Linton Wells II points to UnityNet as an example of how information sharing can support U.S. and coalition strategy in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. He then challenges readers: "Now think of how you can support UnityNet-like approaches."
Open information sharing in diverse environments is critical. A new initiative in Afghanistan called UnityNet can help bring unclassified information to bear to support U.S. and coalition strategy there and elsewhere around the globe.
UnityNet’s goal is straightforward: networking people together in a unity of effort for a common cause. The key points are people and unity of effort. This is not about technology; it is about changing behavior.
It really is frustrating. For years, the U.S. government—and others—consistently have failed to treat information and communications as either a critical infrastructure or as an essential service in Afghanistan. However, in the past few months, innovative people have been making some important progress. AFCEANs can help a lot—starting with reviving the Afghanistan Chapter.
Last Fall, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate asked a radical question: “How can we restore Internet connectivity to American citizens after a disaster?” Too often, he noted, the government treats citizens after disasters as victims instead of as sentient creatures who could solve many of their own problems if given the tools.
DoD policy recently opened access to Internet web pages from NIPRNET computers. This policy is unenforceable and is insecure. It allows the inadvertent inclusion of attachments for downloading of malware from where it can further propagate across DoD networks to subvert security.
Transformation is much more alive among allies and coalition partners than it seems to be in the United States. Last year I listened to officials from nearly 20 foreign countries enthusiastically describe the extent to which they had transformed, or were transforming, their militaries to align with their perceptions of U.S. initiatives. A few months ago I mentioned this to a group of U.S. flag and general officers, and one commented—with support from others—“I hope you inoculated them against this kind of thinking.” What’s going on?
Networking on the move is the newest capability coming to the warfighter, writes Linton Wells II in this month's Incoming column. He goes on to speculate what this might look like, but notes several challenges along the way. How can industry rise to meet these challenges?
Dramatic changes are swirling around tactical ground communications. These offer many opportunities, even as they are sure to leave frustrated soldiers in harm’s way carrying too much weight, with too little spectrum and not enough interoperability. Overcoming these obstacles is industry’s purview, and it can make a difference.
Tragedy can bring opportunity—in this case, to help save lives and reconstruct nations using the communications and information sharing tools that are the strengths of AFCEA’s members. Shame on us if we squander it.
Despite the suffering wrought by January’s earthquake in Haiti, the crisis showed how innovative knowledge sharing could dramatically improve public-private, whole-of-government and transnational performance in stressed environments. It is up to us to turn these into lasting effects.
The U.S. government is systematically missing opportunities to contribute to stability, reconstruction and development around the world. These goals are achievable by leveraging reliable communications, enabled by stable power, to provide capabilities and services that local populations value and can sustain with their own resources.
What does the United States need to make its efforts in Afghanistan successful? According to Dr. Linton Wells II, the answer is sharing unclassified information.
SIGNAL welcomes Dr. Linton Wells II as the new Incoming columnist.
Improving the way we share unclassified information is essential to the success of the president’s strategy for Afghanistan. The reason is straightforward: The United States and its coalition partners must engage effectively with the populations they are trying to influence to achieve the social, political and economic goals for which their military forces have been committed. In Afghanistan, these populations include governments at various levels, security forces, businesses and the Afghan people. Unclassified information is the path to most of these audiences. It also is a key channel for them to help us understand their needs and the knowledge they have.
Does the term "social media" turn people off from the power of these collaborative tools? Christopher Dorobek suggests so in this month's Incoming column, "The War on Social Media."
The intelligence community has been leading the government pack in its collaboration efforts. Christopher Dorobek points to 9/11 and other examples to show how government realized it needed a better way to collect, process and share intelligence data in this month's Incoming column, "The Intelligence Community Writes the Book on Collaboration."
Change is never easy, and that is particularly true in government. When it comes to collaboration, it is the intelligence community that has been evolving and testing its own boundaries.
The U.S. Defense Department's performance management system needs to be completely rebuilt, according to a task group assigned to evaluate the National Security Personnel System. Christopher Dorobek explains the problems with the NSPS in this month's Incoming column, Building a Better Government Personnel System.
If you think the health care debate has been controversial, just mention “pay-for-performance” in government circles. The government has made several attempts to develop a more modern pay system; a number of them have taken place in various agencies over the years. But there have been several big, high-profile pay-for-performance systems.
Transparency remains an issue for the Obama administration, writes Christopher Dorobek in this month's Incoming column, Contract Transparency Poised to Open Up, Dorobek observes that one of the biggest challenges the administration has faced in executing programs through the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year has been in oversight of the funds. Dorobek invites "debate, discussion, examination and solutions" on these challenges.
We are now nine months into the Obama administration. During that time, some answers have emerged to the many issues that have popped up, but nearly as many questions remain. One lingering question involves defining transparency.