Interoperability between service, state and federal agencies and coalition forces is vital to securing the Asia-Pacific region. Equally important is the implementation of information assurance measures to get information to the right place at the right time. And, a streamlined acquisition process is needed that delivers joint systems that adhere to standards and policy.
Having established new procedures and incorporated new technologies for surface and air situational awareness, the U.S. Navy now is looking to extend that capability underwater. The sea service is working with the private sector to apply new data fusion techniques to antisubmarine warfare.
Military doctrines about fighting in cities and towns are evolving, and the U.S. Army is turning to high technology systems to teach and evaluate how warfighters will adapt to the new objectives in an emerging battlespace. The service is examining tactics, techniques and procedures and developing concepts that support maneuvers that can transition from offense and defense to stabilization and support.
Corporate America is helping assemble the homeland defense jigsaw puzzle that includes thousands of pieces being put together by hundreds of people looking at a multitude of different pictures. Industry leaders agree that the biggest challenge is the complexity of the problem and the plethora of solutions being proposed by companies with a range of specialties taking widely varying approaches.
More than 16 months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. government spending on homeland security has yet to settle into a predictable routine. Tens of billions of dollars have been allocated to domestic and foreign operations aimed at deterring, preventing or recovering from terrorist activities. Some of these appropriations have funded startup programs that promise long-term benefits, while others support long-extant efforts that are the only options available for immediate action in the war on terrorism.
The major consolidation of federal agencies that is creating the new Department of Homeland Security also is impelling private industry to adapt to the changing landscape. The resulting environment places more responsibility on businesses to protect vital infrastructure, but it also clears the way to a closer and more productive relationship between the commercial and public sectors.
Recognizing the power that unmanned aerial vehicles bring to the battlespace, military personnel are calling for more-so much so that the demand is nearly outpacing the supply. The U.S. military is very pleased with the performance of the aircraft in the war on terrorism and continues to investigate new enhancements to current systems. The U.S. Defense Department is working to determine how the vehicles can be integrated into the total force structure most effectively.
SIGNAL's July issue featured a commentary by Michael J. Varner, president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter, about the value of the chapter organization. Next, AFCEA's regional organization merits examination. Ever since AFCEA assumed its current structure more than 20 years ago-still as a national organization-its regional vice presidents, or RVPs, were the coordinators between a group of chapters in a certain region and the staff of the association. RVPs, as the extended arms of the AFCEA chairman of the board and the president, always have performed functions in support of AFCEA headquarters, in support of the chapters and have been instrumental in facilitating exchanges of experiences with colleagues in other regions. They are appointed by the chairman of the board, subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee.
The newly independent U.S. Air Force Space Command is focusing on integrating exo-atmospheric operations with lower altitude activities, including ground campaigns. These operations in space, which range from communications to precision guiding of munitions, are becoming less of a separate warfighting aspect and more of a united element of high-technology network-centric warfare.
More than 10 years after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Defense Department is shedding old constructs from that period that have been hindering the department's new thrust into space. A major component of these changes places the primary responsibility for acquiring and launching military space systems in the hands of the U.S. Air Force. Within the service, new commands and offices also are being established to interface with homeland security efforts and joint organizations such as the U.S. Northern Command.
A variety of technologies under development by U.S. government researchers soon may help security organizations to track, anticipate and preclude terrorist activity. Part of an overarching program, these applications will permit analysts and decision makers quickly to assess and act upon patterns and trends in terrorist activity.
A rare launch window is giving the U.S. Defense Department a chance to plan its next generation of space-based communications systems around both innovation and interoperability. This launch window does not involve a single mission. Rather, it encompasses the entire family of military communications satellites now on the drawing board.