In the war against terrorism, ship and aircraft activity may be foremost on the nightly news and in the public eye, but in information-age conflicts an almost invisible force is just as critical to mission success. The military service members who build communications infrastructure from the ground up under combat conditions have become major contributors to winning battles fought by joint and coalition forces.
A new approach to personal computer security confounds internal thieves and external hackers by making data disappear without a trace. The new security system effectively conceals the very existence of critical files and applications from all except the authorized user.
The military services must accelerate their incorporation of new technologies and methodologies to ensure victory in the war on terrorism, and information systems lie at the heart of these efforts. These technologies are likely to be the glue that bonds conventional and unconventional forces, the cornerstone of homeland security and the basis for ensuring continued military supremacy in all situations around the globe.
The war on terrorism has added a new sense of urgency to the Central Intelligence Agency's science and technology development. The agency is accelerating its work in a number of key areas both to serve ongoing operations against al Qaida and to ensure long-term vigilance against asymmetric adversaries who are constantly changing their ways of operating.
Already tasked with maintaining a steady menu of operations covering one-third of the Earth's surface, the U.S. Pacific Command now is fully engaged in the war on terrorism. The command is fighting disparate al Qaida groups in different countries concurrent with supporting operation Enduring Freedom in the Afghanistan region.
When U.S. trade and military alliances are mentioned, Europe usually is the first region that comes to mind. That continent has been a long-established trading partner, and the nations ringing the North Atlantic set the global standard for democratic capitalism in the post-World-War-II years. In foreign affairs, NATO stands tall with more than half a century of security and peacekeeping that defines it as the most successful alliance in history.
Communications system upgrades planned for the Korean theater will support network-centric warfare, transforming the Asia-Pacific region into a cutting-edge digital environment in both theory and practice. Armed with a vision of how information technology creates a common operational understanding of the battlespace, military leaders on the Korean peninsula are using lessons of the past to chart a new course for the future.
The interception of a U.S. Navy EP-3 signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft over Chinese coastal waters early last year highlighted the activities of the People's Republic of China coastal defense forces, which have been low-profile and largely remain so today. Such interceptions and intrusions over Chinese waters and nearby coastal areas have occurred for decades, as with the former Soviet Union. In addition to the expected People's Liberation Army Navy assets, a surprising array of non-navy units are integrated into offensive and defensive military coastal roles, in part because the People's Republic of China has no force comparable to the U.S. Coast Guard. These units include coastal air defense as well as nonmilitary naval forces from a variety of paramilitary organizations.
The Central Intelligence Agency is reallocating vital resources to address the urgent and long-term needs of the war on terrorism. In addition to transferring substantial numbers of analysts and increasing overseas operational activities, the agency is establishing new links with nontraditional domestic customers.
Rapidly changing technology, along with the high demand for well-trained communicators to support current operations, is testing the limits of the U.S. Army's human resources and training facilities. To meet this challenge, the service is moving quickly to ensure that the people who keep communications up and running have the skills they need for the systems they will use.