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November 2007

When Doing the “Right Thing” Can Be Wrong

November 2007



A recent study showed that people have two great fears at work: failure and the boss.  That's no big surprise.  SPAN>It was that way in our parents' day.  The way they handled it was to think before they acted so that mistakes were reduced and the boss was kept happy. Now these classic fears have a new critical factor – time and how little of it there seems to be. SPAN>

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In only a few decades our digital world has pushed our decision making process to extremes.  As information flows faster, it forces us to react faster and solve problems faster. One could argue that in the military during a war that pressure is increased ten fold. P>

A military mind is extremely focused.  Through intense training and situational drills, a soldier is expected to react as prescribed by doctrine, to assess quickly a roadblock to mission success and go over it, around it, or through it as necessary.  For example, if a soldier is ordered to move data from point A to B immediately and the normal secured communication route is either down or slowed, a soldier focused on successful completion of that task may bypass established communications and security procedures. SPAN>

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A person under this kind of pressure could think that there are times when rules and correct procedures appear to be more of a hindrance than a help.  In their minds, consequences are something to be dealt with later.  The flaw in that logic is that the consequences of bypassing information assurance procedures in wartime – hot or cold – could be failed missions, compromised security and lives unnecessarily put at risk. SPAN>

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Innovation, Diversification Define CENTCOM Communications

November 2007
By Rita Boland and Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Central Command is juggling new technologies with new missions amid joint and coalition environments as it fights adversaries that change tactics quicker than the command can upgrade equipment. Many of the command’s communication and information system requirements mirror those of other U.S. commands. However, the acid test of combat is highlighting capabilities and drawbacks of many new tactical systems in ways that could change long-range planning for defensewide communications.

Afghanistan Army Moves From Messengers to Microchips

November 2007
By Tim Albone

The Afghan army is transitioning to a system that will send and receive secure Internet protocol-based communications, a major step forward from its previous process of delivering written material via messenger.

Trolling for Data Amid the Rise of Societal Roulette

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

Not long ago, network-centric warfare (NCW) theologians stated that the information advantage generated by information technology could provide a new competitive warfighting advantage on tomorrow’s battlefield. For the first time in the history of warfare, geographically dispersed forces would be completely networked and thus much more effective. Other terms soon followed to operationalize the theory, such as information/knowledge superiority and information dominance. These terms were operationally refreshing, philosophically mesmerizing and intellectually seductive.

Tactical Exigencies Heighten Information Sharing

November 2007
By Kent R. Schneider

In my commentary last month, I discussed information sharing, a topic that has reached virtually every organization in government and industry. This month I address command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) in the tactical environment. The two are closely related, as their symbiotic relationship virtually dictates that success in one is essential for success in the other.

Military and Industry Agree on Goals, But Differ on Course

November 2007
By Robert K. Ackerman

The transformed infocentric force can count on a future rich in enabling technologies but short on how to achieve common goals, according to many military and industry experts. New capabilities deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are improving operations for U.S. forces there, but new challenges to interoperability are rising as commercial technologies increase their influence on military systems. And, neither industry nor the military can plot a clear course to achieving a fully network-centric force. Despite agreeing on goals, the two are far apart.

A New Role for Maritime Headquarters

November 2007
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Second Fleet is inviting industry to help the U.S. Navy take a giant leap in the evolution of standardization that will transform the service’s components from simply information sharers to the ultimate operational coordinators. Under the auspices of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, a team at the Second Fleet is directing an initiative that moves the Navy from its current systems-centric environment to a service-oriented architecture. As a result, the service’s reach will extend past its traditional local grasp, and it will take its place as a central supporter of global objectives in an integrated fashion.

Silent Knight Shines In the Dark

November 2007
By Henry S. Kenyon

Flying at very low altitudes at night or in bad weather entails a range of challenges not encountered in other types of military missions. Whether an operation involves a strike aircraft penetrating heavily defended national airspace or special operations forces covertly inserting personnel, these flights require highly capable radar equipment designed to guide pilots over and around terrain they cannot see. A new tactical radar system will help warfighters navigate safely through hostile terrain under a variety of atmospheric conditions.

Deep Green Helps Warriors Plan Ahead

November 2007
By Henry S. Kenyon

Uncertainty has challenged military operations since the days of the ancient Greeks. An experimental decision-making technology could help future commanders see through some of the fog of war by helping them plan operations, recognize when a plan is not working and develop alternatives to keep ahead of the enemy.

Smart Companies Dig Data

November 2007
By Maryann Lawlor

Boosting business by improving customer service requires a bit of digging, but the information gold mine already is in place. With the aid of a few algorithms, companies are excavating data to unearth insights about their customers that emerge when small particles of information are fused into a gold nugget.

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