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July 2007

Total System Engineering May Save Defense Programs

July 2007
By Cmdr. Gregory E. Glaros, USN (Ret.)

It is not often that government leadership discusses the importance of system engineering or complex system management, but major setbacks for the U.S. Coast Guard's $24 billion Deepwater program are casting a shadow over the use of lead system integrators on other U.S. Defense Department acquisitions. These setbacks also are highlighting the lack of government system engineering knowledge.

Warfighters Gain Missile Defense Capability

July 2007
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Army is developing a network-centric system to connect and manage its air defense systems. The capability will provide commanders with a dynamic, real-time picture of the battlespace through shared data feeding into the network. Dynamic software will permit warfighters to establish defenses quickly by selecting available weapons batteries and sensors across a theater of operations and linking them into a combat mission.

International Team Tackles Key Communications Issues

July 2007
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new trans-Atlantic partnership comprising interdisciplinary research teams is developing wireless and sensor technologies to support future multinational network-centric operations.

British Competitors Craft Urban Warfare Capability

July 2007
By Catherine Imperatore

The U.K. government is challenging British science and technology innovators to apply all their brainpower to helping protect the nation's forces from danger in an urban battlespace. The objective of the Ministry of Defence Grand Challenge competition is to yield a highly autonomous system that will detect, identify, monitor and report fully and partially obscured threats in urban areas in real time. This call to action is part of the ministry's strategy to involve industry and academia in U.K. defense challenges.

Riverine Challenges Mirror Joint Operations

July 2007
By Robert K. Ackerman

Tasked with a smorgasbord of new missions, the U.S. Navy is building a riverine force with operational capabilities ranging from brown water combat to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This group already has tasted combat in Iraq, and planners are developing equipment and adapting technologies for a long-term riverine force.

Unmanned Vessels Sail Closer to Shore

July 2007
By Rita Boland

Ships without captains or crew are cruising from the open seas to the coastline. These developmental craft from both the public and private sectors will improve security and capabilities near land and keep sailors and others out of danger.

Crewless Craft on Steady Course

July 2007
By Maryann Lawlor

Unmanned aerial vehicles have become such an integral part of missions that it is difficult to remember a time when the U.S. military relied solely on manned aircraft. As the U.S. Navy prepares to launch into a similar brave new world where crewless platforms propel warfighters out of harm's way, the service faces challenges beyond the technical hurdles. Some issues can be resolved by industry; others will require a worldwide national-level consensus that will change the maritime domain with ramifications not seen since the dawn of modern shipbuilding.

Air Vehicles Deliver Warrior Data

July 2007
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

Soldiers operating in built-up neighborhoods can receive more timely and complete information about enemy forces by harnessing low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles. An autonomous system emerging from development in a far-reaching program coordinates delivery of video from unmanned aerial platforms and other military reconnaissance assets.

Network Eccentricity Imperils the Infosphere

July 2007
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Responding to a soldier's complaint about equipment inadequacies in Iraq, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied, "You go to war with the army you have, not with the army you want," and his remark was condemned as an unforgivable excuse for gross mismanagement. While warranted, that criticism could be leveled at most administrations in U.S. history when arms are stacked and forgotten at war's end. Today, mismanagement is exemplified by the current reliance on information operations amid network centricity, which offers as much vulnerability as advantage.

Handheld Gadget Ensures Safe Sharing

July 2007
By Rita Boland

A portable device that will be among the first of its kind to incorporate secure voice capability as well as e-mail and personal digital assistant functionality is on schedule for distribution by the end of the year. The device's features will include secure transmission up to Top Secret level for voice and up to Secret level for data. Its small, integrated package will enable troops to take advantage of these features while they are mobile.

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