The U.S. Army is marching forward double time on several fronts to bring the power of networking to bear on the global war on terrorism. A number of efforts-some technological, others structural-aim at creating an information-based Army that can respond to threats quicker and effectively fight asymmetric enemies. Improved networking capabilities will affect how the service fights-from the individual soldier on the front line to those providing logistical support.
The U.S. Navy is using a U.S. Defense Department model and wartime experiences to begin defining the network that will close the loop on full network-centric warfare. The FORCEnet program is completing a concept development phase this month, and planners now are able to envision when it will achieve key benchmarks.
Last year, I discussed in my commentary how information must be available-as freely as oxygen in the air-to virtually everyone. In presenting this point of view, I offered that power lies in how one uses information.
The deep thrust into Iraq by the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in operation Iraqi Freedom was enabled as much by kilobytes as by helicopters. An advanced command, control and communications architecture allowed the geographically dispersed mobile forces to remain in contact with their individual commanders as well as with the division headquarters.
The battlespace network trialed in the woods of Kentucky and grown from the sands of Kuwait provided the necessary connectivity for the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to strike deep into Iraq. Not all of the assets assembled and deployed by the division's 501st Signal Battalion were exploited to their fullest, and some proved more important than originally envisioned. Yet, the network linked the air assault division as its location and mission changed with the flow of battle.
Sky marshals, metal detectors and multiple identification checks may increase security in the corporeal world, but guarding the nation's information superhighway requires different tactics. And in the information age, homeland security must extend into the digital realm, or even a tiny crack could allow adversaries into some of the most important systems in the world today.
By Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr., USA, and Mark Powell
The U.S. Defense Department is introducing a new tool to protect military installations by transforming force-protection information sharing from a hierarchical, service-centric model to a network-centric model. The system will allow subscribers to have a common awareness of all suspicious events that are taking place in their vicinity.
Information operations are coming of age, moving through the exploration stage of adolescence and forward toward a future that some experts believe should feature ubiquitous integration. Although computer systems have already proved their ability to influence the nature of warfare, the maturation of doctrine and technologies is likely to bring with it even more substantial changes in the way the military conducts operations.
The debates over information operations have shifted from academia and Pentagon studies, military exercises and computer simulations to joint warfare over the sands of Iraq. This is the first opportunity to document and evaluate the role information actually plays in evolving military transformation into truly joint operations.
The U.S. Coast Guard is using a nautical tracking and collision avoidance system to monitor cargo ships entering American ports. Operating on internationally accepted standards, the technology permits law enforcement and intelligence agencies to automatically query data such as a vessel's cargo, crew roster, port of origin and destination.