Faced with a burgeoning humanitarian crisis amid a virtually nonexistent communications infrastructure, Australian peacekeeping forces worked with private industry to establish a broadband network in the heart of East Timor that included connectivity with other peacekeepers as well as their own national headquarters in Australia.
Creation of a national operations and analysis hub is finding grudging acceptance among senior officials in the U.S. national security community. This fresh intelligence mechanism would link federal agencies to provide instant collaborative threat profiling and analytical assessments for use against asymmetrical threats. National policy makers, military commanders and law enforcement agencies would be beneficiaries of the hub's information.
Uncertainty surrounding a patchwork of commercial information security products hurriedly placed in use on U.S. Defense Department computers and networks is reshaping policy. Successful test and evaluation of these products in specified laboratories will soon become a prerequisite for procurement by military services and defense agencies.
As evaluation policy emerges, the National Security Agency (NSA) is embarking separately on a major long-term program to modernize the inventory of high-grade cryptographic devices. The new cryptography will exploit technology to keep pace with modern communications as bandwidth applications change.
To protect information systems from security breeches, organizations increasingly are embracing a comprehensive strategy that relies on both technology and enforced policies. Meanwhile, the legal system has been hard pressed to keep pace with information system protection issues, leaving many questions unanswered about how far businesses may go to protect their systems.
Jim Robbins, the Harvard-educated president of one of the nation's largest cable companies, was in southern California on a business trip when he decided to check his voice mail and got the stunning news that America Online had agreed to merge with Time Warner. The deal was not only the largest of its kind but one that promises to reshape how executives in a wide range of telecommunications businesses view the concept of convergence.
A unique flying antenna testbed plays a significant role in the development and integration of battlefield information networks and communications nodes. Moreover, this aircraft's primary function is to support airborne communications transition to production and fusion into new command and control networks.
U.S. Joint Forces Command is harnessing the power of extensible markup language to lash together three capabilities and to facilitate collaboration between intelligence and operations activities. If successful, the integrated capability would increase an individual warfighter's ability to control intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and share targeting information, reducing the time between target identification and strike from minutes to seconds. Integration of those capabilities is in the experimental stage, but the project's director is encouraged by the initial results and believes it could eventually lead to humans on instead of in the targeting-strike loop.
The convergence of telephone and Internet protocol networks holds great promise, according to industry experts, leading vendors and the press. However, an increasingly converged network also increases the risk factor associated with securing voice and other real-time communication streams. These risks are not limited to Internet-protocol-based networks; traditional time division multiplexing networks also are vulnerable.
As the war on terrorism enters its fourth year, experts offer that the U.S. government can congratulate itself for successfully launching a number of bold initiatives to protect national security.
Military and government decision makers convene at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center next month to discuss requirements in current operations and to explore hundreds of technical solutions. TechNet International 2005, which takes place May 17-19, will address the issues that commanders know from experience are real challenges facing warfighters today.