Information technology is widely and often wildly heralded as the key to rearming the U.S. military for networked conflict, marshaling a host of disparate and dispersed bureaucracies to secure the homeland, and exporting American principles of liberty and justice. But, cloaked by hubris is the indisputable fact that the worth of information technology is established not by how much it costs, but how intelligently it is employed and how well it satisfies user needs.
U.S. government research centers are applying existing technologies in new ways to help fight the war on terrorism. These new applications will permit better detection of radioactive materials or chemical and biological weapons and aid first responders in the event of a chemical or biological attack.
An interactive wargaming program developed by the U.S. military for joint force exercises is helping to protect potential terrorism targets in the United States. The software was employed to model security scenarios for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
In warfare, as in chess, victory often depends on the ability to foresee the opponent's next move. So, it seems more than a little appropriate that Lt. Gen. Carl G. O'Berry, USAF (Ret.), a chess enthusiast, is now vice president of a company that is helping the United States develop an integrated battlespace designed to redefine modern warfare.
Businesses and the U.S. military have between them a multitude of information assurance programs to protect against cyberattacks; however, a recent research project reveals significant gaps in national policies, procedures and relationships that must be addressed to ensure success. As the United States becomes more dependent on technology and near-real-time data, information operations are evolving into a critical national security matter that requires a joint approach.
Miniaturized routers have been merged with mobile technology to give the military uninterrupted high bandwidth connectivity to mission-critical data as forces move throughout a theater of operation, all via one small rugged device. The capability could network troops in unique ways and solve defense-identified challenges of achieving seamless communications mobility between networks while addressing what is known as the form factor-maintaining a small device size and configuration. It can provide interoperability within a group as well as among defense organizations.
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.