As AFCEA International looks ahead in the new year, a look back at the past year may help provide a glimpse of the future. The association enjoyed many successes over the past year.
The technology, convenience and purchasing power of point-and-click personal shopping are being put to work for the taxpaying public. After closely examining trends in acquisition reform, a number of commercial enterprises are harnessing the potential of the Internet to deliver the goods better, faster and less expensively than government agencies can. However, some business leaders in this new entrepreneurial community object to competition from the government in the online marketplace. And, according to government guidelines issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, they are right.
Taking a cue from the commercial sector, the U.S. government is changing the way it provides support to its agencies and departments. It is loosening restrictions on where and how these organizations may buy products, and the federal sector is becoming more competitive as procurement and supply offices begin to offer lower costs and better service.
Commercial off-the-shelf procurement is now a fact of life for the U.S. Defense Department. This thrust is driven as much by economics as it is by technology advances. However, the headlong rush to commercialize the defense technology base is producing unwanted complications that threaten to undermine the original goals of commercial acquisition.
The United Kingdom's armed forces will be calling for communications based on capabilities rather than technologies, if the agency responsible for answering their calls is successful. This is the approach chosen for dealing with interoperability challenges, widespread legacy systems and the rapid introduction of new information technologies.
Rapid technological change is a double-edged sword. The latest developments that allow faster computing and increased data flow also put critical national infrastructures within reach of any potential adversary with a modem.
Thirty miles outside Louisville, Kentucky, normally there is no noise at all, or just the occasional bird or maybe the wind, but when the curtain rises at the Zussman Urban Combat Training Center, the scene is transformed into total chaos. Explosions, fire, smoke and noise flood the senses. Telephone poles topple, cars careen out of control, and commanders test the mettle of their troops.
A sinking feeling emerges when saved information cannot be retrieved or a hard drive is totally destroyed. The anxiety of data loss rivals the panic that sets in upon misplacing a treasured keepsake or losing a large sum of money. And, it is a deplorable reality in an age that is more dependent than ever on vulnerable devices that are relied upon from the dawn of an idea through storage for posterity.
Bits & Bytes-Satisfying the Essential C4ISR, Training and Simulation Needs of the Atlantic Alliance and its European Defense and Security Initiative" was the theme of this year's TechNet Europe held in the Prague Congress Center on October 18-20, 2000.