A multilayer, multinational research and development network is coming online as a result of recent coalition-focused joint operational demonstrations held in the virtual environment. The combined wide area network, which acted as the conduit for sharing information during the exercise, has been transformed into the combined federated battle laboratories network. The year-round, plug-and-play virtual center will allow international combined and U.S. joint service forces to operate with allied national command and control systems over the U.S. Defense Department's global command and control system.
The U.S. Defense Department, with the cooperation of nations worldwide, is examining a multitude of technologies that would enhance today's command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Recently created systems would allow military forces to acquire targets more accurately, collaborate remotely and share weather information to determine how conditions will affect a planned mission or the effectiveness of a weapon. Emerging technologies also would passively monitor potential targets, facilitate near-real-time access to up-to-date terrain information, provide a defense against information operations, and reduce the footprint and life-cycle cost of equipment.
Space may be the final frontier for travel, but for today's earthbound warriors it is the enabler of systems that strengthen and speed operations. Recognizing that the military's reliance on space-based assets will continue to grow, the U.S. Defense Department is seeking new ways for these resources to give its soldiers the advantage. No longer viewed as a luxury, the cosmos is now treasured as an intricate component of a successful mission.
An event that has become a staple of advancements in military technology has undergone an evolution and now aims at providing theater commanders with immediate solutions to operational interoperability problems before systems move into the field and are tested under fire-live fire.
Participants in the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration are reeling from the triumph of this year's event, not only because all the pieces came together successfully but also because the lessons learned promise to provide real support to today's warfighters. In addition to focusing on interoperability issues, other substantive items were addressed, including the unique challenges of operating in the Pacific Theater, handling information disclosure problems and ensuring that network vulnerabilities are identified. Broad and successful foreign involvement in the U.S.-sponsored event confirmed that collaboration among nations is essential to defeating today's adversaries.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security went on a shakedown cruise in the military world with its inaugural participation in the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration this summer. Department personnel discovered how useful the event can be to explore new technologies, while military personnel gained greater insight into homeland security needs and how to support U.S. emergency operations. Many lessons were learned by military and homeland security participants alike in areas that reached beyond technology.
The U.S. military will conduct its annual search for interoperability solutions next month with a renewed sense of urgency as nations continue to pull together to fight terrorism and government agencies pursue collaboration in homeland security efforts. Once again, this year, the focus will be on examining dozens of technologies that commands can employ to address immediate interoperability problems.
Participants in this year's Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) operated from sites around the world, and personnel at each site form their own impressions of the event's results. In addition to taking part in the multinational activity, the teams at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Dahlgren, Virginia, demonstrated some of their own programs that support military and homeland security efforts.
The increasing complexity of global geopolitics is weighing heavily on U.S. military planners as they gird for the next round of network-centric warfare. Both technological and cultural dynamics loom large in potential scenarios and outcomes.
Warfighters may experience some frustration as well as exhilaration in the network-centric environment. Today's multinational exploration of emerging technologies has uncovered some new challenges that military forces face as they push the envelope on new capabilities. More than a decade of systematically examining technical interoperability issues has led to smoother execution of the technology demonstration and maturation process and realistic expectations on the part of both industry and the military.