Conversations with computers are usually pretty one-sided: Users may yell obscenities; cursors continue to blink innocuously. But a collaborative effort between the military and industry may one day replace this one-way, futile discourse with systems that understand the user's cognitive state and then respond accordingly. The implications of this capability reach beyond ensuring that warfighters are primed to receive critical information. It could prove to be instrumental to inventing ways of designing new systems and improving military training.
Coordinating evolving operational and technical requirements between government agencies and allied nations was the focus of AFCEA's Transformation TechNet 2006 conference and exposition. Held in Hampton, Virginia, in May, the two-day event's theme was "TEAM Transformation … A Must for International Security." Conference topics addressed the various joint and cooperative efforts underway among government, military, industry and international organizations.
Improving information sharing and moving toward information management rather than data management are priority objectives for Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) information technology. Traditionally, information protection included withholding information to better protect it. Tendencies toward withholding and perhaps overclassifying information made for multiple organizational elements throughout the government with their own treasure trove of information that was not available to others. The more information withheld, the more important the organizational element, according to some.
A U.S. Army organization has found a way to move badly needed technologies and capabilities to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is adapting existing products such as leaf blowers to meet vital requirements in the field, and it is inserting technologies such as advanced sensors directly from military and commercial laboratories to accelerate the evolution of combat capabilities.
Enhancements in unmanned aerial systems, interoperability and network centricity will drive the U.S. command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance market, according to industry analysts. While each branch of service can expect investment and development in specific areas, attempts to move the U.S. military from a stovepipe structure to a system with greater cooperation and corroboration between government agencies and the military services will pervade the market for the near and long term, they say.
After several years of tight budgets, key European defense market sectors are poised for growth with satellite communications systems, major network infrastructure projects and battle management equipment on the shopping list. But analysts predict that market segments such as handheld tactical radios will either remain at current levels or shrink due to decreased sales.
A recently completed international military experiment has developed strategies and doctrines for stability and peacekeeping operations that now are being applied in Afghanistan and Iraq. The event focused on using all available capabilities to achieve mission goals, ranging from direct combat to reconstruction and humanitarian aid.
"Bringing home the bacon" is an old saying that in one of its interpretations means providing for the necessities of life. A new U.S. Air Force variation might be "bringing home the BACN"-or the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, a force multiplier that will help offset force reductions and bring new, affordable communications capabilities of which the warfighter could only until recently dream.