Military leaders are adept at winning wars with tanks, troops and aircraft. Now the U.S. Army is putting the final touches on a campaign plan that sets the direction for the newest battlefield weapons: bits, bytes and the systems that deliver them. Earlier this year, the service's single authority for information management unveiled a detailed picture of short- and long-term operational capabilities implementation. The plan aims at supporting the force, helping fight the war on terrorism and sustaining transformation. It is on target to be finalized by the end of this month.
The U.S. Army is expanding the reach of its overarching information network down to the individual warfighter as demands for connectivity increase with the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not only is the Army introducing new systems into the warfighting environment, it also is selecting elements of long-term programs for early insertion into the force.
The U.S. Army's mobile signal brigade is moving at a faster pace with smaller, more capable hardware that can be deployed rapidly into a theater of operations. The increasing propensity for diverse missions set in foreign lands is impelling the requirement for comprehensive communications systems that can be established quickly in unfamiliar, or even hostile, settings.
The U.S. Army is on the verge of deploying technologies that will enhance and extend the scope of information-based warfare by linking all echelons together. These devices and systems are part of a larger effort to assure future warfighters battlefield superiority.
Weapons-of-mass-destruction civil support teams, organized and trained to respond to domestic terrorist threats, will employ a leading-edge technology package that enables members to communicate under extremely unpredictable conditions. The groups are part of the U.S. Army National Guard and currently are in place in 10 states with 17 additional teams scheduled to form later this fiscal year.
En route airborne personnel soon may be able to send and receive vital information about the changing state of an operational landscape. A U.S. Army program aims to empower these forces to work with their home command to replan their mission if necessary.
The battlefield is emerging as a conglomeration of information systems that talk to each other, create a total picture and deliver pieces of a complex puzzle into a comprehensive knowledge base for mission commanders. Operations can vary from conflict to peacekeeping to humanitarian aid, but the requirements are the same-acquire as much information about the situation as possible so the best decisions can be made.