Without a doubt, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and specifically the impact it will have on how personnel think about and deploy business services will affect the way the Office of Naval Research (ONR) does business. As others have stated in this column, the biggest challenge will be the processes and thinking that must be put in place to make the technology work.
New and effective technologies will be essential for NATO to carry out missions beyond its traditional areas of responsibility. Industry is a key player in providing needed capabilities, and ongoing cooperative efforts between the Atlantic alliance and its commercial partners need to be enhanced and their procedures improved.
The U.S. Defense Department is shifting away from building its own communications tools and services and is reaching out to the private sector for help in providing information to those who need it. The public sector is seeking to form partnerships with industry based on open standards, network centricity and collaboration between developers and end users to supply tools to the troops before the technology is obsolete.
The composition of the U.S. Army's strategic and tactical signal brigades is evolving to meet the changing needs of the warfighter, and communications is at the crux of the transformation. Simultaneously required for transformation is the centralization of knowledge, security, capabilities and maintenance.
Developers are using an ultra-fast broadband engine designed to make video games faster and more realistic to improve warfighting tools. This breakthrough capability-called the next disruptive technology by some experts-is smaller and more powerful than its predecessors and is causing the military and defense contractors to rethink the way they design systems.
More rapidly deployable, reliable, secure and capable communications systems are defining the next generation of communications gear for both the U.S. Defense Department and industry. One improved capability, which supports military contingencies as well as national emergencies, is based on a command and control package that incorporates everything over Internet protocol.
An experimental sensor technology may one day permit reconnaissance and combat aircraft to detect and identify ground targets more rapidly and efficiently than with radar. The prototype equipment uses a laser to create a high-resolution image of an object from an aircraft in flight, something that only radar had been able to achieve.
Electronic devices across an array of fields may soon experience major improvements because of advancements in diamond film technologies. The material results in the enhanced functioning of various technological tools, and organizations from the military to the medical community could reap the benefits.
Researchers have developed nanoscale sensors capable of detecting trace amounts of chemical and biological agents. The tiny devices can be placed on microchips, creating the potential for highly accurate networked sensors embedded in a variety of equipment and systems.
Businesses, the military and consumers have never seen the pace of change in computing that may be just around the corner, according to a leading technologist at the world's largest software company. Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft Corporation, predicts that new hardware and software architectures will open up a host of revolutionary capabilities and applications-but they also will tax information system developers and managers who must stay abreast of advances without sacrificing the integrity of their systems.
Transformation and the Global War on Terrorism are moving U.S. Navy intelligence into an even more networked realm than envisioned just a few years ago. As are the other services, the Navy is addressing the challenges and opportunities brought by network-centric operations in the war on terrorism.
An ongoing U.S. Navy realignment is uniting defense and intelligence tasks to permit missions based on both service-specific and national capabilities. The changes are accelerating the convergence of the service's command, control, communications, computers, information operations and space asset capabilities. This will enable component commanders to be more proactive in hunting down maritime threats.
The U.S. Navy has affirmed its dedication to improving communications networks aboard ship and ashore by reinstating the position of deputy chief of naval operations for communication networks (N-6) on the staff of the chief of naval operations. The vice admiral tapped to fill the position plans to consolidate systems, reallocate funds and help the Navy deliver on the promises it makes to its sailors.
The U.S. Navy cannot become fully network centric quickly enough to be able to carry out its new diverse mission slate, according to its top military officer. Adm. Michael G. Mullen, USN, chief of naval operations, states that new missions and the potential for a greater number of nations to participate in them add up to increased reliance on the network and its capabilities.
The U.S. Navy, master of the seas and leader in net centricity, faces an uncertain future in the very information technology applications it has led for years. If the Navy does not change its personnel system and its education system, then it will be a Navy that can maintain only information tools that are developed elsewhere and modified to fit the maritime role. Without a change in direction, our Navy will not be able to build and support the tools designed to serve the maritime warfighter from requirements development to acquisition.