The Free World is seeing as great a revolution in military affairs as has ever been documented. That’s old news. New capabilities are being introduced so quickly that forces are learning how to use and exploit them in the midst of combat. That also is old news.
What is new is that the commercial sector is leading this revolution by pumping new information technologies into the military faster than anyone can plan for them. Individual warfighters and commanders alike are embracing the capabilities that these technologies bring. The largest military in the Free World, that of the United States, is built around the concept of using network-centric operations to prevail against any enemy.
The information technology challenge is to meet the higher expectations of warfighters and commanders. And, in another development that is not new, the more capability that is provided, the more its customers want.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has greatly increased both the quantity and quality of services provided to the military over the past 20 years. It is taking advantage of the commercial information revolution with technologies such as the everything over Internet protocol (EoIP). Its own two key software applications—Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) and Network Enabled Command Capability (NECC)—are at the heart of efforts to bring Web 2.0 services to the military.
To provide vital bandwidth, the agency has established a commercial communications satellite infrastructure through an extensive lease program that provides the overwhelming bulk of the military’s orbital connectivity. Plans for new high-capacity military communications satellites are moving toward fruition, but the reliance on commercial orbiters is likely to continue.