The U.S. Army is pushing to ensure that the people in charge of the latest tools in warfare are up to date in defending its information and computer networks. Personnel who are key to the service's transformation and its move to digitizing the force are being trained to install, configure, operate and maintain the latest communications systems and are learning to identify evolving threats to these systems.
In the past year there has been spirited public debate about the future of the intelligence community. While this debate largely is rooted in the attacks of September 11, 2001, many of the issues currently being addressed go far beyond the war on terrorism. One of the central issues includes key aspects of the intelligence community's functions in an infocentric democracy that is transforming its military into a network-centric fighting force.
The Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. military are embarking on a path to combine their complementary assets in the war on terrorism. Both national security elements have been taking on each other's characteristics-the military is transforming its force along a common denominator of information, while the intelligence community increasingly is engaging in active, even paramilitary, operations in the field.
Greater urgencies in both conventional and asymmetrical warfare are accelerating the development and deployment of measurement and signature intelligence systems. This rapidly growing discipline is delving into more diverse sources of data, and experts are advancing ways of using it to help other intelligence sensor systems. Concurrently, laboratory researchers are seeking to develop a totally new family of sensor systems that can detect everyday energy emissions from artificial and organic sources.
The U.S. Army has a new tool in its arsenal that allows mobile troops to gather intelligence about the location and activities of adversaries by pinpointing the source of signal transmissions and intercepting communications. The system will replace legacy electronic warfare systems that were developed more than 30 years ago, and it has already been deployed in Afghanistan in support of operation Enduring Freedom.
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.