Today's challenges call for cooperation and collaboration among the various agencies charged with ensuring homeland security. Information technology systems will be the conduit through which critical data will be shared, and senior government leaders are looking for solutions in several areas, including information security, maritime monitoring and interagency collaboration. TechNet International 2003 will showcase these capabilities and provide a forum for discussion about future requirements.
The force transformation that is sweeping the U.S. military is an integral part of the global war on terrorism. Rather than being a hindrance to the 18-month-old war, this transformation may be necessary for U.S. forces to prevail both at home and abroad. The transformation is not merely about technology, however. Cultural and organizational concepts must be changed, and all of the services and the Congress must develop new ways of funding and enacting defense changes.
The National Imagery and Mapping Agency is in the midst of a pivotal year as it creates its own functional identity as the geospatial intelligence provider for military and homeland security organizations. The agency will be looking for substantial support from the commercial sector-including foreign companies-while it transforms and concurrently meets the growing needs of the defense community.
The future role of information technology in support of homeland security and the war on terrorism initiatives will be the focus of TechNet International 2003, May 6-8. In its new venue-the recently opened Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.-AFCEA International will offer three days of information presentations and technology demonstrations in an integrated setting.
Experts representing many areas of homeland security and defense shared their insights during three panel sessions at TechNet International 2004. Discussion topics varied from wireless device security to infrastructure protection to business continuity. Leaders from industry, government and the military agreed that information technology offers many benefits, but it also poses considerable security challenges.
Information technology is the key differentiator in operations in southwest Asia and the global war on terrorism, according to military leaders who spoke at TechNet International 2004. Each shared his or her individual perspective on how information systems are transforming the way the military is fighting today and will fight in the future. Speakers included key U.S. Defense Department and information technology leaders from each of the armed forces as well as the joint community.
Lessons learned from operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are influencing transformation efforts across the U.S. military. Speakers and panelists featured at Transformation TechNet 2004 emphasized that information technology tools enhanced mission effectiveness; however, much work remains to improve capabilities, concepts of operations, acquisition methods and force structure.
In the 18 months following the terrorist attacks, the U.S. government has undergone a series of structural changes. At the state and federal levels, efforts are underway to enhance communications and information-sharing infrastructures among agencies and other organizations. Public institutions also have reached out to the private sector to form partnerships designed to protect vital national infrastructures.
Military, government and industry experts gathered at the AFCEA Alamo Chapter's Fiesta Informacion 2004 in April to present their perspectives on the transformation-its successes, problems and evolving requirements. During the three-day symposium, more than 2,300 registrants heard panels addressing interoperability, security, collaboration, and integration issues and challenges.
Military and federal government leaders agree that information systems will be key enablers in forming the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and protecting the nation. Speakers and panelists at TechNet International 2003 shared information and insight about the road ahead for the department and how industry will support its work. One chief concern is how to facilitate coordination and collaboration between federal agencies, among various levels of the government and within multiple emergency response organizations.
The success of operations in the Persian Gulf indicates that advanced communications systems are sure to be among the crucial assets put to use by military and government agencies as they work to ensure homeland security. TechNet International 2003 speakers reiterated this point as they shared their views about the importance of information systems in the war on terrorism and in government agency cooperation. Changes continue to take place in technology, policies and procedures, they agreed.
Information systems are an important part of U.S. military transformation, but they are only one component of a complex continuous journey for the armed forces. Culture, processes and concepts also must change, and government agencies across the board must transform as well for the United States to retain its leadership role.
The challenge to achieving true joint operations is growing as the services interoperate to a greater degree for homeland security and in combat. As new technologies are impelled into the force at all levels, the need for interoperability becomes more basic. And, the complementary nature of the U.S. services now requires that systems, architectures and force structures are planned around joint operations.
More than two years have passed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In that time, the U.S. government has undergone a massive overhaul to meet the challenges of combating an elusive foe. A key part of this restructuring was the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, charged with coordinating the efforts of myriad federal, state and local agencies to locate, identify and neutralize terrorist threats on American soil.
Many of the same concerns that vex civilian and commercial users of the Internet confront the Atlantic alliance as its militaries embrace Web-based technologies in their ongoing transformations. Yet, the technological changes that are underway offer so many advantages that NATO members must find ways to incorporate them into their military operations.
With the Pacific Command's area of responsibility covering 51 percent of the Earth's surface, making information technology work to break the distance barrier is essential to the security of the Asia-Pacific region. This fact was emphasized to more than 3,000 attendees throughout AFCEA's TechNet Asia-Pacific 2003 Conference and Exposition. Held November 4-6 in Honolulu, the 18th annual event examined topics such as getting timely information to the correct person; sharing information; information security; policy, strategy, doctrine and organizational transformation; and the government/military/industry team. Senior military speakers and panelists discussed these themes as the requirements necessary to defeat "the tyranny of distance."