A U.S. Air Force fighter jet recently performed as a reconnaissance platform by using a targeting sensor to detect radio emissions and then transmitting their type and location in near real time to commanders and troops on the ground. The demonstration at a military exercise highlighted the use of nontraditional aerial platforms, such as fast attack jets, for surveillance and reconnaissance.
African nations are overcoming the tyranny of distance posed by their massive continent through an exercise designed to increase command, control, communications and computer capacity. Representatives from more than two dozen African countries met in Gabon at the end of last September through the beginning of October to test technology compatibility. The event helps build relationships and enhance interoperability during disaster relief and peacekeeping missions. The most recent effort built off past exercises and included a variety of first-time occurrences. It also identified new areas of need such as the addition of an information assurance technical working group.
The latest combatant command to join the ranks in the U.S. Defense Department has set out on a different mission than its well-established brethren. From its very conception, the U.S. Africa Command has been designed to help the nations in its area of responsibility to help themselves. Since its inception two years later, it has been fulfilling that vision with assistance from other U.S. government agencies in an area that comprises 53 countries that include more than 800 ethnic groups who speak more than 1,000 languages. In essence, it is not a typical combatant command.
A collaborative planning and information-sharing capability is making a key U.S. military strategic command and control system more flexible and responsive to rapidly changing operations. This family of applications allows planners to create mission templates that draw on real-time data such as intelligence, weather and unit status. This information can be shared with other personnel for input and comments before being presented to commanders for approval.
An experiment designed to promote information sharing among U.S. military, government and state organizations has demonstrated that the technical challenges to connecting different groups are easily overcome. The event’s organizers found that the real difficulty lies in changing institutional cultures and attitudes about security and data transfers.