The war on terrorism has added a new sense of urgency to the Central Intelligence Agency's science and technology development. The agency is accelerating its work in a number of key areas both to serve ongoing operations against al Qaida and to ensure long-term vigilance against asymmetric adversaries who are constantly changing their ways of operating.
The U.S. Army has a new tool in its arsenal that allows mobile troops to gather intelligence about the location and activities of adversaries by pinpointing the source of signal transmissions and intercepting communications. The system will replace legacy electronic warfare systems that were developed more than 30 years ago, and it has already been deployed in Afghanistan in support of operation Enduring Freedom.
Greater urgencies in both conventional and asymmetrical warfare are accelerating the development and deployment of measurement and signature intelligence systems. This rapidly growing discipline is delving into more diverse sources of data, and experts are advancing ways of using it to help other intelligence sensor systems. Concurrently, laboratory researchers are seeking to develop a totally new family of sensor systems that can detect everyday energy emissions from artificial and organic sources.
The Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. military are embarking on a path to combine their complementary assets in the war on terrorism. Both national security elements have been taking on each other's characteristics-the military is transforming its force along a common denominator of information, while the intelligence community increasingly is engaging in active, even paramilitary, operations in the field.
The World Wide Web's commercial revolution is feeding new capabilities to Intelink, the intelligence community's independent intranet. As usage increases and information grows exponentially, Intelink is adapting Web tools to serve the increasingly complex needs of a secure network.
The Central Intelligence Agency is reallocating vital resources to address the urgent and long-term needs of the war on terrorism. In addition to transferring substantial numbers of analysts and increasing overseas operational activities, the agency is establishing new links with nontraditional domestic customers.
New data storage and retrieval techniques are allowing theater air mission planners to call up detailed imagery and mapping data from a laptop computer. Using commercial hardware and software, U.S. forces directed attack and rescue missions during the recent Kosovo conflict by accessing continentwide data contained in a single box.
Future U.S. Air Force combat missions will see the widespread use of nontraditional tactics designed to end a campaign quickly with a minimum of casualties and damage. By embracing these methods, the service moves toward effects-based operations where success is measured by an enemy's decreased warfighting capabilities or outright capitulation rather than by counting casualties and destroyed equipment.
The U.S. Defense Department is transforming its intelligence infrastructure to meet the revolutionary changes that the military is undergoing. The very nature of intelligence is changing with the revamping of the force, and its application promises to be a key issue in the success of that overall military transformation.
The next step in network-centric warfare will be the creation of networked sensing suites that tailor their observations to the adversary's rate of activity. These various sensors will concentrate on observing changes rather than on observing scenery.