Rapid technological change is a double-edged sword. The latest developments that allow faster computing and increased data flow also put critical national infrastructures within reach of any potential adversary with a modem.
Thirty miles outside Louisville, Kentucky, normally there is no noise at all, or just the occasional bird or maybe the wind, but when the curtain rises at the Zussman Urban Combat Training Center, the scene is transformed into total chaos. Explosions, fire, smoke and noise flood the senses. Telephone poles topple, cars careen out of control, and commanders test the mettle of their troops.
A sinking feeling emerges when saved information cannot be retrieved or a hard drive is totally destroyed. The anxiety of data loss rivals the panic that sets in upon misplacing a treasured keepsake or losing a large sum of money. And, it is a deplorable reality in an age that is more dependent than ever on vulnerable devices that are relied upon from the dawn of an idea through storage for posterity.
Bits & Bytes-Satisfying the Essential C4ISR, Training and Simulation Needs of the Atlantic Alliance and its European Defense and Security Initiative" was the theme of this year's TechNet Europe held in the Prague Congress Center on October 18-20, 2000.
The U.S. Navy has reached a significant milestone in its drive for transformation. For the first time in my experience, the Navy has stated that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) stovepipes are detrimental to successful warfighting. Considering them as two separate entities is the road map to failure.
The U.S. Navy in 15 years will differ vastly from today's Navy, states Adm. Vern Clark, USN, chief of naval operations. But, that degree of change pales in comparison to what will occur in the 15 years that will follow. And, information technologies will be at the core of all of these changes.
The U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command may be taking on its greatest challenge to date with the implementation of the service's FORCEnet effort. The complex endeavor, which is designed to be the linchpin of the Navy's network-centric warfare thrust, will transform information into decisive effect.
As the initial rollout of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet enters the final stages, U.S. Navy officials are confident that adopting an enterprisewide network was the right decision. Despite being an arduous process, the installation effort is still on schedule to be complete in fiscal year 2005, and the service has reaped many unforeseen benefits during the past four years. Some of the advantages are becoming evident today, but those most intimately involved with the project predict that the best is yet to come.
An advanced software architecture will allow the U.S. Navy to increase substantially the bandwidth and data throughput of its satellite communications systems and will serve as a bridge to the next-generation capabilities envisioned in FORCEnet and Sea Power 21. It will enter service as part of a sophisticated multiband satellite communications terminal designed to link with future spacecraft.
With FORCEnet being touted as the glue that binds the pillars of Sea Power 21, the U.S. Navy is developing a concept to link sensors to shooters to weapons on demand and across joint platforms. By leveraging technology and system engineering know-how developed during the past 10 to 15 years, engagement packs would employ capabilities that are based on sharing and fusing multisource information and could be fielded in the next 5 years. The concept relies heavily on adaptable, flexible, composable forces and a distributed, network-centric, services-oriented architecture to make information available and usable by many systems.