The terrorist attacks of September 11 put the nation's critical information infrastructure to the test, and members of industry, the military and all levels of civil government came away from the experience with a new sense of urgency to work cooperatively to address the challenges revealed that day. According to security experts, existing emergency response infrastructures must be strengthened, critical information infrastructures must be protected and information exchange among federal, state and local law enforcement organizations must be expedited.
A recently developed software application will allow organizations to design layered access systems that scan individuals to recognize facial features, voices and lip movement characteristics. The program permits the deployment of a variety of digital-camera-based devices in kiosks and stations or desktop and laptop computers to control and monitor admittance to secure areas, networks or individual pieces of equipment.
International military partners are signing on and interfacing with each other instantaneously by using a prototype system that merges real-time chat capabilities with a language translator to enable cross-domain information exchange. The project addresses the need for collaboration and interoperation at the command level in allied environments.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is turning to 21st century tools to solve today's crimes and move from a primarily reactive law enforcement approach to one that will allow agents to anticipate, then prevent, illegal acts. Data management capabilities will enable bureau personnel to identify relationships between cases as well as various sources of criminal activities.
The U.S. government is researching technologies to help state and local police, along with public safety organizations, coordinate and manage resources and personnel in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. These applications are being selected through an interagency effort designed to provide nonfederal entities with the latest systems and equipment.
A recently developed technology will allow military and local community first responders to take advantage of all available communications assets. The gateway-bridging equipment provides interoperability between commercial and military networks. Specialized military network cards support the connectivity to tactical equipment, allowing commercial traffic to travel over those assets.
Before September 11, only a few brave organizations were dedicated to authorizing and funding programs to test advanced technologies for state and federal disaster first responders and train key personnel in their use. For scenarios involving weapons of mass destruction, even fewer offered unclassified-level training in the skills and technology needed by law enforcement and health care personnel. Among those few are the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Homeland Defense Technology Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, Washington, D.C.; and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro. In times of crisis, it has been their experts who arrived on the scene toting a combination of "Men in Black" suitcase technology and advanced supercomputing capabilities to assist the nation's first responders.
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.
High-temperature superconducting materials discovered only 15 years ago now are enabling signal filters that can achieve performance levels not even approached by conventional filters. Virtually any commercial or military system that must pull weak radio frequency signals out of background noise can benefit from the new technology.
Researchers are investigating the use of alternative radio transmission methods for military information systems. A recently launched program examines the use of ultrawideband technology in robust, scalable communications devices and networks, in radar and in collision avoidance sensors.
The U.S. Navy is launching a new initiative that expands the concept of network-centric warfare from the purely technical world to the operations doctrine domain. The paradigm will affect every aspect of the Navy-from acquisition processes to transportation, from information sharing to targeting. Military leaders believe this new approach will increase combat effectiveness and better support joint and coalition operations.
Battlefield information systems, both in use today and being designed for the future, have gone beyond being a force multiplier to become a cornerstone of military operations. The technology of today, along with that being prototyped for tomorrow, means timely response to execute the commander's intent and timely and accurate response to the individual warfighter.
The next step in network-centric warfare will be the creation of networked sensing suites that tailor their observations to the adversary's rate of activity. These various sensors will concentrate on observing changes rather than on observing scenery.