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November 2005

Brig. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, USA

November 2005
Brig. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, USA, Chief Information Officer and Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers, J-6, U.S. Central Command

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) information technology environment is rapidly evolving and maturing, all to the benefit of the warfighter. Most of these changes are directly related to contributions from both the services and the joint command, control, communications and computers community. Today, we are applying technologies in a way that allows us to enjoy the advantages of the network-centric operational environment concept envisioned for tomorrow. This dynamic pace of change among applications, supporting infrastructure and mode of communication presents us with both opportunities and challenges.

NATO Looks to Industry

November 2005
By Cdre. Robert Howell, RN (Ret.)

Transformation will be essential to NATO's new missions in the post-Cold-War global war on terror, according to the alliance's leadership. And, as in the United States, government and industry will need to partner to achieve the individual goals that must be reached for that transformation to succeed.

Chilled Electronics Race Ahead

November 2005
By Henry S. Kenyon

An advanced microelectronics technology may allow future communications equipment to receive and process multiple high frequency waveforms easily. Relying on superconducting processors in a sealed refrigerated container, the system translates analog radio signals directly to digital information, preventing the data and efficiency losses found in semiconductor-based applications. Unconstrained by performance-limiting issues such as thermal interference, the frigid superconducting chips permit prototype devices to receive, sample and transmit gigahertz-range signals across much of the military's spectrum.

Water Sparks Small Power Pack

November 2005
By Henry S. Kenyon

U.S. warfighters soon may power their battlefield electronics with a lightweight water-based fuel cell system. Consisting of thin metal alloy plates soaking in salt water, the technology allows soldiers to replace heavy disposable batteries with lightweight rechargeable ones. Because the devices have no moving parts and are made of readily available materials, they may provide troops with a simple and robust reserve or primary power supply.

Standards Accelerate Customer Service

November 2005
By Maryann Lawlor

Calling a help desk when the computer refuses to boot up or when e-mail is blocked can be a frustrating experience. But with the help of industry, U.S. Air Force communications personnel in the Asia-Pacific region have taken steps to alleviate some of the aggravation. By employing commercial best practices and standardizing processes, the directorate in charge of ensuring that warfighters can connect is now more efficiently and effectively employing its resources. As a result, it expects to reduce the time needed to resolve technical issues by 20 percent.

Pacific Island Prepares Communications to Withstand Nature's Wrath

November 2005
By Robert K. Ackerman

In what has proved to be a timely and prescient move, the Guam Army National Guard recently upgraded its communication system both to handle expanded mission demands and to be resistant to constant battering by typhoons. The Guard now has an Internet protocol (IP)-based system built around commercial technology and designed to survive storm elements that used to crash the Guard's old system regularly.

Bolstering Information Sharing Through The Cross-Domain

November 2005
By Adm. Leighton W. Smith Jr., USN (Ret.)

Accredited, tested solutions could allow military decision makers and intelligence analysts to access information and make decisions simultaneously using information that resides in multiple security classifications. However, although the U.S. Defense Department is moving forward to address information-sharing challenges, it has encountered difficulties in proving and certifying these technologies in a testbed environment.

Watchkeeper Ready for Duty

November 2005
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new airborne tactical reconnaissance system soon will provide the United Kingdom's warfighters with an around-the-clock, all-weather surveillance capability that can be tailored to meet a variety of missions. Based on an operational unmanned aerial vehicle but with more sensors and longer endurance than existing British tactical platforms, its real-time data feeds will offer commanders greater situational awareness and operational flexibility.

NATO Forces Prepare For Global Operations

November 2005
By Henry S. Kenyon

As NATO shifts from a defensive alliance to a more responsive multinational organization, it is developing technologies and doctrines that provide commanders greater control over their assets. Key to this effort is a suite of systems that allows NATO commanders to establish logistics bases quickly to support a mission while minimizing its supply footprint.

Technology Tracks Casualties, Assets

November 2005
By Jeff Hawk

The fusion of satellite communication, global positioning system and radio frequency identification tag technologies is giving the U.S. Marine Corps the ability to monitor the status of fallen comrades and battlefield assets. The Marines have several technology experiments underway that test the military's In-Transit Visibility/Total Asset Visibility concept, which seeks to identify, locate and monitor personnel, equipment and supplies from origination to destination. As the defense community grapples with how to assess and implement the capabilities these evolving technologies generate, field tests indicate they will improve situational awareness while saving time, money, resources and lives.

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