A collaborative planning and information-sharing capability is making a key U.S. military strategic command and control system more flexible and responsive to rapidly changing operations. This family of applications allows planners to create mission templates that draw on real-time data such as intelligence, weather and unit status. This information can be shared with other personnel for input and comments before being presented to commanders for approval.
The U.S. Army has ushered in an era of unprecedented information sharing with the introduction and spread of its Warfighters’ Forums. The online collaboration tools enhance communication between operating and generating forces while simultaneously building upon the way young soldiers interact. All three Army commands—Army Forces Command, Army Training and Doctrine Command and Army Materiel Command—are involved with the forums, which provide a proactive means to enhance dialogue.
An experiment designed to promote information sharing among U.S. military, government and state organizations has demonstrated that the technical challenges to connecting different groups are easily overcome. The event’s organizers found that the real difficulty lies in changing institutional cultures and attitudes about security and data transfers.
Although transformational, today's network-centric warfare concepts may be infinitesimal compared to how technology-fueled cooperation can and will revolutionize future operations. Military leaders already have seen an inkling of the ramifications of capabilities such as instant messaging, short message service and blogging. And experts believe that these technologies not only could but should change the fundamental structure of both corporate and military organizations.
Collaborative technologies are leading the revolution in military affairs as they help commanders and warfighters realize long-sought capabilities in the network-centric force. These technologies' effects range from a more fluid network in theater to a new set of missions for special operations forces.
The U.S. Army is conducting basic research to develop niche tactical wireless solutions that can be moved quickly into larger programs. The effort is a partnership among government, commercial and academic organizations that permits them to pool their resources and share the benefits of new developments.