An event that has become a staple of advancements in military technology has undergone an evolution and now aims at providing theater commanders with immediate solutions to operational interoperability problems before systems move into the field and are tested under fire-live fire.
Before September 11, only a few brave organizations were dedicated to authorizing and funding programs to test advanced technologies for state and federal disaster first responders and train key personnel in their use. For scenarios involving weapons of mass destruction, even fewer offered unclassified-level training in the skills and technology needed by law enforcement and health care personnel. Among those few are the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Homeland Defense Technology Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, Washington, D.C.; and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro. In times of crisis, it has been their experts who arrived on the scene toting a combination of "Men in Black" suitcase technology and advanced supercomputing capabilities to assist the nation's first responders.
A recently developed technology will allow military and local community first responders to take advantage of all available communications assets. The gateway-bridging equipment provides interoperability between commercial and military networks. Specialized military network cards support the connectivity to tactical equipment, allowing commercial traffic to travel over those assets.
The U.S. government is researching technologies to help state and local police, along with public safety organizations, coordinate and manage resources and personnel in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. These applications are being selected through an interagency effort designed to provide nonfederal entities with the latest systems and equipment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is turning to 21st century tools to solve today's crimes and move from a primarily reactive law enforcement approach to one that will allow agents to anticipate, then prevent, illegal acts. Data management capabilities will enable bureau personnel to identify relationships between cases as well as various sources of criminal activities.
International military partners are signing on and interfacing with each other instantaneously by using a prototype system that merges real-time chat capabilities with a language translator to enable cross-domain information exchange. The project addresses the need for collaboration and interoperation at the command level in allied environments.
A recently developed software application will allow organizations to design layered access systems that scan individuals to recognize facial features, voices and lip movement characteristics. The program permits the deployment of a variety of digital-camera-based devices in kiosks and stations or desktop and laptop computers to control and monitor admittance to secure areas, networks or individual pieces of equipment.
The terrorist attacks of September 11 put the nation's critical information infrastructure to the test, and members of industry, the military and all levels of civil government came away from the experience with a new sense of urgency to work cooperatively to address the challenges revealed that day. According to security experts, existing emergency response infrastructures must be strengthened, critical information infrastructures must be protected and information exchange among federal, state and local law enforcement organizations must be expedited.
AFCEA International is the world's premier society for command, control, communications and information technology professionals. AFCEA serves some 138 chapters on four continents, and it is the individual chapter that serves the membership around the world. The chapter, with its board of directors and countless volunteers, provides the leadership and resources that really make events happen across the spectrum of government and private sector entities.
The U.S. Defense Department is counting on small businesses to support its transformation, e-government and homeland security initiatives. Although the military is known for the procurement of large weapons and information technology systems, department acquisition officials recognize that success demands the innovation and support of hundreds of smaller, yet key, firms. Enlisting the expertise of these modest-size businesses enables the department and large companies to provide for the full spectrum of warfighter needs.