Governments, militaries and businesses worldwide are in the midst of various types of transformations. AFCEA members can be pleased with their own association's embrace of change. It always is important for an organization such as ours to transform as nations around the globe adjust to the dynamic information age as well as the changing nature of conflict and security amid the Global War on Terrorism.
As a multinational alliance, NATO requires a high degree of interoperability across all of its command, control, communications and computer systems to function effectively. This interoperability also is necessary at all command levels as the alliance concentrates on overseas missions.
Risk management is essential to successful business practices as well as to victorious military operations. Although danger is inherent in many of the duties of the armed forces, planning for operational contingencies can reduce the risks and save lives. Mitigating risk in a coalition environment is even more imperative as a variety of policies, equipment and training and security procedures complicates the scenarios that planners must consider.
The Global War on Terrorism and the growth of network centricity are driving major shifts in military operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Growing and more sophisticated terrorist threats are placing greater emphasis on coalition operations among the dozens of countries that compose the vast arena. New networking technologies are changing the face of militaries throughout the region, but they also are taxing efforts to interoperate with diverse forces.
A telecommunications system that connects military and commercial radios and telephones into a single encrypted network is enabling warfighters and first responders to communicate securely with each other. Based on commercial technologies, the compact, portable solution establishes a cellular network that can support both military and disaster recovery operations.
In coming decades, warfighters could rely on artillery support from U.S. Navy warships more than 200 miles away. Instead of conventional cannons or rockets, these ships would use electromagnetic launchers to accelerate projectiles to many times the speed of sound. Using electricity instead of gunpowder to fire guided munitions, the weapons offer the potential of rapid, highly accurate precision attacks without the logistics and safety issues of conventional naval guns.
Service-oriented architecture has been a major buzzword throughout the U.S. Defense Department for several years, yet implementation has been slow and troubled. Private industry giants such as Amazon. com have been employing it, and the government is striving to take advantage of the concept to improve network centricity and information sharing. A recent study sponsored by a group of companies surveyed knowledge and use of the architecture within the federal government. The study identified several barriers to integration, including that less than half of federal information technology specialists are familiar with it.
Military commanders looking for a battlefield advantage that can tip the balance dramatically in their favor may be able to benefit soon from a promising new technology application. Called predictive insight, it holds the potential not just of making the concept of complete battlespace awareness a reality but also of taking that concept a giant step further.
Inadequate funding and prolonged operations in Iraq are taking a toll on U.S. Marine Corps equipment and threatening U.S. military readiness to fight and render humanitarian aid. These circumstances already are influencing training and consequently effectiveness and could affect re-enlistment numbers if not corrected. Adjusting resources is one issue; however, the situation also calls for overhauling acquisition practices so near- and mid-term needs can be met.
An experimental airborne radar system currently under development may improve tracking capabilities for hard-to-detect airborne and ground targets. The radar would be lofted aboard a robotic airship to float tens of thousands of feet over a region, providing comprehensive and persistent surveillance for up to a year. A key advantage of this high-flying system is that the radar antenna would be a part of the airship's structure, turning the entire platform into a sensor.
Researchers are looking to improve satellites by studying their functions in space. By sending up nanosatellites for the satellites, scientists can determine problems more accurately and fix defects before launch, saving money and time and reducing the debris in space.
An evolving battle management and situational awareness system is allowing the United States to form a layered missile defense by linking regional, theater and national commands into a single network. A new battle management function allows warfighters to optimize sensor and interceptor operations. By fusing sensor data, the system presents commanders with a common operating picture during a ballistic missile attack. The technology allows users to select and place missile defense assets and to analyze and test for potential weaknesses in defensive coverage.
Our disabled veterans should know that their sacrifice brings opportunity and their efforts today will be rewarded with lifelong personal growth tomorrow through continued service to their government. We must seek to replenish the science and technology labor force in government with wounded veterans, not only for their sake but for our own continued survival.