The U.S. Air Force is developing a software-based system that will allow aircrews to diagnose and predict equipment failure with greater speed and accuracy, keeping more aircraft in the air, not the hangar. In a renewed effort to maintain operational readiness through enhanced systems integration, the service is emphasizing the need for greater precision and efficiency across the spectrum of aviation maintenance.
An adaptive hypermedia system that streamlines and enhances work-order procedures demonstrates that technology can be profitably employed to achieve an organization's customer support goals. Although the initial deployment of the technology was limited to building maintenance, the software could have far-reaching implications for improved customer relations and effective time utilization.
Personal identification technologies such as fingerprint, voice and facial recognition are adding another layer of security to government facilities and computer systems. Once prohibitively expensive, these devices are poised to become ubiquitous applications in wireless communications equipment, portable and desktop computers, smart cards and secure area access systems.
The U.S. military is counting on the information superhighway in its march toward continued battlefield supremacy. As outlined in two recent studies describing future force goals, network-centric warfare is at the core of plans to ensure that military domination is maintained. The aim is for information to be the primary tool enabling U.S. forces to respond to and overcome any military challenge in any arena worldwide.
The ongoing revolution in battlefield information systems has generated an intriguing irony. Information technology is empowering individual warfighters far more now than ever before, yet at the same time it is tying them together to an unprecedented degree. On the one hand, soldiers, sailors and airmen are able to serve more roles and to undertake actions of greater significance, as they are both armed with increased amounts of information and capable of providing more vital data to other warfighters and decision makers. On the other hand, these individuals are tied to each other to a greater degree in the network-centric battlefield. As their importance as individuals has increased, so has their importance as nodes in a network. This opens up a host of challenges in areas ranging from technology to doctrine and culture.
As the Standard Procurement System reaches the installation halfway point, U.S. Defense Department officials are highlighting how the technology makes the department more responsive to Congress and the American taxpayer. Although some personnel are still wary of the new system, the department is forging ahead, and the U.S. Army has adopted additional capabilities that save time and money.
Although good things may come in small packages, a handheld device that carries the power of a personal computer raises large information security issues. As more military service members employ cellular telephones, pagers and personal digital assistants to keep track of schedules or to perform duties, their leaders must address the new threats these pocket-sized devices pose in the workplace.
Miniature fuel cells are poised to replace batteries as the power source of choice for handheld communications and electronics equipment. Tests with prototypes indicate that these devices can generate more power, last longer and remain more environmentally friendly than existing batteries.
A probability analysis program could enable surface and air military units to better predict a vehicle's or a missile's next move by discerning the likelihood that its track will either change or remain constant. Applying the same reasoning formula to study an entire mission, the system could combine factual and hypothetical data to predict the direction an enemy will take and produce theoretically sound solutions to tactically complex scenarios.
The worlds of wireless and Web-based technology are converging in a new generation of linked networks that could produce a vast computing and communications infrastructure based on the interaction of currently exclusive technologies. The integration of these independent communication architectures will result from a gradual dissolution of the physical boundaries of today's Internet, enabling the realization of a broader view of everyday computing.