In 1995, Lt. Gen. Albert J. Edmonds, USAF, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) director, called me asking for help. At that time I was the director of command and control systems (J-6) for the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM). Gen. Edmonds had provided briefings on the attributes of the new Global Command and Control System (GCCS) but needed to have it installed and operational in a “real warfighting command” such as USCENTCOM.
The U.S. military is facing a host of missions in all areas of symmetric and asymmetric warfare. These include counterdrug operations, cyberwarfare, stopping piracy, maritime domain awareness and diverse operations in the Global War on Terrorism. And, many of these challenges are linked in ways that threaten Free World security.
According to the military and its partners, for the United States to succeed in the Global War on Terrorism, they must be able to share biometrics information across a network-centric environment. To that end, personnel at various agencies are developing new architectures and streamlining methods to identify terrorists based on their unique characteristics, and they are putting systems in place to efficiently share that information. The most useful pieces of a variety of stovepipe systems already in place are being combined to create a synchronized joint program.
U.S. government agencies recognize the effect that Web 2.0 technologies are having on society, and some are eagerly incorporating them into their operations. However, unlike previous eras in which government embraced new capabilities routinely, today’s efforts go beyond merely adapting to innovative technologies. The Web 2.0 revolution is impelling cultural change faster and to a greater degree than ever experienced in recorded history, and democracies that answer to their populaces already are feeling the effects of that change—and ignore those effects at their own risk.
The U.S. intelligence community must centralize both collection and analysis to most effectively leverage technical and analytic expertise. Restructuring the intelligence community as a technical core of collection capabilities, surrounded by an analytic corps organized by areas of responsibility, would improve efficiency, depth and transparency of intelligence analysis.
The U.S. Army is changing communications equipment faster than it can deploy forces equipped with that gear. The force benefits from improved networking capabilities, but this rapid technology insertion is changing the way communications battalions train and deploy.
A tiny device the size of a sugar cube may revolutionize military communications and sensor systems. The technology is a micro-scale atomic clock designed to help spectrum-hopping radios synchronize their frequencies and access signals from navigation satellites. This prototype time keeper is undergoing testing to determine its readiness for military applications.
Technology resembling the human immune system is enhancing security for ad hoc mobile wireless networks on the battlefield. It will automate operations; offer unique, enhanced protection to communications assets; and relieve troops from constant network-monitoring. The result is increased user trust in the network.