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.
A communications interface system soon may enhance the situational awareness and connectivity of U.S. Marine Corps units. The equipment consists of vehicle-mounted racks housing an interchangeable set of tactical radios, routers and configuration software that allows commanders to quickly select, change and modify their tactical data networks for specific missions. By linking a variety of radio systems into a single network, the technology permits units with previously incompatible radio systems to communicate with each other.
With updated cabling and server farms in place, the U.S. Navy is making way on a government-owned, government-operated information technology initiative that ultimately will affect more than 41,000 users in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. During the coming months, sailors stationed at bases outside the continental United States, beyond the scope of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet, will be coming aboard their own enterprisewide network.
Combatants in the war on terrorism come in all shapes and sizes, including some that are nuts and bolts, metal and machinery. In operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, warfighters count not only on their buddies to keep them safe but also on luggage-size robots that help clear the improvised explosive devices being used so incessantly by insurgents. Using manportable mechanical marvels, explosive ordnance disposal teams can disarm or detonate explosives from a distance, keeping team members out of harm's way while clearing the way for troop movement.