The U.S. military will conduct its annual search for interoperability solutions next month with a renewed sense of urgency as nations continue to pull together to fight terrorism and government agencies pursue collaboration in homeland security efforts. Once again, this year, the focus will be on examining dozens of technologies that commands can employ to address immediate interoperability problems.
The U.S. Defense Department's new generation of military communications satellites will be both forward-looking and backward compatible. They will introduce state-of-the-art capabilities with flexibility for upgrades, and they will be able to interoperate seamlessly with existing Milstar satellites.
Military space activities increasingly are resembling their more terrestrial counterparts as their presence grows in military operations. The aboveworldly realm now has its own specific communications networks, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors and even weather reports. Soon, it may feature new reusable transport systems and weapons designed to maintain supremacy in the highest frontier.
Sophisticated tracking and communications capabilities rapidly installed on military platforms in the Middle East helped U.S. and coalition commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq slice through the fog of war with near-real-time situational awareness. Blue force tracking technology provides information about the location of friendly and enemy forces as well as terrain and danger zones such as mine fields. Equipment installed on a variety of platforms continues to allow mission leaders, commanders and warfighters in locations from the Pentagon to the battlefield to see the same picture of and elements in the battlespace like pieces on a chessboard.
The U.S. Navy is launching a new initiative that expands the concept of network-centric warfare from the purely technical world to the operations doctrine domain. The paradigm will affect every aspect of the Navy-from acquisition processes to transportation, from information sharing to targeting. Military leaders believe this new approach will increase combat effectiveness and better support joint and coalition operations.
The U.S. Navy is steaming full speed ahead to make network-centric warfare a reality by merging its directorate in charge of communications, computers and space with the warfare requirements and programs directorate. The move is at the center of a new operational vision for the service called Sea Power 21 outlined by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vernon E. Clark, USN, Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Faced with rapidly changing information technology needs, the Central Intelligence Agency is serving as a venture catalyst to help fund private sector startup companies with promising technologies. An organization established by the agency seeks new companies with commercially viable products and serves as a facilitator providing the firms with access to capital and markets.
A prototype personal communications and situational awareness system may provide U.S. warfighters with an advantage in tactical combat. The device will link soldiers to a mobile voice and data network with the capability to share important information among individuals and entire units. A built-in inertial geolocation subsystem will enable troops to determine their location even if global positioning system signals are jammed or unavailable.
U.S. Defense Department researchers are developing software that may be capable of accurately understanding the nuances of human language. The technology promises to greatly enhance a spectrum of computer-based systems-from commercial Web browsers and personal virtual assistants to advanced intelligence gathering and command and control systems.
Three important decisions reached at the recent World Radiocommunication Conference may hold substantial ramifications for the United States and the global telecommunications community as a whole. Many of the issues discussed at the conference are illustrative of the realities affecting both commercial and U.S. Defense Department spectrum usage today.