Researchers are tapping millions of years of biological evolutionary experience to develop the next generation of materials. This research, known as biomimetics, aims to incorporate properties unique to nature into manufactured devices.
If we really believe a network-centric coalition/joint force offers an opportunity for effects-based conflict in the future-and that this same network-centric force improves lethality, intelligence sharing and command and control-then why aren't we embracing the concept of changing the culture to match the technology capabilities that Free World industry is offering to warfighters in the fight for freedom?
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.
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.