Satellite communications, Web services and imagery have come of age in the battlespace of operation Enduring Freedom. This first network-centric war has revealed an explosion in capabilities that has been matched by information demands at all levels of command.
The menu for U.S. Army information operations now runs several courses long as the service integrates low-end news activities directed at local populace with high-end cyberspace defense and attack. As all of these elements come together in a common operational mode, the future cyberwarrior may see netwar visualization capabilities that provide cyberspace situational awareness akin to icon-driven battlefield monitoring systems.
The potential of network-centric operations is growing with the capability to link, interpret, process, manage and share data from multiple sensors in near real time and throughout a battlespace. This information could be delivered directly to a commander's laptop computer to provide a clearer and more complete picture of detected threats.
Future military communications equipment may one day be able to detect and use locally available radio spectrum automatically. U.S. Defense Department researchers are developing methods that allow systems to scan for unassigned frequency bands autonomously. These technologies will allow warfighters to deploy quickly anywhere in the world without time-consuming spectrum management and allocation concerns.
The U.S. Army has developed an airborne tactical command post that enhances company-level units' situational awareness with real-time voice and data connectivity. Mounted inside a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the center features an integrated command and control system hosting an extensive communications suite and five fully automated workstations linked to a central computer that can operate a variety of battlefield software.
The U.S. Defense Department is reviewing several organizational, role and mission options that will emphasize e-business and accelerate the transformation of the department's business processes. A change in leadership within the department as well as President Bush's Management Agenda, an effort led by the Office of Management and Budget, are two of the driving forces behind the changes.
After participating in one of the first multinational exercises to use the U.S. Defense Department's new electronic procurement system, U.S. Army officials are touting the benefits of using paperless contracting in a contingency operation. The technology allowed procurement personnel to save time, respond quickly to customers' needs and work efficiently with contractors from several countries.
Eighteen companies have formed a consortium to collaborate on redefining how online identities are established, managed and optimized. The group's members believe that a federated identity approach will enable the next generation of the Internet, which will be characterized by federated commerce. This consumer- and business-friendly concept means that when traveling virtually within a federation of participating goods or service providers, an individual will have to sign on only once and will be able to advance through levels of authentication and authorization without starting the process over at each provider's electronic gate.
A cooperative venture among government, academic and commercial organizations is seeking to build an advanced research park in the heart of Poland. The Warsaw-based entity will serve as an incubator for small companies, provide established firms with access to research facilities and create a venue to turn the fruits of this labor into commercial products.
A globally adopted standard and technology developed for public safety organizations could support multinational military operations by providing international interoperability. The high-level commercial technology product offers various data applications that meet the communications needs of international peace support operations.