not only lives but also limbs.
Battlefield medical personnel may soon use a handheld device to perform rapid triage on wounded soldiers by remotely sensing vital functions such as respiration and heart rate without exposing themselves to enemy fire. A radar emitter built into the unit detects the movement of a person's internal organs. With this equipment, medics can verify whether an individual is alive without removing body armor and equipment. More advanced versions of the system may permit medics to monitor the vital signs of up to 10 people simultaneously.
The Danish military is implementing a versatile software platform for its naval and land command and control systems that has proved to be an affordable means to support data fusion over legacy communications links. Featuring an open architecture, the platform provides generic command, control and communications functions and flexibility in subsystem integration. It is being installed on the country's new ships as well as being retrofitted onto existing vessels.
The U.S. Air Force has made tremendous strides in leveraging advances in information technology to improve its combat effectiveness. Today, precision targeting is the norm. Access to critical intelligence, mission status and resource availability information from around the globe is taken for granted. Airmen are using Internet "chat" to order parts and coordinate missions. Sophisticated information technologies embedded in air and space vehicles provide unprecedented and persistent situational awareness over areas of interest. On a recent visit to some of the U.S. bases in the Middle East, I was struck by the myriad of uses of information technology that have changed the face of modern warfare. The future holds the promise of more amazing benefits.
When talk turns to providing a comprehensive picture of the battlefield, people often overlook the fact that the defense community is not providing a good enough picture down to the battalion level, much less to the company level. These warfighting levels especially need an accurate and actionable picture of where enemy forces are located. But, even as we head into the promised land of network-centric operations, the muddy-boots warfighters are not receiving the information they desperately need to prevail on the battlefield.
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.