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Commentary

Time to Build Bridges

August 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

I am certain that every successful military leader in our nation's history would say that people constitute the armed services' most value asset; and perhaps at no other time in history has that been truer. In operations around the world, the United States is relying on fewer people-both military and civilian-to do more with less. This is a spot-on description of service members, government workers, corporate personnel and law enforcement agents alike who are keeping our country safe or responding to those in need after disasters. And sometimes, in the middle of all the hype about technology, we lose sight of the fact that it is human-ware, if you will, that is the centerpiece of every successful operation.

What's Old Is New

July 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

Back in 1946 when AFCEA and SIGNAL Magazine were new, the number-one technology problem vexing military planners was to provide mobile communications to the warfighter. Now, 60 years later, we face exactly the same challenge. Even though all of the other factors of warfare have changed, that problem still persists.

We Are Losing Sight of the Prize

June 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

I am concerned-despite the discussions that take place in favor of information sharing, information security, network-centric operations and communications support to the warfighter-that the U.S. military remains a platform-centric force. That same case may be made for many NATO and other allied nations. Military leaders throughout the Free World continue to focus their discussions on tanks, ships and aircraft. These warfighting platforms are important big-ticket items that have a key role in warfare. But, to move from our industrial-age mindset to today's information age, I suggest that virtually every platform planning session include a discussion on how that platform fits into the warfighting network.

Special Operations Offers Defensewide Lessons

May 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

The U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review and the fiscal year 2007 defense budget submission were noteworthy for their focus on special operations forces. Both documents called for increased emphasis on small, highly trained, mobile units in the ongoing global war on terrorism. Our success in ridding Afghanistan of its Taliban rulers showed how effective coalition special forces can be in the shadowy war against terrorists.

Sensors and Sensibility

April 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

The military is on the cusp of a new generation of sensor advances. Signal processing and detection technologies are uniting to provide better information and understanding than ever before. Combine that development with the global network being extended to the warfighter and you have the potential for the greatest situational awareness picture ever envisioned by a military planner.

DISA Enters New Era of Opportunity

March 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

Last summer's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) change of command was bittersweet for the information technology community, as we said farewell to one friend and welcome aboard to another. It also was a reflection of how blessed our nation is that as we make changes at the highest levels in our armed forces and their agencies, we continue to provide superb leadership and management. Even when styles and methods are different, the change almost always turns out to be healthy.

The Significance of the PATRIOT Act Transcends Politics

February 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

The headline-driven controversy over the PATRIOT Act tends to obscure many of the key issues that buttress this important element in the war on terrorism. The Free World is facing an unyielding enemy that is using every aspect of Western society-from its liberties and protections to its technological infrastructure-to suit its twisted ideology that lauds mass murder of innocents. The United States faces a difficult task in that it must adjust its institutions and its way of life to prevent further mass casualties, but it must do so without destroying the very foundation of our 230-year-old society.

A New Era Brings New Opportunities

January 2006
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

This year, AFCEA International marks its 60th anniversary. As with other successful organizations, the key to AFCEA's future lies in its members. Our corporate, government and military members do more than just define the association; they also serve as the focal point of our activities, which are entering a new phase in the association's storied saga.

Information Operations: The Hidden Key

December 2005
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

From its start as an adjunct to warfighting to its expanded role in all forms of military activities, the discipline of information operations has steadily increased in importance to the modern force. The concept has grown in size and scope, and it now finds itself occupying an important seat at the table of force projection. Yet this evolution did not come about without difficulty, and challenges still remain before the true effectiveness of information operations can be realized.

Look No Farther Than Your Own Backyard

November 2005
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

The recent disasters caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast of the United States laid bare many long-overlooked facts. Among them is the importance of local communications interoperability. From individuals at home to emergency responders operating on a national scale, communications connectivity is vital during a crisis. The communications shortcomings experienced during that series of disasters contributed to the difficulties faced by the populace.

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