The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is strengthening its communications structure with a new standard Internet protocol encryption system that protects data, videoconferencing and some voice communications. The organization and its member nations will begin using the system later this year.
The U.S. Defense Department is developing software that will allow commanders to quickly design, prepare for deployment, manage and monitor joint task force communications networks. Once connectivity is achieved, the platform-independent system will provide bandwidth management and information assurance capabilities.
The U.S. Army is modernizing the command and control infrastructure of its major facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia. Once complete, the new system will allow enhanced reach-back capabilities among front-line forces, sustaining bases, national and theater command assets.
The dominant agenda item in the U.S. Army is its ongoing transformation, and the dominant element in this transformation is the Army's information systems. Empowered by new electronics technologies, these systems and their capabilities are defining the service's configuration and missions.
The U.S. Defense Department has established a facility to evaluate and integrate biometric identification systems for military and federal agencies. Charged with multiple responsibilities, this center also serves as a place where government, academia and industry can share their expertise and knowledge.
The U.S. Air Force is researching an information assurance system that incorporates the human factor into protecting data. The system would help analysts charged with monitoring networks identify potential breaches more easily by removing clutter and presenting them with a clear assessment of the danger level.
The U.S. Defense Department is moving ahead with plans to engage Reserve forces further to protect and defend military information systems. The approach takes advantage of available expertise by making it easier for civilian information assurance specialists to put their skills to work for the military.
Balancing function against security may prove to be the tightrope act that determines the future of information assurance. Government and commercial experts are weighing the convenience and capabilities of new technologies against their vulnerability to the burgeoning threat from all corners of cyberspace.
Protecting warfighting information technology systems requires the same situational awareness for networks that battlefield commanders rely on to maneuver forces to outflank and engage an enemy at maximum effective range. Without a near-real-time picture of the U.S. Defense Department's Global Information Grid, the bubble could burst, leaving in question warfighter network defenses.
When someone mentions the term National Security, everyone immediately understands both its meaning and its importance. All military, geopolitical, economic, law enforcement and sociological elements come into play under the overarching concept of nation preservation. Laws are passed, militaries are formed, and foreign relations are defined all to ensure that a country's existence remains unthreatened by potential adversaries.
While the individual armed services continue their march toward change, some forward-thinking military leaders are examining transformation on a larger scale-the realm of operations. Technologies likely to be available in the future will enable effects-based operations, a concept that may not replace conventional warfare but certainly could narrow its breadth.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command is examining the concept of permanent joint force headquarters units that would integrate the military disciplines involved in planning and executing operations. The headquarters could also be the focal point for drawing together the assets of various government agencies. Military leaders believe this could be a new step in the evolution of military affairs.