By Dr. Susan Gragg, Chief Information Officer, National Reconnaissance Office
As the world is transformed by the combined threats of terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and cybercrime, the intelligence community must be poised to share and fuse key information securely. Such information not only is critical to analysts and policy makers but also is essential to targeting future cooperative intelligence collection. This transformation requires integrating data and information on an enormous scale while processing raw data into easily understandable intelligence. There are four key areas that require emerging technology: information assurance, devices and algorithms that enable the processing of increasingly high volumes of data, collaborative capabilities, and new practical concepts of how to integrate all these capabilities.
The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, originally designed to coordinate the defense of North American countries and their allies against the looming communist threat, has expanded its focus and facilities to address the threats emerging in the post-September 11, 2001, world. The transformation was the result of a comprehensive two-year modernization of its command center, completed this year.
As the military looks to commercial technology to help satisfy its communications needs, U.S. Army reservists working in the private sector are bringing a welcomed source of knowledge to the table. Grecian Firebolt 2005, one of the nation's largest annual training exercises for Army Reserve communicators, highlighted the ever-closing gap between military know-how and innovative commercial solutions.
George Pedersen always wanted to run a $1 billion company. When he started ManTech International Corporation on a shoestring budget several decades ago, the hard-charging executive knew achieving that level of market share would be a watershed moment for his fledgling enterprise.
The U.S. Air National Guard is using a data mining and analysis tool to keep track of everything from jet engines to personnel qualifications. The software package allows users to access and compile information from a variety of sources, offering the ability to conduct high-level analysis or in-depth study of a specific unit's readiness. The technology will soon enter service with the U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve.
Renowned mathematician George B. Dantzig died on May 13 at age 90, and the U.S. Strategic Command stood up a new component to focus on global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts on May 31. A mathematical model used to optimize resource allocation could tie Dantzig's work to the new group.
Where many sources of intelligence currently confound military analysts' efforts to build an accurate picture of the battlespace, a new joint Web-based system allows them to obtain information through a uniform query across the field of intelligence databases. Known as the Joint Intelligence Operations Capability-Iraq, or JIOC-I, the system gives analysts the ability to extract data faster and to spend more time on the analytical side of their tasking.
The next terrorist attack on the United States mainland might take the form of conventional missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction. These missiles could be launched from a number of different offshore platforms or basing systems that would give citizens in coastal cities almost no warning before impact. Either cruise missiles or short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, which are easily obtainable in the global weapons market, could be used to inflict untold devastation on any of the 75 percent of the U.S. public that lives within 200 miles of the nation's coastline.
The United Kingdom's tactical and operational commands soon will be linked by a mobile, high-capacity communications network. Designed around an Internet protocol architecture, the system replaces aging asynchronous transfer mode equipment with a scalable application that can be configured rapidly to meet the needs of an expeditionary force. It also interoperates with other digital communications technologies now entering service with the British military and provides a secure messaging channel to coalition allies.
Despite a tight procurement budget, Sweden is maximizing the benefits of battlefield awareness by embracing network-centric warfare concepts. As the country applies these concepts across its armed forces, it also is actively training its officer corps to make rapid decisions in an information-rich environment.