China's procurement of additional modern Kilo-class submarines for the People's Liberation Army Navy, development of second-generation nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines, and continued production of improved indigenous diesel boats present a threat to the U.S. Navy and other antisubmarine forces. However, these submarines may present an even larger challenge to Chinese crews and support assets.
The long-sought dream of using lasers to defend against an enemy on a battlefield may be closer to realization, if recent tests in the New Mexico desert can be transitioned successfully into a tactical system. The U.S. Army is aiming to begin development next year of a prototype that would be ready in 2007 to defend against targets ranging from cruise missiles to incoming artillery shells.
The U.S. Army is looking to radically change the very concept of information management to meet its growing intelligence demands arising from force transformation. This will require a new way of processing and disseminating information in a network that links a rapidly growing number of increasingly diverse sensors and sources.
The focus of long-term changes underway in China's military is on regional rather than global improvements. This approach includes deploying systems that have only a local reach as well as developing or acquiring advanced technologies for specific military units or elements.
Mix advanced information technology, a rapidly increasing work force and a new architecture for sharing data and you have the recipe for transforming the military intelligence community, if the Defense Intelligence Agency has its way. Lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq have only reinforced the targets for change in defense intelligence collection, management and analysis.
As with other maritime forces, China has been seeking to network disparate assets, and to meet that requirement, it has been establishing signal stations on islands and atolls throughout the South China Sea. These facilities, which range from communications relays to radar units, both demonstrate China's expanding regional reach and provide a rare glimpse of the country's military electronics technologies.
Everyone agrees that intelligence is at the top of the requirements list for the war on terrorism. And, many experts agree that technology derived from the commercial sector will complement human expertise in this vital endeavor. The time has come for both government and industry to stop thinking of the commercial sector as a vendor and embrace treating it as a partner with the intelligence community.
The U.S. Defense Department is connecting key command, control and intelligence facilities around the world with a computer network capable of moving massive amounts of information. Designed to provide the bandwidth necessary to channel live video and sensor data from distant theaters back to commanders and analysts, the system will allow users to post and share documents in real time. This enhanced networking capability offers the military and intelligence communities a robust architecture for network-centric collaboration and decision making.
Bandwidth and interoperability concerns have forced the U.S. military in the Pacific theater to rely on flexible communications networks to maintain connectivity across the expansive region. Because of geographical constraints and limited infrastructure in many parts of the theater, the U.S. military transports and maintains agile satellite-based networks capable of operating with local coalition units.
In the event of a major crisis or conflict in the Pacific theater, U.S. forces may have to rely on regional allies to respond quickly and effectively. Relationships between the United States and its allies are maintained through continuous exercises and training events emphasizing collaborative decision-making and command and control. The U.S. military enhances its situational awareness by being aware of the sensitivities, culture and history of nations' in this part of the world. This also serves to promote cooperation and coordination with local forces.