The U.S. Army has linked military radios and chat systems with cell phones, instant messaging and other commercial products that can facilitate communications among the U.S. military and NATO allies. Using Lync 2010, a Microsoft collaboration product, the capability will enable warfighters in command posts or on patrol to know who is online and the best way to reach them-either by computer, radio, chat or phone.
Two weeks ago, I listened to a U.S. Marine Corps brigadier general plead for a lightweight personal computer that shooters could use at the squad level. All of the talk he heard about net-centric networks was meaningless because network centricity did not reach where it was needed. If the civilians could walk around with BlackBerrys, why couldn't the U.S. Defense Department provide comparable services?