The Joint Chiefs of Staff is taking the next evolutionary step in multinational and interagency interoperability this month with the renaming of one of the U.S. military's premier events. The Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration is now officially the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration, which better reflects its ongoing metamorphosis from a purely service-centric technology showcase to a forum where participants from diverse organizations and many nations work on different types of interoperability. Future events will continue to focus on capabilities that can be delivered to the warfighter quickly, a change that was introduced in the 2004 event.
Years of designing, testing and deploying information architectures and technologies are paying off in the success of operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. These successes in turn are laying the groundwork for future network-centric capabilities that will bring with them a considerable momentum for change in the U.S. defense infrastructure.
An event that has become a staple of advancements in military technology has undergone an evolution and now aims at providing theater commanders with immediate solutions to operational interoperability problems before systems move into the field and are tested under fire-live fire.
Researchers are developing a prototype technology that may replace traditional command posts. The system consists of manportable, lightweight computers loaded with battle management software and collaboration tools. The devices will permit commanders to conduct highly mobile operations while maintaining situational awareness and connectivity to superiors and subordinates across the battlefield.
Participants in the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration are reeling from the triumph of this year's event, not only because all the pieces came together successfully but also because the lessons learned promise to provide real support to today's warfighters. In addition to focusing on interoperability issues, other substantive items were addressed, including the unique challenges of operating in the Pacific Theater, handling information disclosure problems and ensuring that network vulnerabilities are identified. Broad and successful foreign involvement in the U.S.-sponsored event confirmed that collaboration among nations is essential to defeating today's adversaries.
Buoyed by pinpoint impact and target destruction of successive ballistic missile test warheads in space, the U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency are moving to more difficult engagement scenarios. This sea-based element of ballistic missile defense builds on the existing Aegis weapon control system and Standard Missile infrastructure to extend battlespace.
Defense in depth is the key to securing what will be one of the world's largest intranets. The U.S. Navy is using a layered approach to protect the systems that will connect all of its land commands and, through satellites, its ships at sea.
Members of the U.S. armed forces will gather this month to participate in a major joint integrating experiment that could change the way the nation engages adversaries in the near future. According to military leaders, the experiment is the culminating point for assessing how the United States can conduct rapid, decisive operations in this decade.
The U.S. Army's infostructure is falling into formation under a new command that is responsible for the operation, management and defense of that service's information systems worldwide. The organization's mission-provide a high-speed, secure, interoperable knowledge enterprise across the Army and around the globe that plugs into joint systems and the Global Information Grid.
Military doctrines about fighting in cities and towns are evolving, and the U.S. Army is turning to high technology systems to teach and evaluate how warfighters will adapt to the new objectives in an emerging battlespace. The service is examining tactics, techniques and procedures and developing concepts that support maneuvers that can transition from offense and defense to stabilization and support.
The U.S. Defense Department is reconfiguring its training approach so service personnel can learn the same way as they will fight-in a joint environment. To ensure that this is achievable, the department is looking to the U.S. Joint Forces Command to provide active management of joint training systems and capabilities across the armed forces and across the nation.
More than 10 years of hardware, software and signal processing upgrades have transformed the Patriot missile system into an effective defensive shield against short-range and theater tactical missiles. The original system that achieved partial success in the 1991 Gulf War became a bulwark in the Iraq War, effectively neutralizing Saddam Hussein's theater ballistic missile threat.
The U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command is adopting corporate acquisition strategies for buying services nationwide through the Web. A new e-commerce system that expands on a three-year-old model has designated more than 100 industry teams for procurements under a performance-based contracting process. This novel contracting approach also opens new opportunities for small businesses, including set-asides for primes and subcontractors.
While the individual armed services continue their march toward change, some forward-thinking military leaders are examining transformation on a larger scale-the realm of operations. Technologies likely to be available in the future will enable effects-based operations, a concept that may not replace conventional warfare but certainly could narrow its breadth.
The U.S. military will conduct its annual search for interoperability solutions next month with a renewed sense of urgency as nations continue to pull together to fight terrorism and government agencies pursue collaboration in homeland security efforts. Once again, this year, the focus will be on examining dozens of technologies that commands can employ to address immediate interoperability problems.
A push for force transformation across all branches of the military has brought about change in the research and development community and the collaboration technologies it creates. To meet the growing demand for accurate, relevant and timely information on the battlefield, scientists and engineers are focusing on interoperability, standards and advanced technologies.
A new generation of highly capable robot aircraft soon may augment and perhaps replace manned platforms in high-threat combat operations such as suppressing enemy air defenses and deep strike missions. These vehicles are part of an ambitious U.S. Defense Department program to develop and field-test an unmanned aerial combat capability by the end of the decade.
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.
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.
Communications experts in the United Kingdom's Iraq War forces have paved the way for that country's force transformation. The information networks that they established to serve British forces during the war both exploited a host of new solutions and exposed a range of challenges. Many of the lessons learned in that conflict are being applied to develop a new network-centric British military.