One of the most ardent proponents of virtual worlds technologies for military collaboration has forged ahead and developed a version of the Second Life technology that is able to operate behind secure .mil firewalls, and it is on its way to being certified for secure operation within most military networks.
U.S. military veterans are gathering in cyberspace to share information and continue the sense of camaraderie they had while serving their country. On an island in Second Life, more than 700 veterans are taking advantage of technology to stay connected and to find the help they need. In some instances, a veteran’s avatar merely may stop by to check on activities while remaining quietly in the background. In others, veterans’ avatars take part in group discussions, fundraisers and even formal events.
The nature of intelligence community activities has been changed as increasing numbers of people adopt virtual collaboration tools and methodologies. A host of systems unleashed a handful of years ago has burgeoned into a new way of engaging in intelligence operations that is moving through the community.
Virtual collaboration is both the now and the future for communications among people in many walks of life. For the military community, the continued immersion in network centricity allows and demands more methods of online information sharing. The process saves time, resources and most importantly, lives. The civilian sector is experiencing increasing chances to collaborate in the virtual realm as well, and the two factions’ technologies and practices increasingly are overlapping. The Naval Postgraduate School has dedicated an entire institute to various methods of virtually connected communications, and its director sees almost unlimited room for growth and advancement in the area.