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.
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.
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.
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.