We humans are very resourceful creatures. When faced with a threat we are able to create innovative, effective ways of protecting ourselves. Back at the dawn of time when humans were stalked by prowling predators, they leaned to build a roaring fire at the mouth of the cave to keep the threat at bay. Yet that fire needed to be strategically placed and well maintained to be useful. Let it die out and there was a good chance someone became a midnight snack for a creature with very big teeth. That’s why it is always amazing when somebody decides that a proven security device is inconvenient and devises a way, sometime a very resourceful way, of circumventing it.
The U.S. Defense Department is investing billions of dollars in new military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) systems such as the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), Wideband Global Services (WGS) and Transformational Communications System (TCS) to transform the way U.S. forces communicate and operate in modern combat. Unfortunately, reliance on these expensive and delayed programs has hampered the networked capabilities of operating units. Specific programs
Investigators performing computer forensics can now do their jobs from the beach—or anywhere else. An emerging technology eliminates the need for experts to have hardware in hand before examining a system and works around legalities that prohibit the transport of information across borders. The technology has applications across law enforcement, the military, the intelligence community and private industry.
An airborne networking system may soon provide warfighters with real-time battlefield data gathered from sensors and reconnaissance platforms across a theater of operations. A high-altitude unmanned aircraft serving as a flying information exchange will link to a constellation of low-altitude robot air vehicles, making this capability possible. Users will be able to access data from battlefield computers and ground terminals.
The requirement to protect information and the necessity to share information frequently conflict, but government and industry obligations to do both effectively, efficiently and simultaneously now are connecting these two near opposites. A partnership of companies, both large and small, is combining resources and skills to enable the government to provide information to those who need it while denying access to those who do not.
A proposed constellation of reconnaissance satellites soon may allow European governments to acquire and share satellite imagery rapidly. The multinational effort seeks to launch a new generation of imaging spacecraft to replace aging platforms. The program will permit participating nations to access individual satellites and sensors to meet their intelligence requirements.
The U.S. military is revolutionizing the way it fights in urban environments. A tactical transformational concept that shifts the emphasis from the adversary to the local population has been fast-tracked to commanders operating in Afghanistan, and it is being supported by technology that originally was designed to help market toothpaste to China. The technology, along with some very innovative thinking, reveals both intended and unintended consequences of actions so decision-makers can anticipate the impact each will have in a particular situation.
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence is integrating all of its intelligence and reconnaissance platforms and systems into a single architecture capable of providing 24-hour battlefield surveillance. The effort also will provide a means of distributing and disseminating collected data to warfighters down to the tactical level.
The intelligence community is breaking down boundaries—geographic and policy—in an effort to transform itself for the 21st century. As a new wave of personnel demands more information more rapidly, operations are becoming more federated, and the way agencies view their relationships with each other and foreign countries is adapting.
The intelligence community’s one-year-old Intellipedia already is paying benefits to its users, according to Central Intelligence Agency officials. However, a majority of the community remains unfamiliar with its benefits and uncomfortable with its use.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has created an organization that will increase the speed of technical developments and infuse synergy into the intelligence agencies so they can recapture their ability to surprise adversaries. The activity merges the efforts and expertise of three intelligence organizations and takes aim at the process problems that crept into the agencies during the past few years. Among the technical targets will be ways to improve knowledge in the social sciences, neural sciences, biology and nanotechnology.
How better to meet the needs of an ideal air defense ship than to put the land-based S-300 system that has protected Peking and Moscow on a large guided missile destroyer? China is sending the two newest, largest 6,000-ton 051C guided missile destroyers (DDGs)—hulls 115 and 116—to be flagships for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) North Fleet. The 051C, which began construction prior to the later 052A and 052B ships, will be a new fleet command ship with air defense and coordination capabilities.
The largest field command in the U.S. Marine Corps is updating equipment to enhance command and control operations. The upgrades include installing cutting-edge technology that will improve control of troops and communications among the various command levels, as well as integrating better intelligence capabilities and serving as a convergence point during critical missions.
Improving effective intelligence links with dozens of disparate nations may be the key to prevailing on the Asia-Pacific front in the Global War on Terrorism. A changing enemy, diverse allies and emerging technologies are bringing about a sea change in intelligence operations throughout the Pacific theater.
The U.S. Pacific Command is reaching out to former enemies and even potential adversaries to help maintain security in the vast Asia-Pacific region. Some of these efforts are aimed at prevailing in the Global War on Terrorism, while others simply are part of a long-term effort to keep the dozens of nations that make up the region from going to war with one another.
We are seeing a level of partnership and collaboration in information sharing that we never have seen before. The national security community, now expanded to include homeland security, long has recognized the need for information sharing, and we have had some interfaces among these elements for some time. But only in the past few years has this requirement received appropriate priority. Homeland security, the Global War on Terrorism and increased emphasis on nontraditional missions have placed a premium on information sharing. However, this remains a work in progress.